Nielsen has steadily expanded its efforts to tie online and offline together and to build products around digital ad effectiveness. That push has required Nielsen to strike relationships with outside data providers such as Datalogix and Facebook.
As social and mobile become more crucial for advertisers, Nielsen is under more pressure to come up with insights into those areas – and that will take more outside help. However, Nielsen is worried about sacrificing credibility – it has plenty of detractors already, after all – for the sake of saying it has achieved comprehensive solutions covering the marketplace.
At the BrightRoll Video Summit, BrightRoll CEO Tod Sacerdoti and Steve Hasker, president global product leadership for Nielsen, discussed audience measurement and ad effectiveness, especially for mobile and social. Hasker began by acknowledging – and ultimately defending Nielsen against – the online ad industry's issues with gross ratings points. GRPs are the Nielsen standard metrics for TV viewing and the basis for its two main digital measurement products, Online Campaign Ratings (OCR) and Cross-Platform Campaign Ratings (XCR).
"OCR and XCR are really GRPs," Hasker said. "We're not here to tell anyone that the world should stop at categorizing consumers according to age and gender. But that's the language of the major marketers."
Sacerdoti pointed out that a quarter of BrightRoll's business is traded based on OCR. "If you would have told me two years ago that so much of our business would be reliant on that metric, I wouldn't have believed it," he told Hasker. "I'm surprised by that."
While Sacerdoti vouched for the usefulness of OCR for the video ad network, he did express some frustration that the metric is not ready for mobile.
"Adding data providers in mobile is a big issue," Hasker said. "We measure mobile in all kinds of different ways. You'll see us move and make progress before the end of this year."
He also said the perceived lack of progress in adding more publisher and vendor data to OCR and XCR products boils down to caution.
"We do want to add other data providers to make the product more robust," Hasker said. "We've been slow to do that because of our hard-won Media Ratings Council accreditation, so we want to be thoughtful. I don't want to add a data provider and wake up and see that things have gotten messy. But I would expect you would see more data providers added by the end of the year."