Nielsen Overhauls its Digital Measurement Methods

Photo by Nicolas J. Leclercq at Unsplash.

The takeaways

  • Nielsen is upgrading its digital measurement products to give publishers and media buyers better data and monetization opportunities from 2021.
  • The overhaul focuses on improving consumer data privacy, data collection and bias.
  • The American Association of Advertising Agencies criticised a separate initiative combining TV viewership data into one stream.

What happened?

Nielsen announced changes to its digital measurement product methodologies yesterday. The audience measurement company’s products include Digital Content Ratings, Total Content Ratings, Digital in TV Ratings, Digital Ad Ratings and Total Ad Ratings. The move also partly responds to growing consumer privacy issues and the decline of third-party cookies.

Karthik Rao, COO of Nielsen, indicated that the changes are in line with its transition to a platform company. With the rollout beginning in early 2021,  publisher-clients will access “scaled data, augmented with Nielsen-verified demographics, and privacy-centric audience deduplication methodologies”. Nielsen will also create “media panel truth sets, census data collection technology, proprietary bias correction and calibration models and diverse third-party partner assets.”

Through these, Nielsen aims to help media owners improve monetization, optimize advertising spends and offer more competitive comparisons. Media buyers will also benefit from stronger cross-platform campaigns. Furthermore, focusing on data portability and de-duplicating audiences avoids counting the same people across platforms.

Privacy and flexibility?

Mainak Mazumdar, Nielsen’s Chief Data and Research Officer, stated, “We are creating the foundation that will allow us to continue to instill confidence, deliver comparability and enable coverage in a cookieless future.” “With a privacy-centric lens, we are creating a flexible platform that we can adapt to new technology, data and regulatory changes,” added Rao.

Later this September, Nielsen plans to integrate out-of-home viewing into the U.S. TV currency measurement. But this combination of in-home and out-of-home viewership into a single data stream has been criticised by the American Association of Advertising Agencies. Citing data oversimplification and inventory pricing fairness, the Association requested an alternative that avoids combining audience figures. It also proposed delaying the combined data stream launch pending an audit by the Media Ratings Council. 


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