I thought this was pretty interesting, the full article is worth a read, see the link below.
Bil Tancer at Hitwise occasionally tries to predict talent show winners by studying Search activity, but there are now too many dynamics to interpret to be able to use internet data to easily predict X Factor winners and losers this year. When the internet was a one way street, then Search volumes were good indicators of intention / preference. However, new platforms such as Facebook, YouTube, blogs and Twitter fuel ‘social influence’ and contribute to the ‘cumulative advantage’ dynamic studied by Duncan J Watts. Watts’ argues that Justin Timberlake is a product of cumulative advantage, putting forward the idea that the ‘most popular tend to get more popular’ as social influence affects people’s perception of quality. The herd mentality affects hits – rankings like the Top 40 / bestseller lists distort perception of quality and influence people’s likes.
The visibility of shows like the X Factor in social media means that using search volumes to predict winners is not going to give the whole picture. The only way to use online data to predict X Factor outcomes would be to combine Search data with real time sentiment analysis in the period between the performances on Saturday and the results show on Sunday – not easy, or particularly cheap, to do. It is clear though that compelling TV content does drive people to go online, often simultaneously – and you don’t need research to tell you this when shows like the X Factor have such an obvious online echo!
see for full article http://www.nickburcher.com