Nielsen unveils new online ad measurement


As we reported imminent last week, The Nielsen Company 9/27 announced the development of “Nielsen Online Campaign Ratings,” which will for the first time provide audience data comparable to Nielsen’s television ratings.  The new measurement system, like an “online GRP,” or Gross Rating Point, is a significant advancement for the media industry and will provide greater accuracy, faster reporting, and wider coverage than existing online measurement.

“This is a major step forward for both Nielsen and our industry.  This new system will provide marketers with a better understanding of their ROI, and will give media companies a much needed tool to prove the value of their audiences,” said Steve Hasker, President, Media Products, Nielsen.  “Perhaps most importantly, marketers and media companies alike will now have a simpler way to measure the combined reach of TV, the web and even mobile advertising.  Reach alone doesn’t tell the whole story, however, and Nielsen intends to combine the ratings with cross-platform advertising effectiveness metrics to provide a complete view.”

The new system will use a patent-pending process combining traditional Nielsen TV and online panel data with aggregated, anonymous demographic information from participating online data contributors.  Using its unique approach, Nielsen will be able to provide reach, frequency and GRP measures for online advertising campaigns of nearly any size, running nearly anywhere on the web.  Campaign reporting will be available within just days after the launch of a campaign, providing vital delivery information in-flight to both advertisers and publishers.

While focusing first on the U.S., Nielsen intends to extend this system to appropriate key markets around the globe. Nielsen Online Campaign Ratings will be tested with several industry leaders in Q4 of 2010 including advertisers such as Procter & Gamble and Verizon Wireless, major media agencies such as Starcom MediaVest, and Facebook. The new system is expected to be commercially available in 2011. To help evolve this metric into an accepted industry standard, Nielsen expects to welcome additional advertisers, media agencies and online publishers to participate in the learning process over the coming months.

Nielsen intends to submit this new system to the Media Ratings Council (MRC) for accreditation.

“More and more marketers are creating integrated, cross-platform campaigns and we need a better way to measure how they perform,” said Mike Murphy, Vice President, Global Sales, Facebook. “We think creative campaigns are more effective when marketers combine TV and digital in a way that extends the big idea online and makes it social through an ongoing, two-way connection.  With their expertise, Nielsen can help marketers measure the impact of true cross-platform campaigns.”

How it works
This system is designed to measure the audience composition of a particular advertisement and cannot be used for targeting web users.  It does not track consumers from one website to another.  Consistent with its privacy standards and practices, Nielsen will enable consumers to opt-out of inclusion in this measurement system.

At the invitation of a client advertiser or website, Nielsen will request a pixel when a particular display or video advertisement is displayed in a browser. Once requested, these pixels will travel to Nielsen and to approved data contributors – including large web publishers. These pixels do not pass any information about the identity of the user, the website on which the ads appear, the sites the user visits, or the identity of the advertiser.  The contributors will provide aggregate-level reports containing reach and frequency information in anonymous age and gender buckets only.  Nielsen will then use proprietary, patented and patent-pending technology to combine these reports with data from its TV and online panels, resulting in a single report showing reach, frequency and GRPs for the advertisement.

A second process will run in parallel to match the IP address of the pixel to one of the 210 Nielsen Designated Market Areas (DMAs). At no time will this system collect or distribute information on an individual web user.