NEW YORK: Marketers often hear about the impact of digital offerings such as Twitter and Instagram in terms of numbers, but brand guardians can also now move away from volume and start assessing the value of such social-media engagement.

In the winter edition of the Journal of Advertising Research (JAR), Judit Nagy (FOX Broadcasting Co.) and Anjali Midha (Twitter) introduce the concept of an "earned audience", or users exposed to tweets about TV programs and their sponsors on Twitter.

And the research demonstrates what the authors believe is untapped marketing potential for programmers and advertisers.

"The Value of Earned Audiences: How Social Interactions Amplify TV Impact: What Programmers and Advertisers Can Gain from Earned Social Impressions" was one of several research papers in a special "How Earned Media Works in Advertising" section.

In their analysis, Nagy and Midha write: "A fast-developing area of study covers the relationship between social media and television - frequently referred to as social television - describing the impact of television on social-media behaviors (and vice versa).

"The most prevalent, most measureable outcome from the interaction between these channels is television viewers taking to social media to share their reactions to television content, essentially participating in a 'social-soundtrack' supplement to the big screen."

But the new study also demonstrates that, beyond programming comments, user-generated tweets about brands "meaningfully influence behavior related to the sponsors of television programs, prompting more than half of the 'earned audiences' to take a multitude of further actions across various social-media platforms or search solutions."

One key JAR takeaway for marketers was that tweets sent during original TV programs can be "very significant levers" in driving awareness, interest, actions and engagement with advertisers.

Another was that exposure to "tweets about television triggers action: people seek out and engage with content".

They also generate additional earned impressions across a variety of social-media platforms, the study revealed.

Data sourced from Warc