Audience Targeting In Video Takes Off: Rocket Fuel Unveils Guaranteed Model Featuring Nielsen, comScore Ratings

Rocket Fuel on Monday announced the launch of Audience Guarantee, a new way for marketers to buy video ads based on Nielsen Online Campaign Ratings (OCR) and comScore validated Campaign Essentials (vCE).

Advertisers could already use Rocket Fuel to verify video ads against Nielsen OCR and comScore vCE, but Audience Guarantee further automates the process of using the ratings to target audiences.

According to Eric Porres, the company’s chief marketing officer, Nielsen and comScore data is now “incorporated into Rocket Fuel’s optimization models daily.” In other words, any updates to comScore or Nielsen data -- i.e., a new consumer survey report -- will be automatically applied to the company’s targeting algorithms.

Denny’s is named as a brand that has used the Audience Guarantee platform. Citing comScore vCE Q2 2014 Benchmarks, Rocket Fuel notes that video advertising targeted toward males 25-54 reached the intended demographic just 41% of the time. Denny’s claims it was able to boost that number to about 66% -- 60% above average -- through Audience Guarantee during a recent campaign.

This is where the “Guarantee” part becomes important. Porres explained that “only impressions delivered in target as validated by Nielsen or comScore will be billed to the customer.”

That means that for the Denny’s campaign, Rocket Fuel ate 34% of the cost. That leaves plenty of room for improvement, but it’s significantly better than eating 59% of the cost.

“We only get paid for media that’s on target, and so we eat the cost of media that’s not on target. One advertiser may have multiple targets, too,” said Porres.

“What this does is shift the onus and risk for hitting the right audience from the advertiser to the media provider, which is why it’s attractive and why we’re willing to place a bet on its success,” Porres continued.

He said advertisers can buy audiences validated by Nielsen or comScore on a CPM or CPP (cost per point) basis, with the latter being based on each advertiser’s "target rating point" requirements.

This announcement by Rocket Fuel continues the recent ad tech trend of keeping players accountable in a bid to improve quality and attract more brand spend. The move also furthers the ad industry’s shift toward audience-buying and automation.

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