Nielsen has obtained accreditation from the Media Rating Council for its Online Campaign Ratings system, which uses Facebook data to determine audience ages and gender. The accreditation provides a third-party seal of approval for the system, which aims to help advertisers measure online ad audiences the same way they measure TV ads – using Gross Rating Points, and reach and frequency.
The new audience measurement system, unveiled last month, employs Facebook data to determine the age and gender of up to 50 percent of the people seeing web ads, according to a Nielsen representative who spoke with ClickZ News in August.
The MRC certification is valuable in that it legitimizes the new set of metrics. The MRC acts as a liaison between companies like Nielsen which undergo audits and the CPA firms that perform them. Once the audits are complete, MRC members evaluate the methodologies to determine whether or not to accredit them.
The Nielsen system aggregates users into demos as well as age and gender segments, reflected in campaign reports. The Online Campaign Ratings system also uses data from a hybrid TV and online panel. The company said it can apply to campaigns of any size, and reports are available the day after a campaign launches.
“Nielsen Online Campaign Ratings provides the trusted metrics needed to prove the true value of advertising on a site, in terms that are familiar to brand marketers and comparable to other media,” said Steve Hasker, president, media product and advertiser solutions at Nielsen, in a press release.
The certification could help sell the new metric in the eyes of media buyers who think in traditional media terms and sometimes question the ability for online advertising to match the power of television ads. However, the notion of applying GRPs to online advertising has been a controversial one for many years, spurring debate not only over how to do it, but over whether to do it at all.