Google Gives Nielsen a Cross-Platform Boost

Nielsen has reached an agreement with Google that will upgrade its measurement of cross-platform advertising campaigns.

Nielsen’s Total Ad Ratings product will begin reporting fast-growing over-the-top audiences and expand the measurement of mobile audiences, including for the first time YouTube’s huge mobile audience.

As more consumers watch content on digital devices, programmers, advertisers and media buyers have been looking to measurement companies to count all viewers and find ways to compare the size and effectiveness of TV and digital campaigns.

Related: Virtual MVPD Share of TV Homes Doubles: Nielsen

Google has been using its own measurement to sell YouTube—and has been looking for ways to get into the TV advertising business by promising better data and analytics. But advertisers, comfortable with traditional metrics, have resisted many of Google’s initiatives even as ad spending on YouTube has mushroomed.

Nielsen said Total Ad Ratings uniquely provides person-based ad measurement across platforms that provides insights into de-duplicated audiences on TV, computers, tablets and smartphones. With the new technical agreement between Nielsen and Google, viewers watching YouTube on mobile devices are included.

Financial terms of the deal were not disclosed.

Related: A+E Joins Nielsen Test of Linear Dynamic Ad Insertion

“Providing currency caliber cross-platform audience measurement is core to our mission, and we’re excited to enhance our Total Ad Ratings product to do just that,” said Amanda Tarpey, senior VP of product leadership, digital at Nielsen. “Whether consumers are streaming from their TV or their smartphones, Nielsen will be able to reflect their ad viewership and incrementality as part of its audience reporting—a major step that will benefit the industry from publishers and platforms to advertisers and agencies.”

Advertisers have been pushing the big digital players including YouTube to allow measurement that shows the unduplicated reach of campaigns that include YouTube. A deal was in the works since the middle of last year and the ratings began to be delivered to clients in December.

Nielsen has measured YouTube in its Digital Ad Ratings before, but those numbers didn’t show advertisers when the viewership of their TV and other digital buys overlapped with YouTube.

The deal with Nielsen comes at a time when TV companies are demanding that all viewers on all platforms get counted so they can be monetized and advertisers want better cross platform metrics. 

Nielsen in particular is under pressure from its shareholders and is conducting a strategic review to determine whether the company or parts of it should be sold.

The company is also in a dispute with one of its biggest clients, CBS. CBS’s contract expired at the end of the year and CBS last week released a statement that said Nielsen's progress towards providing accurate measurement across platforms has been too slow and it uses its market dominance to raise prices.

Jon has been business editor of Broadcasting+Cable since 2010. He focuses on revenue-generating activities, including advertising and distribution, as well as executive intrigue and merger and acquisition activity. Just about any story is fair game, if a dollar sign can make its way into the article. Before B+C, Jon covered the industry for TVWeek, Cable World, Electronic Media, Advertising Age and The New York Post. A native New Yorker, Jon is hiding in plain sight in the suburbs of Chicago.