Why we’re fans of Nielsen OCR (Column)

A six-month report card on Nielsen’s GRP offering in Canada Grant Le Riche is managing director of TubeMogul Canada Everyone in digital advertising agrees that better audience metrics are a major priority and video is especially important, as the line between it and TV continues to blur. On that note, 2014 promises to be an […]

A six-month report card on Nielsen’s GRP offering in Canada

Grant Le Riche is managing director of TubeMogul Canada

Everyone in digital advertising agrees that better audience metrics are a major priority and video is especially important, as the line between it and TV continues to blur. On that note, 2014 promises to be an exciting year for Nielsen.

Nielsen Online Campaign Ratings launched commercially in Canada last June to provide brands and advertisers a way to more effectively measure their digital video advertising. Specifically, it can be used to measure whether advertisers are reaching their key demographic using TV-esque metrics (think digital Gross Rating Points, or GRPs).

Google gave it a major endorsement when it opted to allow Nielsen OCR technology to be deployed across their network, including their online video properties (notably YouTube). Nielsen OCR has already been adopted by major agencies including Carat Canada, Casale MediaNet, TubeMogul, Mindshare Canada, and other major Canadian agencies.

Will Nielsen become the de-facto standard? Ultimately, one thing is certain: as the line between digital and TV continues to blur, the type of accountability and transparency that GRP-based reporting provides is indispensable.

Google has also announced a deal with comScore to measure the impact of ad campaigns in real time. The plan is to start on desktop display and video ads in the U.S., but there are plans to extend the metrics later to mobile and multiple platforms as well, all using comScore’s vCE system, for validated Campaign Essentials.

“More actionable, open and transparent measurement will help bring more great campaigns and brands online, which in turn helps to fund web services and content,” said Neal Mohan, Google’s vice-president of display advertising, in a blog post last month.

Historically, most of digital video’s analytics and reporting focused on more traditional metrics like clickthrough rates and completion rates. Although these reveal interesting insights into how users interact with a video ad, they provide very little transparency about who actually saw the video ad – I think Nielsen OCR solves this.

More importantly, Nielsen OCR has revealed inefficiencies reaching the right audience online. More often than not, advertisers weren’t achieving their desired share of voice among their preferred age and gender – in fact, they weren’t even coming close. This revelation created a digital arms race to develop solutions for advertisers and brands to hone in on their audience, and the results have been remarkable.

After advertisers scrambled to adapt following the advent of Nielsen OCR, TubeMogul released BrandPoint, which lets advertisers plan and accurately buy digital video ads based on cost per GRP. Invariably, we find that the best solutions include some form of audience modeling technology with OCR reporting to leverage real-time insight to manually improve audience on-target percentage (OTP) through optimization. Complex machine learning algorithms can also organically improve audience OTP as the campaign progresses, marrying insight and action.

The combination of reach and frequency is perfect for measuring brand awareness, which is associated much more with video than it is with direct-response-oriented display and banner advertising. In addition, the similarity between online video and TV ads facilitates a true apples-to-apples comparison across channels.

Viewers increasingly do not distinguish the medium on which they consume video – this makes marketers’ jobs tough because, until now, the way digital video is bought and sold is different than the way TV is purchased. TV remains a stalwart because advertisers know that if they hit a certain number of GRPs, they can expect a certain ROI. Thanks to the similarity between online video and TV, OCR and technologies built on top of it are allowing brands to effectively attribute changes in ROI, and better understand how their marketing budget was spent.

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