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Nielsen is to roll out a method of measuring online display ad campaigns which gives advertisers more transparency over who is seeing their ads.

Nielsen Online Campaign Ratings will use anonymous demographic data from Facebook to measure who is seeing the ads on the social network and elsewhere on the web. Nielsen will then fuse the data with its own TV and online panel data to provide advertisers with more information on who is viewing their ads on Facebook, TV and the web.

The tool will roll out in the US next week, with the UK to follow, although it’s yet to reveal a date for launch. Nielsen has been working with 80 brands in the US so that by the time the tool goes live on 15 August, it will be able to provide ratings reports to all US media buyers. 

Nielsen claims the Facebook data that’s being provided for the new measurement tool is exclusive, although rival Comscore has also expressed interest in the methodology. The company also said other data providers will be added in the future.

Comscore marketing director Mike Shaw said it would “consider” the methodology. “The approach of gathering demographic data in a methodology where users’ online activity isn’t influenced by the fact they know they’re being monitored, and without bothering the user, is positive,” he said.

Earlier this year Comscore launched Campaign Essentials, an online measurement system which uses its 2m-strong global panel of internet users. It tracks the panellists’ online activity within Facebook to feed back information on audience behaviours on the social network to advertisers.

Comscore is also in the midst of conducting cross-media measurement test trials in the US to monitor response to campaigns across TV, the web, and mobile via a single-source data method. Shaw said if the US model proves a success it will replicate the tool in the UK. It’s working with AT&T on the trials.


Joseph Leon, partner and MD, EMEA, Essence:

This is a very exciting development in terms of campaign insight. Facebook’s pervasive reach means that any campaign able to overlay Facebook profile data will benefit from a huge, natural sample group, overcoming two of the key issues with previous solutions: sample sizes and the potential bias of an incentive-based panel. I think it also highlights the inaccuracies and frankly debatable effectiveness of some of today’s campaign planning methodologies, which regularly depend on incentive-based panel solutions, to identify target audience media consumption.It will interesting to see where Facebook goes with this. If successful, I cannot see this data being restricted to Nielsen usage. Who knows, Facebook may just become the largest openly available consumer panel. However while the data is anonymised, the big question reamins how happy its users will be, especially at a time when Facebook probably needs to stay out of the headlines rather than make more.

Charlie McGee, MD of Carat UK Digital

We’ve been aware of the issue regarding inventory wastage on publisher sites for some time, so have our own panel-based measurement tool, called Digital Audience Measurement, which we use to measure who sees our ads and where. This then means we can tell when a media buy hasn’t always been fulfilled. However we don’t link back to TV data, so Nielsen’s new service may be interesting there - Nielsen’s TV panel legacy adds integrity to the new service and also allows us to talk in more comfortable terms with our clients, rather than using terms such as ‘impressions’ when referring to people or audience, rather than more traditional marketing terms. Also, the ability to work closely with Facebook is different and exciting.

Dominic Finney, co-founder of digital benchmarking and revenue generation specialist FaR Partners

The really positive aspect of partnering with Facebook is the scale of its audience and the transparency of Facebook’s registered users, which provide a sound base for fusing with the Neilsen panel. The challenge would appear to be partnering with just Facebook which potentially could limit Neilsen’s OCR’s findings as it will only have Facebook as a third party provider and Facebook currently only reaches around half of US users online. I would also question whether this helps answer another core challenge, which is building a representative work-based panel, especially among audiences that are only allowed limited access to publisher websites. But overall it’s an interesting and positive step in terms of trying to address a key measurement challenge within the industry.


Published 8 August, 2011 by NMA Staff

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