Nielsen Launches Multi-Touch Attribution Offering

Nielsen on Wednesday announced it has partnered with Krux, a data management platform (DMP), to offer multi-touch attribution measurement to its clients. The offering will allow marketers to measure campaigns across screens, including mobile, set-top boxes, and OTT devices.

The move adds a new multi-touch attribution offering -- courtesy of Nielsen -- to the playing field.

After last summer saw some of the largest independent attribution firms get scooped up by AOL and Google, Avi Spivack, director of product marketing at Adroit Digital, expressed concern to Real-Time Daily that ad tech consolidation may be happening at the expense of neutral media measurement offerings.

Nielsen’s official foray into multi-touch attribution may help alleviate some of those concerns.

Real-Time Daily caught up with Spivack following Nielsen’s latest announcement. He said he thinks the move “is another important step in the right direction,” and that “Nielsen evolving to include a true multi-touch attribution solution is absolutely the right path. Marketers know that it’s critical to understanding the impact of advertising and a way to better allocate dollars to the right channels and strategies.



“Maintaining the neutrality of measurement partners is key, and Nielsen remains one such business as they don’t own a media-buying or selling entity,” Spivack continued. “That said, consolidating acquisitions will continue because the ‘big guys’ must offer the fullest marketing stack possible, and that will need to include attribution tools.”

Among those “big guys” is AOL, which acquired Convertro (another attribution company) last summer and has integrated Convertro’s technology into its own tech stack. AOL asserts that Convertro remains an neutral media measurement company; it was the only brand name not to be consumed by AOL’s launch of its new “One” programmatic ad platform.

When reached for comment regarding the Nielsen-Krux partnership, an AOL spokesperson reaffirmed the company’s belief in the importance of multi-touch attribution -- a sentiment that Nielsen obviously shares.

“AOL invested in multi-touch attribution … because advertisers want to not just better understand how their last dollar impacted their business, but also where their next dollar is best spent -- from Web to TV, across all formats and inventory types,” the AOL spokesperson said.

Perhaps the most curious part of Nielsen’s multi-touch attribution offering launch is the fact that it partnered with Krux -- an independent DMP -- rather than eXelate, the DMP that Nielsen recently acquired.

“Nielsen’s strategy is to empower any DMP with Nielsen data and ROI analytics, including multi-touch attribution,” said Scott McKinley, EVP and GM of product leadership at Nielsen. “Krux already manages first-party data for many Nielsen clients in order to support activation. It was a natural decision to combine our multi-touch attribution measurement suite with Krux’s first-party DMP to provide those clients with a closed-loop enterprise marketing platform.”

That’s not to say that eXelate won’t play a role in Nielsen’s new offering. McKinley added that eXelate and Krux “complement each other extremely well, particularly for multi-touch attribution.” In short, eXelate specializes in building audience attributes, which can then be applied to consumer profiles stored in Krux, McKinley explained.

From its eXelate acquisition to the launch of a multi-touch attribution offering, Nielsen is now doing more than just dipping its toes into programmatic advertising. And while McKinley asserts that programmatic “is not a new frontier for Nielsen,” the recent moves the company has made bring it much closer to the action.

“Now, through the [eXelate] acquisition, we can bring real-time audience segmentation to the world of programmatic advertising,” said McKinley. “The integration of multi-touch attribution and activation strengthens that value proposition.”

However, Nielsen is not the only long-standing media measurement company to be sliding into the programmatic arena. “I’m curious to see what comScore will do,” remarked Spivack to Real-Time Daily.

If comScore’s own recent moves are any indication -- from buying Proximic to launching its own “Industry Trust” initiative revolving around pre-bid data packages -- it can be surmised that comScore wants to focus, at least at first, on what happens before the bid in the programmatic marketplace.

3 comments about "Nielsen Launches Multi-Touch Attribution Offering".
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  1. Seth Ulinski from, May 6, 2015 at 4:52 p.m.

    While Krux and eXelate are both DMPs, they have different capabilities and use cases; the move further highlights need for open platforms and data agnosticism.

  2. Nicholas Schiavone from Nicholas P. Schiavone, LLC, May 7, 2015 at 7:44 a.m.

    It would be good to get a valid, stable and useful TV measurement in 2015 that includes all video screens.

    The more Nielsen promises the less certain I become that good data and good systems at a fair price are part of Nielsen's Customer Product & Service Plan.

    The decade is half over and this type of analysis is long overdue, except the component parts seem unready and not quite right.

    Time will tell.  It always does.

    Onwards & Upwards!

  3. Ed Papazian from Media Dynamics Inc, May 7, 2015 at 8:44 a.m.

    From what I can tell from the Krux website, the systems that Nielsen is talking about are mainly attribution techniques which allow the melding of findings from separate sources into a single data base. So we're not talking about a measurement across platforms, using a common methodology, sample base or audience definition, but a statistical "simulation" facility to meld the information from various measurements together,without referrence to their validity.

    This does not mean the concept is bad or that the Nielsen-Krux tie in wont be useful, but the real issue remains----how do we get valid and comparable measurements per screen? Once we figure that out---especially where the "audience " to ads is concerned--- we can move on to cross screen measurements and  employ attribution so third party marketing data can be factored in.

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