AOL Adopts Nielsen GRP for Video Ads

AOL will use Nielsen’s Online Campaign Ratings product to guarantee audiences for digital video campaigns running across its properties. The announcement comes ahead of AOL’s participation in the Digital Content NewFronts, held this week and next in New York.

Charles Gabriel, VP of sales for AOL Video, told ClickZ, “TV buyers are now starting to look at the biggest outlets, like us, as channels – just as they would look at a channel on TV. Some agencies will make the move to where television buyers buy all video no matter what screen it’s viewed on. Others will have separate buyers for broadcast and digital. But we need a common currency across both.”

AOL will use Nielsen’s Online Campaign Ratings product to determine reach, frequency and gross rating point (GRP) measurements to determine how well it delivered ads to the desired target audience within its online video inventory. The services is part of the Nielsen Campaign Ratings suite that also includes tools for cross-platform campaign ratings.

Video ad networks TubeMogul and Tremor Video’s VideoHub have also recently made the Nielsen measurement service to their advertisers. Still, online GRPs remain somewhat controversial, in part because there is no universal standard the way there is for TV GRPs.

While digital media companies have always touted their measurability, Gabriel said that, especially with regard to video demographic and audience targeting, there were lots of different tools but no true verification or validation.

“Most agencies buying significant television advertising are looking for a common currency and thread throughout all screens. Nielsen is the de facto standard for television. Because they are the standard, it makes sense that, as these markets come closer together, they would cross all screens with the way they measure their audience,” Gabriel said.

AOL’s audience guarantee means that advertisers will only pay for the percentage of its target audience that was actually hit. Nielsen will validate and verify that percentage. This guarantee comes at a premium cost that is still to be determined, according to Gabriel, but it will likely range from 20 to 50 percent, depending on the size of the segment. Smaller audience segments would carry a higher premium because they’re harder to reach.

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