Ad Age's, Brian Steinberg says that both CNN and ESPN are working closely with Keller Fay, a social media company that tracks a total of 36,000 people a year who use a diary-based format to record what products they've talked about. Keller Fay then circles back with them to track what they've talked about and tries to tie the information back to the media outlets where respondents first heard about it. There are two examples in the story about how this data works in practice.
- CNN says more of its viewers talk about the Lexus than any other cable network, and that multi-platform users of CNN product were four times as likely to chat about a Lexus.
- ESPN reports "brands advertised during its NFL and college-football telecasts had what it said was a consistently higher level of word-of-mouth among users of ESPN media compared with non-users."
The other flaw with using word-of-mouth to value advertising is that it isn't a bulk measurement practice the way that Nielsen numbers are. It's extremely nuanced, and can be positive or negative. If you follow the logic that ad placements that generate positive word-of-mouth should be worth more, they should be worth less if the chatter about them is negative, and that's territory TV networks probably don't want to dive into.