September 29, 2010, 6:18 PM

Nielsen introduces a new way to measure ad audiences across TV and online media

The new Nielsen Online Campaign Ratings system will measure ad audiences by age and gender.

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The Nielsen Co., well-known for measuring TV audiences for advertisers, is developing a new measurement platform that will the show audience reach of display and video ads across multiple types of media—including online social networks and other web sites, mobile commerce sites and TV. The ad measurement service will also break out audiences by gender and age groups without revealing personal information that could identify viewers, Nielsen says.

“This new system will provide marketers with a better understanding of their return on investment, and will give media companies a much-needed tool to prove the value of their audiences,” says Steve Hasker, president of media products at Nielsen. “Perhaps most importantly, marketers and media companies alike will now have a simpler way to measure the combined reach of TV, the web and even mobile advertising.”

Nielsen says the new system, Nielsen Online Campaign Ratings, will use the company’s patent-pending process that combines Nielsen’s traditional TV and online consumer panel data with electronic data provided by web site publishers and advertisers. Pixels in online ads will inform Nielsen when an ad is displayed within a consumer’s web browser.

As site publishers provide aggregate data on how often ads were displayed to particular gender and age groups, Nielsen will combine that data with information from its consumer panels. The result will be a single report that shows the percent of a targeted audience reached by gender and age groups, and how often the target audience viewed each ad. Nielsen will also produce for each ad a gross rating point, a measurement used to sell ad space that factors in the percent of a targeted audience reached by an ad and the number of times the ad appeared, a Nielsen spokesman says.

Nielsen will test the new online ad ratings system during the fourth quarter with the social network site Facebook and several advertisers, including Procter & Gamble and Verizon Wireless. Nielsen expects to make the system commercially available.

Mike Murphy, vice president of global sales for Facebook, says the new Nielsen system should give advertisers the information they need to plan and run effective cross-media ad campaigns.

“More and more marketers are creating integrated, cross-platform campaigns and we need a better way to measure how they perform,” he says. “We think creative campaigns are more effective when marketers combine TV and digital in a way that extends the big idea online and makes it social through an ongoing, two-way connection. With their expertise, Nielsen can help marketers measure the impact of true cross-platform campaigns.”

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