Nielsen's Online Campaign Ratings Measures Users Across TV, Web and FacebookSoon you will be able to measure online display advertising using Facebook data and TV-style reporting. Nielsen, who knows a thing or two about ratings, is getting ready to release Nielsen Online Campaign Ratings, which is just finishing up a six-month trial.

Online Campaign Ratings

Since March, Nielsen has been testing its new ratings system on 80 campaigns on 15 publishers’ sites. On August 15, all US media buyers will have access to daily reports on campaigns running on TV, Facebook and elsewhere on web in one place, using the same “gross ratings points” data they use to track TV ads.

Preliminary beta testing has shown that just 30 percent of branded display advertising aimed at specific age- and gender-defined demographic groups was hitting its target. That might not mean much at first, but when compared to mass-market campaigns, which hit their target three times out of four, it shows that there is great need to understand what sites perform well and those that don’t.

Nielsen’s new metric would hopefully encourage advertisers to diversify their advertising buys from an expensive last-minute “scatter” market to cheaper online outlets.

Mixing Online with TV Viewer Data

The new ratings system combines data from Nielsen’s panels of TV viewers and online users with exclusive access to Facebook’s database of users, which is kept anonymous and only provides demographic data. Participating publishers can place a Nielsen tag on their content, which allows Nielsen to apply proprietary filtering mechanisms so non-human traffic, blocked IPs, auto refresh and international traffic are removed. Data is then compiled and calibrated using information derived from the site-centric data, allowing for a much more accurate reflection of page-level activity.

The aim of Nielsen Online Campaign Ratings isn’t to just provide another means for measuring online consumer behavior. It also aims to shift our focus away from clicks and page views, which as we know only tell us so much, to a more holistic view that attempts to capture a broader, yet more focused view of the consumer, by tracking more than just their online behaviors.