[Expert Speak] Can Maxus Synapse Help Media Planners Make Smarter Decisions For TV Programs Dominant On Social Media

Maxus Synapse recently launched a social TV tracker tool that will help planners to track and measure which TV programmes are dominant on social media. Experts tell us how helpful it will be for media planners

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Today TV and social media (to be read as Twitter) are supplementing each other, not competing for user’s time. Social TV experience may have failed to pick up in the country but Twitter has become the second screen in the last two years. (Read also: How In Two Years India Has Become One Of The Fastest Growing Markets For Twitter)

From reality shows to daily soaps, today almost all of them have a presence on social media. The characters often come on board to chat with fans, run contests and express great excitement when their hashtag trends on Twitter. Synergy between TV and Twitter gained popularity from last year’s General Elections and is now being carried forward with the ICC World Cup 2015.

Even though Twitter numbers are a question mark, brands have started investing in organic and paid means on the medium. With this growing interest from brands on Twitter, Maxus, a global media agency recently launched Maxus Synapse – a social tracker to help plan for the digital natives effectively. “Research has found that earned social media ‘reminds’ people to watch an episode after the live airing, thereby making it imperative for us as media planners to see the audience data more holistically than in silos. It was the recurrence of these conversations that gave birth to the idea of Maxus Synapse,” Priti Murthy, National Director, Insights Maxus India said at the launch.

The tool built in association with Frrole – a social media intelligence startup – tracks conversations of key channels and programs, reports it in one view for planners and buyers to take quick and smart decisions that will enable them to drive their business more efficiently. The application pulls in real-time Twitter data for top-performing programs and online channels. The key quantitative metrics are reach (in minutes), mentions for the programmes, as well as conversation sentiments. These metrics would help planners track and measure what programs are dominant on social media, and how the brand associations can be multiplied, leveraged and nurtured to bring out the best-performing results.

Talking about Frrole’s role, CEO Amarpreet Kalkat informed that the tool is powered by Frrole’s data along with the Maxus data. “The app sits on the two data sets and draws insights from it so that media planners can make better business decisions.” He further added, “There are TV shows that might not have large ratings but may have a big social fan following. Today there are shows which are being viewed and talked beyond TV. If you want to be a qualitative media planner, you need to think beyond TV ratings and tap in the Twitter data too.”

Synapse Maxus is making a media planner’s life easy by bringing more real-time data in addition to television audience measurement data which isn’t real-time. “Media planning is a science using past audience data to make predictions of the expected audience using various industry established tools. While the tools help in data crunching what they do not give us is a sense of audience conversations / involvement and / or people talking about the show. In my mind Synapse tries to plug that gap,” informed Radhikarani Sengupta, Vice President, Media at IBS.

Using such a product can potentially help a media planner understand qualitatively the reaction of audiences to certain shows, events and audience reaction to the ad. If audiences are reacting badly to a show, brand presence there can be detrimental and vice versa. “Beyond just the  numbers, it is potentially possible to gauge the quality of audience involvement. The challenge however is that twitter chatter tends to focus on negatives rather than positives,” added Radhikarani.

Srinivas Kulkarni, Account Director at Social Kinnect – digital agency based out in Mumbai, also finds Synapse offering positive, considering how second screen is becoming so popular among Indian audiences especially for specific live TV events. “Having worked with a few TV brands and various tools on digital, I feel niche, quantifiable and real-time social analytics like this would help media planners on understanding accurately as to what shows work well for their set of audience and how they can leverage various ad slots for their sponsors.”

Twitter has been convincing media planners, globally and in India, that Twitter is the ideal platform that drives conversations for TV shows and the chatter is qualitative data for marketers too. In fact a recent finding by Nielsen, the data company best known for its TV ratings backed Twitter’s longstanding contention that the real-time, public orientation of its social network makes it a reliable barometer of the public’s changing moods and interests. “You can use the Twitter activity to predict the engagement of the show,” said Avgusta Shestyuk, director of neuroscience at Nielsen Neuro, the division that conducted the research. “As the audiences are getting more engaged with the segment, the Twitter activity is getting more intense.”

However, planners still face quite a few broad challenges from the data set obtained by Twitter.”One is the absolute number of Twitter users in India, which is a small percentage of TV watchers. Second is the number of users who tweet – not everyone on Twitter tweets. That is, a certain number of users simply consume content without contributing to it. These are still brand audiences and the data from this tool will have a bias towards those who are vocal on Twitter,” Radhikarani pointed out.

Another challenge is to identify who are our top influencers and whom should the content be focused to especially among digital natives. “If I have solid customized data, then it’s easier to engage them socially as well as ride on their clout if they share our content,” Srinivas added.

Besides Synapse will be compared against industry recognized enterprise intelligence tools such as Bottlenose, among others.

Nonetheless, Maxus’s global competency in understanding media planning and buying along with Frrole’s ongoing ability to derive intelligence over Twitter data set wouldn’t be just a trendsetter, but would also drive significant increase in ROI on media spends by Maxus clients.

The launch of a social tracker product backed by an industry planner opens up the space for more such innovations in this space at a time when ad spending in India will grow 12.6% to touch Rs.49,000 crore in 2015, with digital media seeing the fastest growth, albeit on a small base.