Commentary

Nielsen's New Stats Show that If You Want to Reach 18-49s, Online Can Be Mighty Powerful

In a week Nielsen has made a lot of news, one released study is interesting just because it more or less points out what we suspected.

Aim an online campaign at 18-49 consumers and you’ll hit most of them. Nielsen says that a competent campaign aimed at that group will hit 76% of them.  

Those folks make up just over half of the total online audience, so reaching three-quarters of half the consumers is pretty good--it’s awesome, I guess-- for a medium that, in the big sweep of history, is still pretty new.

Some other Nielsen conclusions seem surprisingly meh.  Nielsen said campaigns geared toward consumers ages 21-34 reach their intended audience 62% of the time. I would have expected a much higher percentage. They represent a little less than a quarter of the online population. But this is a crowd that isn’t reading newspapers or magazines or at the lower end of the group, television either. So 62% seems adequate, but not bulletproof.

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The numbers come from the average on-target percentage from about 5,000 campaigns measured by Nielsen Online Campaign Ratings.

The new survey says ad campaigns focused on reaching consumers ages 35-54, a sweet spot of consumerism if not advertising, reach them 41% percent of the time, and represent about a third of the online population. Again, these are awesome stats, but the whole thing seems to be a little fun with numbers. Add up the under 24s and eliminate the over 49s and online has a pretty overpowering ability to reach consumers with a message to 18-49s. It’s not shocking news, but news that Nielsen is reporting it gives it some more historical heft.

But I tend to believe that when people say, “Everybody’s doing it” that, well, everybody’s doing it. So 76% seems fine among 18-49s seems fine, but I would have not been surprised if that very high number had been even higher. This is a group that has taken the Internet service provider’s old Always On slogan and applied it to their entire body. 

The study was based on the average on-target percentage from nearly 5,000 campaigns measured by Nielsen Online Campaign RatingsTM.

Another recent Nielsen campaign should be mixed in with these new stats. It shows trust levels consumers put on various types of ads. The good news is that, worldwide, advertisers are more trusting of all types of ads than they used to be. (I don’t know if that’s really good news for consumers, but let’s say it is.)

Yet at the low end on the Trustometer are ads placed on almost every type of widely used or seen digital device or service.  Only 37% trust text ads, 42% trust online banner ads, 45% trust mobile display ads and 48% trust online video ads and ads placed on social networks. Some of those are new venues, as it were, so (perhaps) people are still getting used them. But even TV product placement ads (55%) gets above half.  

The big—and I’d say good—news is that 84% trust good old word-of-mouth. These days, since those words are coming out of mouths or going into ears that are invariably close to a computer of some kind, maybe online video advertising and online info generally is a good service as a handy second opinion. When cousin Hank warns you about a new car he says is horrible, you will be a few key strokes a way from discovering for yourself what your dad always told you: His brother is an idiot.

pj@mediapost.com       

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