Nielsen ramps up focus on mobile
By Michael Barris
July 17, 2014
Facebook, Nielsen's partner.
Nielsen, known for its television-ratings measurement systems, is ramping up on mobile with the expansion of two big products – TV ratings and online-ad measurement – into mobile.
To improve its iconic TV ratings, New York-based Nielsen will tap its three-year-old partnership with social-networking site Facebook to obtain mobile viewers’ age and gender. As part of its online ad-measurement system expansion, Nielsen will track household income, family size and education level through a partnership with the marketing arm of credit-reporting agency Experian. The moves continue Nielsen’s evolution as an important participant in the science of measuring what consumers watch and buy.
"To effectively measure digital audiences in a highly fragmented environment, we determined the need to draw upon census-level third-party data from providers like Facebook,” said Randall Beard, Neilsen’s global head for ad solutions.
“We then use our gold standard cross-platform homes panel to calibrate that data.
“This is an incredibly innovative approach, which is one of the reasons we are the first and only company accredited by the MRC (Media Rating Council) for delivering online audience demographics," he said.
Nielsen, which has gained respect and influence through its use of TV set-top devices that track what shows audiences are watching, seeks to improve its techniques in an age when mobile influences the consumer’s media choices.
Starting this fall, as part of its partnership with Facebook, Nielsen will be able to use data acquired through the social-media giant’s asking users whether they want to participate in the tracking process when they download mobile TV apps. The opt-out notice may not warn that Nielsen and Facebook are working together.
A key piece of Nielsen’s online-ad measurement enhancement is expanding its ratings system to include mobile to create parity across screens and enable marketers to understand who saw their ads on mobile and on which platforms. The changes permit measurement of display and video ads both in-app and in-browser.
Nielsen OnePoint Global app for Mobile Surveys.
Dozens of media sellers, including Vdopia and Adap.tv, have opted in to Nielsen’s system to measure mobile on their sites, apps and networks.
Marketers increasingly recognize mobile’s ability to connect with an on-the-go consumer. Advertisers increasingly see that given the amount of time consumers spend on their smartphones from daybreak to sundown and the double-digit rise in digital video consumption, mobile offers a significant opportunity to connect with key audiences.
However, mobile has had a unique set of metrics and a lack of third-party measurement that has hindered true cross-platform comparison and investment.
More transparency and accountability in mobile advertising is seen as boosting advertisers’ confidence to invest.
“Mobile is incredibly complex and fragmented,” Mr. Beard said. “You have different operating systems, different phone manufacturers, thousands upon thousands of apps.
“The expanded Nielsen Online Campaign Ratings cuts across all of that to deliver total ad audience within apps and browsers for the first time.”
Michael Barris is staff reporter with Mobile Marketer, New York.