Having “grown up” in my career managing traditional (TV, radio, print, and out-of-home advertising) and digital media, I’ve come to realize that the language between the two channels is often as dissimilar as French and English. While some of the vocabulary is the same, there’s often a huge divide between the two that causes confusion among marketers and advertisers. This is especially true when discussing how offline and digital media delivery is measured.
Historically, the currency by which TV has been measured has been based on gross rating points (GRPs). When we speak of measurement in digital media, we typically highlight key performance indicators (KPIs) such as impressions, clicks, click-through rates (CTR), site visits, banner engagement, video views, and conversions/actions taken. Clearly, traditional and digital media are measured by entirely different methods.
However, over the last few weeks I’ve been hearing more and more about the Nielsen Online Campaign Rating solution. Essentially, Nielsen’s new solution attempts to create common ground between offline and online media measurement by bringing reach, frequency and GRPs to the digital context.
While I applaud Nielsen’s attempt at creating a solution that provides more synergy between offline and online channels, in many ways they are still comparing apples to oranges. The majority of online advertising still consists of basic static or flash ads, so to compare 100 GRPs of a banner ad is definitely not the same as 100 GRPs of TV spots that include sight, motion, and sound. For example, let’s take one of my all-time favorite TV ads, the Volkswagen Darth Vader spot, and compare it to a banner. From a brand perspective, the TV spot is much more compelling than the banner ad.
While a GRP rating system may be appropriate for brand awareness campaigns, this system neglects KPIs that are more pertinent for direct response campaigns such as site engagement or conversions. Taking the VW banner above, we can see that it has the key action “Find a Dealer”. Let’s assume that this banner was either behaviorally targeted to in-market auto shoppers or placed within contextually relevant auto content. My assumption would be that Volkswagen is probably less concerned about the reach and frequency, and more interested in measuring actions taken with the banner or on the website.
So where do I see the value of the Nielsen Online Ratings? In the chart below, we can see that of all the digital formats, eMarketer projects that Video advertising will have the greatest increase in growth. As brands look to leverage their TV assets or other branded video in the online space, Nielsen’s Online Ratings could become pivotal as a catalyst for brands considering shifting dollars away from TV schedules to having a stronger presence via online channels. As Nielsen’s President of Media Products and Advertiser Solutions Steve Hasker put it, “Nielsen Online Campaign Ratings will drive increased confidence in the web as a brand medium, and studies to date highlight significant opportunity for leading marketers to optimize their TV and online spending together.”
Please check out my full article, Nielsen Online Campaign Ratings Review, on Rosetta.com, and I welcome your questions or comments below. Also you can join me virtually at the American Marketing Association (AMA) and Quancast webcast on April 27th, “The Real-Time Revolution is Coming to Display Advertising. Get Ahead of the Curve!”