Nielsen looks to bring digital and TV audiences closer together with new measurement service

Nielsen has kicked off the year by announcing its Digital Ad Ratings service is now commercially available in New Zealand, following a local trial last year and its international release in 2011. It’s now available in over 20 markets around the world.

Similar to TV measurement services, Digital Ad Ratings measures the demographics, unique audience, reach, frequency and gross rating points (GRPs) for an ad campaign’s full digital audience across computers, tablets and smartphones. It will enable advertisers, media agencies and publishers to maximise their advertising reach across digital platforms.

Nielsen New Zealand director Tony Boyte says it’s the first measurement service of its kind and investment to bring it to the local market is a reflection of digital’s rapid growth as an advertising platform.

“Digital has been around for a number of years, and it’s been easy for pumping out the volumes of impressions and trying to reach what we think is mass reach, but advertisers are now looking at that and going: ‘Well, I need to start measuring my return on investment. It’s no longer the early days of digital advertising where it’s something we just do; we have to see if it is giving bang for buck.’”

Last year, Standard Media Index released a snapshot of New Zealand’s advertising spend across the different media platform to reveal digital’s massive growth and TV’s loosening grip.

When comparing the ad spend of January to September of 2015 to 2016’s equivalent, digital had the biggest growth of 27.8 percent to give it a 31.6 percent share of the spend.

TV dropped 4.2 percent in the same period, giving it a 38.4 percent of the share in 2016.

It will be interesting to see how the gap between digital and TV closes or expands as advertisers use Digital Ad Rating and line up the digital and TV metrics beside each other to see how they compare.

“It’s all about measuring people not devices, across screens and publishers. You can now analyse your brand’s online ad campaign just like you would for TV,” Boyte says.

Unlike Nielsen’s previous campaign measurement for clients, which relied on online panels and surveys to get a 0.1-0.2 percent reach of New Zealand, it can now use Facebook data and reach one in two New Zealanders. Boyte says this gives it an “amazing amount of granularity”.

And because of the increased granularity, Digital Ad Ratings will be able to measure campaigns in New Zealand irrespective of size or where they are placed.

Boyte compares it to Nielsen’s existing Online Rating product, which he says measures a website’s total audience on a monthly basis rather than the actual people who have seen the ad.

The new product goes a step further and allows for the total number of people to be broken down further into age and gender demographics.

This means Digital Ad Ratings is not for planning, but rather a retrospective tool that allows clients, agencies or publishers to look back at what works best.   

Boyte also says because the metrics measure those who actually see the ad, it will allow agencies and publishers to look at the placement of ads on websites and see where performance can be improved.

“It’s not just a site versus site,” he says. “The publishers can see the results and go: ‘Ok, now where can I improve my performance if I put this campaign on another part of my site’,” he says.

GroupM New Zealand is the first advertising agency to sign on to the service and it’s chief operating officer Chris Riley says the digital campaign measurement will allow it to access significantly more robust data about the effectiveness of its clients’ digital investment.

There’s also an improvement for clients as campaign reporting is available the day after its launch, unlike the previous several-week wait.

The daily metrics are also a feature of Nielsen’s Digital Content Ratings, which is a syndicated service measuring all content types including video and text with metrics fully comparable to TV.

Following its US launch last year, it’s set to launch in Australia later this year, and Boyte says it’s looking to see New Zealand follow in those footsteps.

And looking further into the future, Boyte says Nielsen’s mantra is that it wants to be able to measure the total audience across TV and digital, and the products it’s working on in the US are a sign of that future.

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