Tracking Viewers on All Platforms

Nov 11, 2007  •  Post A Comment

Nielsen Online plans to introduce an all-in-one ratings system in 2008 that will measure viewership across television and the Internet. The ratings giant also intends to loop in measurement data across mobile viewing on cell phones and interaction with consumer-generated video.
Many advertising executives doubt Nielsen can pull off such an ambitious plan, and even if such sweeping data will be useful.
But Nielsen has already taken the first steps toward monitoring viewing habits across phones, TV and the computer.
“Our plan is to track video across all the different platforms,” said Manish Bhatia, president of global services and U.S. sales for Nielsen Online. “That is a big piece of the evolution of the Internet itself. We want to link mobile, TV and online.”
Nielsen plans to create a single-source panel for TV and online viewing by next summer to measure overall TV viewership for commercial ratings and for programs across both platforms, Mr. Bhatia said.
“The question we are getting from clients is, ‘If I am running content on the TV and the Internet, how many people are new to me? What is the unduplicated reach across both mediums? Am I getting the same people seeing my commercial on CNN on TV and on the Internet?’” Mr. Bhatia said.
One Track Mined
To answer that question, Nielsen has begun combining the data from its TV panel and its online panel to produce estimates on the duplicated audience. “The next step is literally having a single panel where the same person is being tracked for Internet and TV usage,” Mr. Bhatia said. “We have a lab with a few hundred homes where we have TV meters and Internet meters and, assuming we have good cooperation, the plan will be to roll that out with the existing Internet and TV panel. We are pushing toward a single-source panel.”
That all sounds great, but agencies aren’t convinced Nielsen can do it. “They are very aggressive plans, and just because they set a time and date doesn’t mean they necessarily will meet that deadline,” said Brad Adgate, senior VP of research at Horizon Media.
Marketers would relish information on a day in the life of media exposure across all mediums, but crunching that data seems too complicated, especially when working out the methodology, producing useful data and getting accredited, Mr. Adgate said. “With the single source, they might be biting off more than they can chew. To do this across platforms is going to be very difficult,” he added.
In addition to a single-source panel for online and TV viewing, Mr. Bhatia said Nielsen plans to integrate mobile viewing data into its measurement now that it has acquired mobile phone research company Telephia.
Nielsen also owns Nielsen BuzzMetrics, which measures word of mouth and online buzz about brands and products. Mr. Bhatia said Nielsen plans to loop that data into its measurement sources to produce more insight into the consumption of consumer-generated media.
“People are talking a lot on the Internet and listening to each other before they make a decision to buy a product or do something,” Mr. Bhatia said. “We are now trying to overlay that chat with [our other data].”
Advertisers also want to better understand online video, he said. Ad spending in that sector should hit $7.1 billion in 2012, up from $471 million this year, according to data from Forrester Research.
As advertisers pour more money into online video, they want to know what their return on investment is, he said. ROI is easily measurable in search marketing, but not yet in video.
Mr. Bhatia said the ratings company plans to measure effectiveness and response to video, banner and rich media ads. That will come in part by producing more granular data on online video viewing, such as percent of a program watched paired with demographic data. “Then we hook that with our panel data and give you the demographic profile of people watching those streams,” he said.
But Nielsen may be solving a problem that doesn’t even exist online. Already the Web is more advanced than television in measurement. Marketers are able to glean how their ads perform via ad measurement services such as Omniture and DoubleClick, explained Michael Hayes, senior VP of interactive at Initiative North America. That means Internet advertisers don’t have to rely on the imprecise ratings system that hinder TV.
“Everyone kind of wants to create one central repository, but I don’t need to know how big or small ‘Desperate Housewives’ is. All I need to know is how many impressions it delivered,” Mr. Hayes said.
Nielsen isn’t the only measurement source online. Many Web sites rely on audience figures from comScore and also from Hitwise, which measures Internet audience by market share.
As a result, the online world is likely to get more crowded in the coming years as more companies jump into the measurement fray, said T.S. Kelly, senior VP and director of research and insight at Media Contacts, a division of Havas.
Technology firms, cable and mobile operators, agencies, media owners and even the marketers themselves will all become viable sources of audience data, measurement and analytics, he said.
“Post-dot-bomb, media owners and publishers became a bit more introspective—asking better questions and expecting better answers from suppliers. That’s when we saw a huge surge in custom analysis from comScore and Nielsen, among others,” Mr. Kelly said. “There was a shift in focus away from the syndicated data sources to a more customized understanding of user behavior.
Simple audience measurement became less relevant. We saw both behavioral and contextual targeting emerge as part of the audience measurement discussion.”
More sources, rather than less, will flourish online, he said.
Nielsen also will face competition in its quest. Digital audience measurement firm TNS Media Research has started work on connecting Internet and mobile phone viewing data with existing TV viewing data, said George Shababb, chief operating officer for TNS.
He admits, though, that linking such disparate information is challenging and work needs to be done to find the best methods. “I am not sure an ideal way has been defined yet,” he said.
In addition, Web marketers aren’t solely interested in gross impressions. That’s why the Internet has always relied on several data sources.
“Data integration, analytics and media optimization are of greater relevance to marketers now than any single source of online measurement,” Mr. Kelly said.
Selection Process
When it comes to online video, advertisers want more than just views and streams, said Ben Weinberger, CEO of video ad-targeting firm Digitalsmiths. They want to know how viewers select and choose ads.
“Possibly the most important aspect of putting video content online will be to measure and define how people select, view and neglect advertising targeted toward online video. It’s simply not enough to say this ad was clicked and that one wasn’t. Content owners and advertisers crave the data they are entitled to that will help them deliver a more relevant ad. The more metrics we can generate around ads and user interaction, the better we will optimize and serve them,” Mr. Weinberger said.


  1. Since we have clicks, unique views and sales data can someone explain how panels are relevant in today’s world?

  2. Just Wondering: some argue that panels are still critical in determining the demographics of the users. I did a virtual discussion with heads of the measurement companies (and a couple of other folks) that you can read here:

  3. This is all terrific, but IMMI is already providing single-source, cross-platform measurement of media exposure to ALL audio media sources such as TV, Radio, Internet, Mobile, VideoGames, etc, with a national panel of 3000 13-54 individuals. We use passive acoustic pattern recognition technology which is incorporated into cellphones which our panelists carry with them. So while Nielsen and TNS may have the market on set-top box technology, IMMI and our growing list of clients believe our approach is a far more relevant approach to cross-platform media exposure measurement. Plus, we also monitor in-store traffic, so we are beginning to close the loop on true marketing ROI…
    (Truth in Advertising: I am SVP Sales at IMMI)

  4. There are various types of trendy sandals that come in different colors, styles and they’re made with different materials. However, there’s one kind of sandal that somehow stands above the rest in getting people’s attention: the boot sandals.

  5. Found your site today on Yahoo Search. Very nice site. Do you have a mailing list of some sort?

  6. Thanks for your visiting this http://www.hello-free.com/freebies online Free WebSite.

  7. Thanks for your visiting this http://www.watchau.com/replica-pens/ online store.

  8. PPC Revenge 2.0- This has truly sparked up an concept in my thoughts. This can be a superb web site article.

  9. Hands down, Apple’s app store wins by a mile. It’s a huge selection of all sorts of apps vs a rather sad selection of a handful for Zune. Microsoft has plans, especially in the realm of games, but I’m not sure I’d want to bet on the future if this aspect is important to you. The iPod is a much better choice in that case.

  10. Thank God we have a common interest, thank you for sharing, you’re a good author. Hope to see more of your articles. Juno sincere.

  11. You are such an amazing writer. Wishing you a strength and peace that surpasses all understanding as you continue to walk the high road … you are amazing, and I honor you for being YOU! You represent grace and dignity … with a smile that melts anyone blessed to be on the receiving end of it. God Bless you Always, Carrie!!!!

  12. Neat blog layout! Very easy on the eyes.. i like the colors you picked out

  13. Love the blog here. Nice colors. I am definitely staying tuned to this one. Hope to see more.

  14. This is the best blog I’ve ever seen in my life! I really appreciate you taking the time out of your busy day to share your this with everyone.

  15. Hey how are you doing? I just wanted to stop by and say that it’s been a pleasure reading your blog. I have bookmarked your website so that I can come back & read more in the future as well. plz do keep up the quality writing

  16. I really like the colors here on your blog. did you design this yourself or did you outsource it to a professional?

  17. yes

  18. cling on to

  19. Love this blog.

  20. I love your blog.. very nice colors & theme. Did you create this website yourself or did you hire someone to do it for you? Plz reply back as I’m looking to create my own blog and would like to know wheere u got this from. thanks

  21. I agree.

  22. Great blog!! You should start many more. I love all the info provided. I will stay tuned 🙂

  23. Zune and iPod: Most people compare the Zune to the Touch, but after seeing how slim and surprisingly small and light it is, I consider it to be a rather unique hybrid that combines qualities of both the Touch and the Nano. It’s very colorful and lovely OLED screen is slightly smaller than the touch screen, but the player itself feels quite a bit smaller and lighter. It weighs about 2/3 as much, and is noticeably smaller in width and height, while being just a hair thicker.

  24. This is the best blog I’ve ever seen in my life! I really appreciate you taking the time out of your busy day to share your this with everyone.

  25. I like your blog.

  26. Nice!! Great Ifo. Great People. Great Blog. Thank you for all the great sharing that is being done here.

  27. I thought it was going to be some slow old post , but it really ompensated for my time. I cogitate that your position is deep, its just well thought out. I am sure my visitants will find that rattling useful . Tiffanys necklace

  28. Insightful job. I am going to need a decent amount of time to entertain this writing.

  29. Interesting thoughts here. I appreciate you taking the time to share them with us all. It’s people like you that make my day 🙂

  30. I have a huge collection of all the type of footwear because I love to wear different type of footwear very much. I like to wear MBT shoes very much because it fits on me very well and it is very comfortable.

  31. I recently wanted to add a comment the following to say many thanks for you excellent ideas. Weblogs are troublesome to run and also time consuming therefore I value when I discover well written materials. Your time isn’t going to waste with your posts. Many thanks so much and also carry on You will defintely reach your own goals! have a very great day time!

  32. This is good info! Where else can if ind out more?? Who runs this joint too? Keep up the good work 🙂

  33. Great stuff, though there are a few points I would query.

  34. The Zune concentrates on being a Portable Media Player. Not a web browser. Not a game machine. Maybe in the future it’ll do even better in those areas, but for now it’s a fantastic way to organize and listen to your music and videos, and is without peer in that regard. The iPod’s strengths are its web browsing and apps. If those sound more compelling, perhaps it is your best choice.

  35. I agree with your thoughts here and I really love your blog! I’ve bookmarked it so that I can come back & read more in the future.

  36. Many Thanks for this piece, It’s actually 1 of the only pieces i’ve liked enough recently to comment.

  37. Many Thanks for this piece, It’s actually one of the very few articles i’ve enjoyed enough recently to comment.

  38. Many Thanks for this piece, It’s actually one of the only articles i’ve enjoyed enough recently to comment.

  39. Nice blog here! Also your website loads up fast! What host are you using? I wish my website loaded up as fast as yours lol

  40. I would like to start my own blog one day. This was a really nice blog that you made here. Keep up the success 😛

  41. Nice!! Great Ifo. Great People. Great Blog. Thank you for all the great sharing that is being done here.

  42. What i don’t realize is in reality how you are no longer really much more neatly-preferred than you might be now. You are very intelligent. You understand thus significantly in relation to this topic, made me in my view consider it from numerous numerous angles. Its like women and men aren’t fascinated except it’s one thing to do with Woman gaga! Your individual stuffs excellent. At all times maintain it up!


Your Comment

Email (will not be published)