Until recently, the concept and framework of the GRP or Gross Rating Point has been relegated to television. But Nielsen, the longtime standard for measuring TV ratings and ad performance, is trying to change that.
The company's Online Campaign Ratings program, a year-long effort to bring more accurate metrics and accountability to online advertising, has signed on 14 additional ad platforms as it aims to turn the initiative into an evolving standard. With AOL already on board, Nielsen's API for the Online Campaign Ratings program is now being used by 15 ad firms ranging from video ad platforms to marketing firms. OCR works across display and video advertising (not search), but it borrows much of its framework from the television industry.
Under Nielsen's new approach, "advertisers and agencies can get what audiences they want to reach with a campaign, and what frequency they want to track with a campaign," said Amit Seth, EVP of global media products for Nielsen.
Third parties are implementing the automated system in their platform to ascertain how much any given ad resonated with an audience. The full range of new partners includes Adap.tv, AudienceScience, DataXu, FreeWheel, Innovid, Jivox Corp., LiveRail, SET, TubeMogul, Turn, VideoHub, Videology, VINDICO and ZEDO. More than 70 advertisers and at least 20 agencies have already adopted OCR.
Nielsen is able to measure at the granular viewing level because of the rich data it receives in aggregate from data providers like Facebook, said Seth. "There are no standards on the Internet side," he said. "It has been a struggle" for advertisers that want to know how many people they are reaching, but only receive CTR numbers from publishers in return.
Seth insisted Nielsen isn't displacing anything. Rather, Nielsen's goal is to "help the industry move towards more unified mechanisms of advertising" across platforms. Nielsen wants to give advertisers the ability to measure advertising across their entire spend with one set of metrics, he added.
A big part of that, and another feature heavily borrowed from the TV industry, is the concept of the "make good." This is when media companies provide inventory to advertisers to make good on an underperforming ad campaign. Seth said that large customers like media agency GroupM are now approaching Nielsen with renewed interest to pursue make goods on TV and online, fulfilling their obligations to their customers across multiple channels in one fell swoop.
"The concept of make good and that coming about was a great surprise," he said. To engrain OCR into "this machine that sits between these two end parties," Nielsen also needs to help advertisers better plan for their online campaigns, Seth added. After a campaign is in flight, Nielsen will provide new data every 24 hours so that marketers can turn course and make changes if a campaign is found to be underperforming.
"We are well on course to making this a standard," Seth said.
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Matt Kapko has been writing about mobile since 2006, before it became cool. Based in Long Beach, CA, he has covered mobile entertainment, digital media, marketing, and advertising for several business media outlets. A former editor and reporter for RCR Wireless News, paidContent, and iMedia Connection, Matt is a regular freelance reporter for ClickZ. You can follow Matt on Twitter at @MattKapko or drop him a line at firstname.lastname@example.org.