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How Bravo Is Crunching Facebook Data to Lift ‘Real Housewives’ Repeat Ratings

Cabler uses social giant's new keyword search feature to glean factoids for 'social edition' rebroadcasts

Bravo is one of the first TV networks to drink from Facebook’s data fire hose — letting the cabler siphon off insights from fan discussions about its shows on the social site to pull the audience back to TV.

The NBCUniversal network last month started using Facebook’s new Keyword Insights API (application programming interface) for its “Real Housewives” franchise. The feature, introduced in September, lets partners scan private posts of Facebook’s 100 million U.S. users, anonymously combining those into useful info about who’s talking about a specific topic.

Bravo has run keyword searches on Facebook during new episodes “Real Housewives,” and then scours the data to pull out factoids that it uses in the “social edition” repeats that air a few days later, which include tweets and comments from the show’s stars.

SEE ALSO: Facebook Reveals the New Fall TV Shows Generating the Most Buzz

The new Facebook data “has given us richer information to keep fans engaged,” Ellen Stone, executive VP of marketing for Bravo and Oxygen Media.  “Anytime you have more data, that lets you better cater to your community.”

For example, in this Tuesday’s social-edition airing of “Real Housewives of Atlanta,” the show’s enhanced content included this tidbit about show star Kandi Burress: “Kandi is popular with the gentlemen! 60% of people posting about Kandi on Facebook were men!”

SEE ALSO: Facebook Friends ‘Dancing with the Stars’ for First Entertainment Pact

This Sunday’s “Real Housewives of Atlantahit season-high ratings for Bravo, garnering 3.7 million viewers overall. The Tuesday social-edition repeat drew 15% the audience, with 559,000 viewers.

That’s still a win for Bravo. Generally, it’s tough to discern exactly the extent to which social media drives up TV ratings. But compared with average ratings for regular repeats of Bravo’s originals in 2013 to date, the network’s social editions have delivered 73% higher ratings among the 18-49 demo and 79% higher ratings among total viewers.

ABC was the first TV partner to use Facebook’s keywords data, for “Dancing With the Stars.” The social company is reaching out to TV programmers as part of its larger goal to increase Facebook’s bond with entertainment brands and media companies. As part of that Facebook this fall began releasing a weekly report ranking interactions for several dozen broadcast primetime TV shows.

SEE ALSO: Facebook Clicks With TV Partnerships

Bravo also works with Twitter, but Stone said “they haven’t provided that level of data” akin to Facebook’s Keywords Insight API. Bravo works with data analysis firm Mass Relevance to sort through the Facebook data, which sorts keywords by demographic information (gender, age and geography).

The Facebook data revealed that “Real Housewives of Atlanta” fans in Georgia were talking about castmember Porsha Stewart more than anyone else, and that young women overindex on talking about Kenya Moore.

Beyond using the Facebook keywords info on-air, Bravo over time will gain marketing insights to refine its social messaging, Stone said. And, in the future, she expects to use the Keywords Insights to feed the stats back to users on Facebook.

What’s next: Bravo would like Facebook to provide a way to measure sentiment across the social posts — to see which characters are getting positive comments, and which ones are drawing barbs. “That would give us even more opportunity to have a conversation with our audience,” Stone said.

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