By Daniel Hunter

Advertisers and agencies can now discover the best media mix for their TV-plus-online ad campaigns as Nielsen today announces a major step forward for multi-platform advertising measurement in the UK, with the launch of Nielsen Cross-Platform Campaign Ratings.

The system helps brands maximise the effectiveness of their cross-platform ad budgets and represents the latest addition to the ‘Reach-Resonance-Reaction’ advertising effectiveness portfolio from Nielsen, a global information and measurement company.

Nielsen Cross-Platform Campaign Ratings takes the commercial exposures from an advertiser's TV ads and its online ads, and reports on the combined audience for the campaign. This shows advertisers, agencies and publishers just how many people, by age and gender, are seeing their ad across TV and online - both combined, or exclusively across either platform. Double-counting is removed.

This is important because, by showing the relative cost effectiveness of the separate TV and online parts of the campaign, the system now makes clear to brands what the best media mix of online and TV is - whether the goal is optimal efficiency or maximum incremental cover.

The system works in the UK by combining Nielsen Online Campaign Ratings™, launched in October 2012, with TV data from BARB. Results are delivered in terms of reach, frequency, GRPs (Gross Rating Points), unique audience and impressions - all at a ‘by day’ level, during the campaign.

Nielsen UK managing director for digital, James Oates: “Consumers are increasingly living platform-agnostic lives, and all of us in advertising need to adapt to this. Creating a way to reach, measure and monetise inventory across screens and platforms advances the industry towards a high-calibre, seamless standard — one that will provide new opportunities for advertisers, agencies and publishers, crucially allowing a mutual exchange of value between buyer and seller.

“Nielsen Cross-Platform Campaign Ratings helps all players understand the impact of their campaigns, wherever they run — across platforms and markets around the world. It’s an exciting step forward.”

Leading to today’s UK launch, Nielsen conducted beta tests of Cross-Platform Campaign Ratings over the summer with a selection of leading brands, agencies, publishers and ad networks. One of the measured test campaigns was for Rank Group’s Mecca Bingo. Display media manager Ingrid Holliday explains: "We often run multi-platform ad campaigns. It’s therefore critical that we understand not just the level of combined TV-and-online exposure, but also the incremental reach delivered by online. Nielsen's Cross-Platform Campaign Ratings service is providing the answers to our multi-channel planning questions.”

Similarly, publisher-broadcaster BSkyB tested the system. Research and insight controller Rebecca Rangeley says: “Since we offer our customers flexible access to our content across multiple platforms, any service that measures platforms in a consistent, transparent way has our support. Getting a joined-up view of how and where our customers watch our content is an important goal for us, and Nielsen Cross-Platform Campaign ratings is an innovative step in the right direction towards allowing us to investigate the combined power of our TV and online platforms.”

Early findings show wide variance in ‘incremental reach’
Early results from the various-sized test campaigns with 10 different brands show that there’s a variance in ‘incremental reach’ (the additional people who see a campaign online who would not have seen it on TV) of between 0.4% and 14.1% when looking at an advertiser’s specified audience for its campaign, with the average being 4.1%.

The UK beta tests also show that incremental reach is affected by the age and gender of the desired audience for the campaign (see chart). For campaigns aimed at young men, adding online placements to a TV schedule tends to generate significantly higher incremental reach than for campaigns aimed at young women.

Other early findings show that the bigger the size of a TV campaign, the lower the levels of incremental reach online. And people who see a campaign’s ads both online and on TV don’t necessarily see them more frequently than those who only see them on just one platform.

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