How Nielsen’s Total Audience Measurement Will Give Ad Buyers a Programmatic Boost

Multiplatform data should optimize media plans

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Nielsen's upcoming total audience measurement tool—which the company shared exclusively with Adweek on Tuesday—will finally show networks and advertisers how their content is viewed across all platforms. But as the company works with top industry execs to evolve video measurement, Nielsen says its new data will also help buyers optimize their media plans.

Once buyers are comfortable with total audience measurement, which Nielsen will start to roll out in December, they will be able to use that data to inform their ad buys. "That data needs to come to life in a programmatic platform," said Megan Clarken, evp, global watch product leadership. In March, Nielsen acquired data management platform Exelate to help with programmatic buying.

"We're able to bring all our data assets together in one place and create a respondent-level database," said Clarken. Advertisers can carve out segments for audience buying, which Exelate will pull together and then make real-time programmatic buys.

For more traditional buying plans, Nielsen partnered with Pointlogic to create Nielsen Media Impact, an updated version of Nielsen's agency planning system used by 15,000 agency planners worldwide. Total audience ratings will be sent directly into agency planning systems through the Nielsen Media Impact planning tool, which is currently being tested by several global agencies to simulate plans and campaigns. "It pulls in all of the currency data across platforms," said Kelly Abcarian, svp, product leadership.

Agencies can select from more than 100 characteristics in Nielsen's TV panel, which is expanding in January from 20,000 to 40,000 households. This will allow planners to create audience target segments and pick GRPs (gross ratings points) by timeframe. Nielsen Media Impact will marry those segments with Nielsen's total audience data, allowing it to create and simulate a plan across all platforms, including broadcast, cable, streaming, Internet, mobile and print.

"It allows you to make share-shifted changes to make a schedule around what you want to buy" and run comparison reports to see how the two plans look side by side, said Abcarian. "You can then export this entire plan and load it straight into buying and programmatic systems."

Nielsen's new software shows "how our total audience data comes to life when someone is trying to buy," said David Wong, svp, product leadership. "Imagine trying to serve Unilever or P&G, and they say, 'Here's $50 million to buy.' What are you going to do with it? In the old days, you'd just say, 'I'll throw some stuff on ABC and NBC. I'm never going to get fired for buying on broadcast TV.' Now you have to make all these decisions—it's so difficult."

@jasonlynch Jason Lynch is TV Editor at Adweek, overseeing trends, technology, personalities and programming across broadcast, cable and streaming video.