The more things change, the more they stay the same. Nielsen, the ratings firm that has long acted as the arbiter of audience metrics for TV advertisers, has seen demand for its services for online reporting rise among brands and agencies.
Google has balked at allowing Nielsen’s online campaign reporting tags to be placed on its sites, which include leading online video site YouTube. Advertisers looking to buy on audience guarantees through OCR have walked away from YouTube deals.
Now, Google is changing its tune as it steps up efforts to court brand advertisers. The company is testing OCR deals with a select number of advertisers.
“While we continue to build measurement options powered by Google, we’re also partnering with industry leaders, such as Nielsen and comScore, to offer objective, credentialed, third-party measurement options,” said a Google spokesperson in a statement to AdWeek. “Nielsen’s OCR recently joined VCE as a certified measurement provider, and we’re working with both on roll-out plans after we do early testing.”
“Following a brief testing period,” a Nielsen spokesperson told the Wall Street Journal, it expects the “measurement tags to be accepted across all Google properties, including YouTube” by early next year. Google is also testing comScore’s Validated Campaign Essentials (VCE).
Facebook has partnered with Nielsen for several years now in order to provide performance data to advertisers, and Facebook is a leading provider of user data for Nielsen’s OCR to give advertisers the types of audience data brands receive from Nielsen for their TV advertising such as reach, awareness, frequency and demographics.
There is speculation that Facebook’s role in OCR was among the reasons Google had opted out for so long. Twitter began working with Nielsen in 2012 to create the “Nielsen Twitter TV Rating,” designed to complement Nielsen’s TV ratings in measuring “second screen” viewership.
Google’s own measurement options could supplant Nielsen (and comScore), but for now the ratings agency appears to be fully ensconced as the interpreter of online metrics into the traditional measurement language that brands and their agencies speak.