Facebook Connects with Nielson

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In a world that is slowly being taken over by DVR, the Nielson Company have found new ways to use their very select skills. Known for being the group who work on gathering television ratings, Nielson are branching out and teaming with social networking giant Facebook to offer a ratings service for their ad campaigns.

This new project will emphasize "gross ratings points," which muliply the reach of an ad by the frequency that the audience sees it. This new system will replace traditional online metrics that have been somewhat unreliable in the past, such as clickthrough rates or impressions, and will allow marketers to buy ads for Facebook in the same way they would buy ads for print, television, and other online sources.

Nielson's Online Campaign Ratings system was first announced last September and is now planning on beginning the service on August 15.

Though Facebook is probably a solid (and obvious) choice for a first data provider for the service, Nielson made sure to say that Online Campaign Ratings is not specific to a single site.

Currently, Facebook is set to take the number one spot in US display advertising revenues according to eMarketer.

Just a month ago, the social networking website began working with digital business analytics company comScore on a similar measurement system to track the reach and frequency of their display advertisements. That system also measures the efficiency of Facebook activity through gross ratings points.

Facebook is also developing Insights, yet another marketing tool that measures traffic and activity through gross ratings points.

These big changes in Facebook's advertising schemes could alter the way in which companies promote themselves on the site. At the very least, it could change the way they pay to do it.

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KEY (eric) 08-05-2011 7:47 AM

while this (initially) sounds interesting? I have never been impressed with Nielsen in the past. they are the 'go to' for deciding a television show/program's reach and viewer audience. I have seen many great shows canceled, and conversely poor and uninteresting shows kept on the air based on Nielsen's supposedly accurate data.

the phrase in this post "will emphasize "gross ratings points," which muliply the reach of an ad by the frequency that the audience sees it...replace...click-through rates". click-through, while not perfect, at least shows that an ad was seen and that an action (click) resulted. true that further data on whether a sale resulted would still be needed, BUT going to a system that based solely on impressions ("frequency that the audience sees it") to rate the success of a campaign makes little sense to me. will there be any attempt by Nielsen to factor in the number of times those impressions generate a click to the next step of the sales process???

MichaelG 08-05-2011 8:57 AM


Good question! If you've been unimpressed with Nielson's work in the past (and after Arrested Development was cancelled, how could you not be?), don't expect the use of these gross ratings points to win you over.

It's almost exactly the same system, just reformatted for online advertising.

A gross point rating is a term that means the measurement of "the size of an audience reached by a specific media vehicle or schedule." This means that it is the product of the percentage of the target audience that is actually reached by an advertisement and then multiplied by the frequency that they are exposed to it during a campaign.

Advertisers like to know what they are because it is a (very) rough measurement of how an advertiser approached their target audience and how well they spent their budget. Their goal is to acquire as many GRPs for as little money as they can.

But, in the end, they don't actually provide any analysis of how well-received their campaign was. Like clickthrough rates, marketers will never actually know how many of their points are legitimate, meaning that they are actually a result of relevant, interested consumers responding to an advertisement. It also doesn't tell anyone that people actually saw or experienced an ad. I mean, how many times do you get up for a drink during a commercial?

So, the short answer to your question is 'no,' these GRPs won't really tell anyone anything more than clickthrough rates or other Internet metrics as far as sales go, they just provide a simpler means of charging for ads.

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