Advertisers search for earned media advertising wisdom like it’s the lost city of Atlantis. TrueAnthem and its publisher partner FOX Broadcasting company have come closer than most to finding the promised land, and  are being honored today with the prestigious 2012 Next Gen Market Research (NGMR) Innovation Award as the most disruptive technology in social media measurement.

“While the concept of earned media and influencers are not new to our industry, instantaneous measurement of social interactions and the right way to define social KPIs have largely been in a pioneering phase,” says Fox Broadcasting Company SVP Audience Innovation, Research and Strategy Melva Benoit.

TrueAnthem’s patent-pending technology enables multi-generational tracking of social sharing and therefore quantification of earned media. In English, this means the company tracks a piece of content as it’s shared from Bob, to Sally, to Jane and so forth, with no outer limit to this capability. Along the way, publishers can identify and engage social influencers, and the insights gathered can then be used to inform content creation and monetization decisions.

More impressively, trueAnthem has developed a proprietary, platform-agnostic social sharing metric that allows publishers to compare engagement across multiple social media channels, such as Facebook, Twitter, and YouTube.

Through trueAnthem, FOX learned that the content engagement rate was 15 percent higher amongst its new earned audience and each share resulted in 15X new video impressions. The conclusion being, that social content distribution drives not only earned media impressions, but supports the acquisition of new viewers.

“Companies are starting to sit up and recognize the need to partner with market research firms to help define the most relevant KPIs,” says NGMR Board of Advisors and President of Gadd Research, Canada Mike Gadd

TruAnthem’s ten person team has been building its technology in stealth for more than four years, launching publicly for the first time in June of this year with its FOX “thought leadership” partnership. Along the way, the company raised more than $5.6 million in Seed and Series A financing from private investors. The company is in active discussions with a number of other entertainment companies, traditional brands, and publishers about entering similar partnerships.

Companies are rethinking their marketing and advertising strategies as they learn more about the way content behaves within their online audience. The early insights drawn from the TrueAnthem and FOX will likely change the way others in the industry strategize their social marketing efforts.