With Ad Tech, Nielsen Catalina Solutions Sheds Its One-Trick-Pony Reputation

ncs-profile-imgNielsen Catalina Solutions’ (NCS) original value prop focused on connecting media consumption with in-store sales for CPG brands.

But in the past two years, NCS has moved beyond attribution and into building programmatic audience segments. Programmatic targeting is already almost 25% of NCS’ business, with a revenue goal this year between $20 million and $25 million, said Alec Rivera, VP of programmatic strategy and enablement.

Two years ago, NCS data could be activated programmatically on 12 ad platforms. Today, that number is at 170, Rivera said, including direct relationships with DSPs like Turn, The Trade Desk and AppNexus, WPP’s Xaxis unit and DMPs or data onboarders like LiveRamp/Acxiom, Neustar and Nielsen Marketing Cloud. Each onboarding partner has around 40-70 ad tech integrations where it can send NCS audience segments.

NCS is also building ad tech products so enterprise clients can have their own personal data environment “where a brand or agency’s data can be commingled with ours.”

New Measurement Channels

While programmatic targeting has been a strong growth driver for NCS, new measurement channels like addressable TV may be a bigger growth opportunity, said Andrew Feigenson, who was named NCS CRO last month.

“Measurement is undervalued in digital marketing right now compared to, say, segmenting or ad serving, in terms of the apportionment of every dollar spent on media,” Feigenson said.

Measurement is also NCS’ entree to potentially lucrative new ad channels.

NCS is an early measurement partner for addressable TV buying with Comcast, Charter, Altice (which bought Cablevision in 2015), Dish and AT&T. NCS also recently debuted a service for measuring print advertising’s impact on store sales.

“More media is becoming addressable and more accountable, and NCS is well-positioned to grow on the back of that trend,” said Nicole Monteleone, executive director of analytics and modeling for the video ad tech company Eyeview, where she’s overseen some early work with NCS on addressable TV measurement.

“Addressable TV doesn’t have a ton of scale at the moment, but it’s growing fast and being able to connect it to first-party data means it could combine the best of TV branding and digital measurement, so we want to be involved now for when that does reach scale,” she said.

Feigenson also said the addressable TV business “has been slow for a while,” but said it’s picking up as cable carriers develop their own ad tech and brands see the benefit of running TV campaigns with near-real-time measurement and optimization like other online channels.

Family First 

But Nielsen and Catalina – the parent companies constituting the NCS joint venture – might be the biggest beneficiaries of NCS products.

In 2012, Catalina leveraged NCS’ measurement capabilities to build its BuyerVision media-planning product, quickly becoming one of NCS’ biggest customers, said Chris Henger, SVP of product development at Undertone and former EVP of digital solutions at Catalina, where he led the BuyerVision team.

Nielsen, which acquired a majority share of NCS in 2015, has pursued an aggressive integration strategy. NCS data is incorporated into Nielsen Marketing Cloud’s offering and accounts for most of the cloud service’s CPG revenue, Rivera said.

And Nielsen sales teams selling to brands and agencies increasingly are trying to bundle NCS offerings, said Meredith Spector, NCS’ VP of marketing.

“We have a relatively small sales team, so having an organization like Nielsen, which probably has 20 times or more the number of people doing sales where there’s an application for [the NCS] data,” Spector said. “So there’s a great opportunity to be baked into those contracts too.”

1 Comment

  1. Good article James. I agree with the statement “Measurement is undervalued in digital marketing right now..."
    But it seems that brands are finally realizing that accurate measurement is the key to effective optimization. "Data-driven" should apply to both ends of the spectrum (segmenting, serving and measurement).

    Reply

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