Nielsen, Google Team Up to Track TV Ads

Nielsen is teaming up with Web giant Google to track ad viewing. The alliance between the TV-ratings company and the Web’s top search engine is the latest development in media’s ongoing -- and particularly challenging -- effort to measure exactly how many people are watching, clicking on or bypassing media messages.

The two companies struck a multiyear deal that will include Nielsen delivering audience-demographic data for the Google TV Ads platform, which collects set-top-box data that allow advertisers to measure the reach of their ads.

The goal is to provide advertisers with comprehensive information that will allow them to measure the effectiveness of their ad and make near-real-time changes. Information about specific ads will be available through the Google AdWords report center 24 hours after they air.

The Google TV Ads online ad-delivery system includes advertising inventory across hundreds of channels. Together with Nielsen’s demo and set-top data, Google will be able to track second-by-second consumption so that advertisers can pinpoint actual set-top box impressions.

Google TV Ads, which launched in May, is a system for buying, selling, measuring and delivering television ads. Google currently has a deal with EchoStar Communications’ Dish Network in which Google has access to a portion of the pay TV provider’s advertising inventory spanning more than 100 channels and dayparts.

Nielsen has been working to deliver more detailed demographic information, including partnering with cable companies to accumulate set-top data for its Nielsen DigitalPlus service. Nielsen is meeting more competition on the measurement front from companies such as Rentrak, which is providing multiplatform audience-measurement data.

Google and Nielsen will explore opportunities to measure online and other media, but the two companies did not provide details on these initiatives.

"As we continue to expand our TV-advertising program, it is important that we provide advertisers and agencies with data that will help them to reach their target demographic with the right ad," Google CEO Eric Schmidt said in a statement. "Working closely with Nielsen, the industry leader, improves our measurement capabilities by adding a demographic layer on top of existing set-top-box data."