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Wednesday, 13 March 2013

Why Put Your Ratings in Question?
Social Media Dos & Don’ts
PolicY bRief
Ratings data can be among the most valuable
tools broadcasters have for programming and
sales. It’s important to protect the integrity of
your station’s ratings by following Arbitron’s
guide to using social media. While these
platforms create more personalized
communication with listeners, social media
can also lead to rating bias or rating distortion
if not managed properly. Here are a few
guidelines to follow when managing the
use of social media.
Protecting the Integrity of Audience Estimates
Adherence to the “Social Media Dos & Don’ts”
Help preserve respondent anonymity
Help stations avoid rating distortion
(prompting false information from respondents)
and rating bias (prompting differential
participation by a particular station’s listeners)
Examples are available on arbitron.com.
The Importance of Anonymity
Arbitron treats respondents’ identities as
Respondents are instructed not to discuss their
participation with strangers.
Respondents who disclose their participation
become ineligible.
Arbitron Monitors Social Media
Arbitron monitors social media sites daily:
–For respondent disclosures
–For contact between respondents and stations
Personalities’ sites are monitored if the sites are
public, e.g., personality uses on-air name or
the site promotes a station or a show.
Arbitron investigates every respondent
disclosure it encounters.
Remember, social media is not only defined as
Facebook and Twitter, but also includes
texting, emails, etc.
In-person programming stunts, remotes, and
events could also foster rating bias or rating
distortion. Any inappropriate interaction with
panelists or diarykeepers at those events are
also evaluated under this same policy
Questions? Contact Dave Willinski, Senior
Principal Policy Analyst, at dave.willinski@
arbitron.com or (410) 312-8396.
Don’t attempt to learn the identity of
Arbitron respondents. The station
may be delisted, even if the attempt
doesn’t succeed.
Don’t address comments to panelists
or diarykeepers.
Don’t discuss ratings (even ratings
success) on social networking sites.
Doing so may prompt respondents to
disclose their participation.
Don’t post comments encouraging
listeners to participate as panelists
or diarykeepers.
Don’t offer anything of value to self-
identified panelists or diarykeepers.
Notify Arbitron if a respondent reaches
out to the station via social media (or any
other means).
Remind station staff that social media
comments are subject to same guidelines
as on-air comments.
Contact Arbitron for a confidential
pre-review if you are unsure about
comments you wish to post.
Contact Arbitron if your staff sees posted
comments directed to an Arbitron
Contact Arbitron if the station learns the
identity of an Arbitron respondent (by
any means).
Review the following materials at
–Rating Bias & Rating Distortion
handbooks for PPM and Diary
–Panel & Diary Security “Dos & Don’

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