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Arbitron Distributes Social Media Guidance

Ratings compiler warns stations about the dangers of social media indiscretions

Radio’s ratings tallyman Arbitron issued a Policy Brief titled “Why Put Your Ratings in Question? Social Media Dos & Don’ts.”

While it’s fun to speculate on what station hijinks prompted the buzz-killer memo, the missive is a reminder that ratings is a serious business. Arbitron places a high value on keeping participants anonymous.

Arbitron also reminded clients that it monitors social media websites, forums, station websites and more for telltale misbehavior by stations or participants in Arbitron ratings methods.

With no further ado, here is Arbitron’s Miss Manners Guide for Proper Ratings Social Media Etiquette.

• 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 respondent.
• 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’ts”

• 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.