US measurement company Nielsen today announced it has added mobile and over-the-top (OTT) viewing to its Total Ad Ratings product, which it says will allow advertisers to better measure the cross-platform reach of their campaigns.
Total Ad Ratings claims to give advertisers a de-duplicated view of a campaign’s reach across different devices, meaning advertisers can see the total number of people who saw an ad on each device, but also how many people saw the same ad on different combinations of devices.
Nielsen says that Total Ad Ratings helps advertisers compare the performance of ads on different devices, using comparable metrics, and to measure where ad spend may be wasted with the same ad being shown to the same person lots of times across different platforms. This new extension of the product could therefore give a better view into the value of OTT and mobile inventory, showing when these devices help advertiser reach new potential customers, and when they’re just sending the same message to audiences they’ve already reached on TV.
The mobile measurement component significantly includes YouTube inventory thanks to a deal with Google. Nielsen added YouTube mobile measurement in Europe to its Digital Ad Ratings product just under a year ago, and its inclusion in Total Ad Ratings could help satisfy an appetite from advertisers for more direct comparison between YouTube and TV ads.
“Providing currency caliber cross-platform audience measurement is core to our mission, and we’re excited to enhance our Total Ad Ratings product to do just that,” said Amanda Tarpey, SVP of product leadership, digital at Nielsen. “Whether consumers are streaming from their TV or their smartphones, Nielsen will be able to reflect their ad viewership and incrementality as part of its audience reporting—a major step that will benefit the industry from publishers and platforms to advertisers and agencies.
The announcement comes at a time when Nielsen’s value to broadcasters and advertisers is coming under scrutiny, thanks to an ongoing spat with broadcaster CBS. The two revealed last week they have reached a contractual impasse as they’re unable to agree on pricing, with CBS claiming Nielsen has failed to adapt sufficiently to the current needs of the industry.
CBS was critical in part of what it sees as insufficient cross-platform measurement, with a spokesperson saying that “while Nielsen has made some strides in this area, progress has not been what we and many clients would like”. Whether announcements like today’s will be enough to convince CBS and other critics that Nielsen is doing enough to address industry changes remains to be seen.