Ask pretty much any TV marketer in any industry about Nielsen and you’ll get an earful. Complaints generally focus on Nielsen’s measurement capabilities and results as used to derive TV ratings. Yet Nielsen is still considered the common industry TV “currency.” Why is that? It’s a question of alternatives; today, Nielsen is all that’s available in the space for large scale television performance measurement! Despite their shortcomings and lack of analytical rigor, however, Nielsen is now embarking on an ambitious plan to add online measurement to their platform.
Without doubt, marketers need access to consistent metrics that completely integrate and reflect consumers’ actual media habits, both on- and offline, yet Nielsen is not in a great position to deliver. For one, Nielsen works in a survey-based, time-delayed environment that takes a very high level demographic and geographic approach to its television measurements. Not only is data aggregated across clients, but the latency of panel data intrinsic to Nielsen’s methodologies will become increasingly problematic in today’s fast-changing world of data.
For online measurement, one can only assume that Nielsen will attempt to apply some generic profile or sample-based data on streaming ads, display, or video to determine reach and frequency, and marry that with time-delayed TV data. This approach will not be dynamic and can only increase in complexity with exponential data growth and behavior changes over time. We believe this attempt to combine online and offline will quickly come under scrutiny as one set of inconsistent data will be added to more inconsistent data, making it extremely challenging, if not impossible, for Nielsen to derive any accurate, useful, or actionable data for clients in the near future.
More importantly, Nielsen provides virtually no way to measure creative or its deterioration over time in real-time (or even for testing purposes). Typically, 50% of the performance comes from planning and strategy, and the other 50% from the power of the creative mix; without creative measurement, there will be large data gaps and open questions will remain in this area.
Furthermore, Nielsen does not assist in development of the complete TV strategy, let alone the complete marketing strategy. They do not consider optimal penetration and budgeting, nor do they apply any optimizations; their ratings alone cannot increase and maximize leads, conversions, revenues and profits for clients or agencies.
Nielsen’s data may provide some decent results, but they’re sub-optimal at best. We believe the ideal solution lies in real-time, client-specific performance assessments that leverage multiple user touchpoints and engagements leading up to sales, on- and offline, across multiple devices. Stay tuned.categories: