NEW YORK: Social media can be successfully tapped for information to help improve the targeting of linear television campaigns, a leading broadcaster has claimed.

Turner Broadcasting teamed up with 4C, a cross-screen data analytics business to build – in what it said was a first – an audience segment based on behaviour on Twitter that indicated who would be likely to be interested in an upcoming movie.

During a month-long campaign ahead of the movie release, ads were shown during shows which the specially created segment was expected to view in large numbers.

Social engagement among this group was 2.89 times higher than among the viewers of other cable programming, Ad Exchanger reported.

"There is so much upside if advertisers can be more precise," said Dan Aversano, SVP/ad innovation and programmatic solutions at Turner.

"Social is the world's most-largest, actionable focus group," he added.

And it's especially useful for studios which don't usually have historical data about their products but which can tap into social media chatter about movie trailers and celebrities.

That's what 4C did, looking for anything that would suggest an affinity for the genre, the actors or similar movies. The user profiles gathered in this exercise were matched to individual-level Nielsen viewing data and the viewing history of the group inferred.

4C was also able to assess the impact of the TV ad by monitoring the difference between social media engagement before and after the ad.

Aversano suggested that social media could be used to test TV spots, thanks to the speed of feedback there.

And Dr. Alok Choudhary, founder and chief scientist at 4C, saw a future where brands are able to use the same social media-created segments across digital media and TV.

"As the technology progresses, and as you have more addressable TV and programmatic TV, there is no reason why you can't do highly targeted one-to-one advertisements where you minimize waste and maximize value," he said.

Data sourced from Ad Exchanger; additional content by Warc staff