It is very smart of Arbitron to address social media’s impact on radio ratings clearly, as they have in the policy brief linked above. It’s beneficial for all broadcasters and web publishers to understand Arbitron’s view on ratings distortion and the importance of social media’s ability to engage and influence an audience. It’s comforting to know that Arbitron is monitoring websites and radio station social media pages to insure that companies aren’t using social media to boost their terrestrial radio audience delivery by engaging with respondents.
Of course, this point becomes a bit murky because internet radio providers aren’t really addressed and are harder to regulate at this point. These companies are hustling for an online listening session, just everyone else.
When a true multi-platform audience measurement delivery system is in place for media and entertainment providers to track total audience delivery, the best practices will probably be updated again.