Four-Year-Old Snapchat Signs Measurement Deal With 93-Year-Old Audience Measurement Firm

OK -- so this is a good thing, but it's sort of twisted and funny too. You've all been experimenting with Snapchat for some time now but you've never really been satisfied with the social media platform's ability to provide you with audience and performance data you need to measure the success of your campaigns. Well, that need for a clearer picture is about to be satiated. Sort of.

Snapchat has signed a deal with Nielsen to provide marketers with digital ad ratings that will allow advertisers to glean just how many people a campaign reaches. In essence, media buyers will be able to determine GRPs making campaigns comparable to those on TV.

Wait, what? Isn't TV dead? Isn't that what everyone has been saying for the past ten years? And we want to measure the latest social media platform's audience with that used to measure a dead medium? Am I being harsh? Perhaps, but it always seems quite comical when new and unique digital platforms arise and after a time the industry continuously falls back on old-school measurement technologies.



Alas, they may be old school, but it isn't easy getting past the desire to actually get a handle on who, exactly, is consuming your ad campaign. After a while likes, pins, shares, re-vines, retweets and other useless social media measurement metrics grow tired and begin to sound like a record-skipping social media guru at the latest social media conference.

Apparently, none of that whiz-bang social media metric stuff matters. It's still all about eyeballs. And eyeballs is Nielsen's game.

Of the need for this sort of audience measurement, DigitasLBi Chief Investment Officer Adam Shlachter said: “Everyone wants more metrics and more insight. One hundred million daily users sounds great, but I need an accredited source to validate that. This is definitely the direction we’ve been asking them to go, to get on par with virtually every other major media platform.”

And so it goes. We all get excited about the latest and greatest shiny new object all the kids are playing with, we all jump on the platform and tell our clients to jump on the platform, and then sometime later, we all utter a collective "Huh?" when someone asks, "How do we know this is working?"

And then we call an audience measurement company that was founded in 1923.

10 comments about "Four-Year-Old Snapchat Signs Measurement Deal With 93-Year-Old Audience Measurement Firm".
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  1. Claudio Marcus from FreeWheel, February 26, 2016 at 9:16 a.m.

    The reason is simply that the number of unique viewers and time spent viewing matter to marketers who care about their likelihood to reach a particular audience. And cross-platform measurement helps to understand to what extent the reach is duplicated or unduplicated.

  2. B Sass from U of C, February 26, 2016 at 11:04 a.m.

    Why did they pick Nielsen not Comscore? 

  3. Patty Ardis from Ardis Media, LLC, February 26, 2016 at 11:38 a.m.

    To B Sass - an audience measurement company that was founded in 1923 ....perhaps they are "borrowing" on the name to help burnish their image and I suspect that Neilsen may neeed them as much as they need Nielsen. Comscore was founded in 1999.

  4. B Sass from U of C, February 26, 2016 at 11:53 a.m.

    Thanks Patty. ComScore bills itself as the digital measurement company trying to break into TV, while Nielsen is the TV company breaking into digital. Seems they are colliding in the middle. I wonder what that means for customers and for these companies pricing power. 

  5. Ed Papazian from Media Dynamics Inc, February 26, 2016 at 2:14 p.m.

    By the way, Nielsen began measuring network radio sometime in the mid-1940s, not 1923. Before that it was only in the market research field.

  6. Ed Papazian from Media Dynamics Inc, February 26, 2016 at 2:32 p.m.

    B.Sass, they probably picked Nielsen because 99.9% of national TV is bought based on Nielsen audience data.

  7. B Sass from U of C, February 26, 2016 at 4:25 p.m.

    Ed - thanks. Do you see that changing anytime soon? Viacom says it wants to move 50% off of the nielsen standard. NBC is trying to sell based on its own metrics. Comscore is trying its total home panel, etc. etc. Or, is Nielsen so powerful that these are the same kinds of threats that have existed for decades? Would love your view. 

  8. Ed Papazian from Media Dynamics Inc, February 26, 2016 at 5 p.m.

    B Sass, while I am glad to se ComScore challenging Nielsen in the TV ratings field, I doubt that Nielsen is in serious danger in this regard, complaints about its service notwithstanding. The main reasons are two-fold. First, Comscore does not have viewer data, which is critical. Second, unless the would be challenger can demonstrate thet the incumbent's methodology and service is producing very misleading and "incorrect" findings---as was the case with Arbitron's radio diaries vs. its PPM passive electronic measurement----there's no reason to change services. It can be argued that the much larger samples used by the challenger allow it to report on the low rated "long tail" channels however who is going to use that as the primary reason for dumping Nielsen when 95%+ of the audience and all of the ad sellers normally considered are reported on by Nielsen.

    There are avenues regarding the tuning vs. viewing issue that can be explored and, maybe, ComScore will come up with a solution. Only time will tell. As for the  NBC "programmatic" ploy, Viacom's comments, etc. this is mostly self-serving on a marginal level and pressure---I've seen it all before.

  9. Nicholas Schiavone from Nicholas P. Schiavone, LLC, February 26, 2016 at 11 p.m.

    Mr. Whitman,

    Before I consider anything in this column,
    I want to see the evidence 
    that the current Nielsen Company was founded in 1923.
    [I have seen this date posted online, probably by the new Nielsen,
    however, there is no evidence posted to support the claim.]

    I have read the primary works of Arthur Nielsen, Senior.
    I recall nothing suggesting that the media research company 
    that bore his name was founded almost a century ago.
    Perhaps the Nielsen Family had a retail tracking business at the outset,
    but the electronic media research practice [NRI & NTI]
    could not have started until the middle of the 20th Century.
    And that's the relevant historical fact here.

    Further, today's Nielsen has no DNA from the original Nielsen.
    The resemblance, if any, is accidental and coincidental ... not substantial or real.
    It takes more than a nameplate to make a "valid, reliable" research brand.
    David Calhoun & Mitch Barns are more likely cut from the cloth (and compensation)
    of Jack Welch & GE - than from that of Arthur Nielsen, Senior or Junior.
    Further, we should all be grateful that Nielsen 
    doesn't produce jet engines ... or nuclear reactors.

    Now, if the MEDIApsssst headline is questionable,
    then the story itself is likely to be of questionable
    value in terms of fact and judgment.
    [The obverse is not true.]

    Attention Editor-In-Chief:
    Was this column fact or reality checked?
    Perhaps MediaPost opinion pieces, like GOP Debates,
    operate by different laws of nature.

    Onwards & Upwards!

    Nicholas P. Schiavone  

  10. Richard Whitman from MediaPost, February 27, 2016 at 10:05 a.m.

    This was pretty easy to find:

    Granted, in 1923, they were testing conyeyor belts and turbine generators, not TV, but, then again, I did say "founded" in the article, not "started measuring TV." :)

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