Nielsen launched a new service that aims to give clients the ability to forecast where they might find particular segments of consumers, a tactic known in the industry as “audience buying” and one that has gained new traction with the growing availability of data about consumer patterns and habits.
Nielsen said its “Advanced Audience Forecasting” product will give advertisers and media companies the ability to “accurately and more directly forecast inventory for a precise target across all nationally measured television networks.” The audience segments can be defined by any set of unique attributes based on in-store and credit card transactions, psychographics and loyalty card data. An advertiser might use the service to find swaths of consumers who shop at a particular category of store, for example, own a pet or buy laundry detergent.
The deal speaks to the widening popularity of the technique, in which advertisers use various streams of data to identify the consumers most likely to want or need the product or service they are selling. Armed with information about attributes and behavior that goes beyond the traditional age and gender definitions by which TV is often measured, “audience buying” is forcing some change in the media industry. And Nielsen, which has for decades served as the third-party arbiter of how many men and women between the ages of 18 and 49 watched a particular TV program, is working to ramp up the new audience yardstick.
This new tool is built through a collaboration between Nielsen and clypd, and will surface more than 80 pre-defined audience segments across key advertising categories. The two parties originally struck a deal in September of last year.
Nielsen said the product would be available to media buyers and sellers heading into the industry’s annual “upfront” sales season. The company said it would provide measurement for these new consumer segments throughout the 2018 television season, “bringing the same level of confidence to this new form of buying as advertisers have had in the currency ratings for decades.”
“The way marketers and media companies use data to plan, target, transact and measure advertising is evolving. In today’s world of growing content options across devices and platforms, reaching the consumers that matter most—be it first-time car buyers or home improvement enthusiasts—is critical for both TV networks and advertisers,” said Kelly Abcarian, senior vice president of product leadership at Nielsen. “To keep up with the changing landscape, advanced tools — like this solution — are now required to accurately forecast TV audiences beyond age and gender.”
Other industry players have trod upon this path. Viacom, 21st Century Fox and Time Warner’s Turner last year unveiled an offering known as “Open A.P.” that allows advertisers to use the same consumer-segment definitions across properties owned by all three companies. Nielsen and Interpublic Group’s IPG Mediabrands last month struck a pact that called for the use of Nielsen data by Interpublic’s media-buying agencies to help advertisers find the audiences most likely to be receptive to particular commercials.
One media company said it was committed to using Nielsen’s new product. “Discovery is committed to providing clients with complete transparency so it’s imperative that we have access to reliable tools that not only guarantee on advanced audiences, but provide full visibility. With Nielsen’s new solution we will accomplish that in a more timely manner which is critical in today’s competitive marketplace,” said Keith Kazerman, group senior vice president of client solutions at Discovery Communications, in a statement.