WTF Is 'Nielsen One Ads?'

Just to be clear, Nielsen One is already here. So is something called "Nielsen One Ads," although Nielsen doesn't actually explain what that is in a new promo I received this morning.

To be perfectly clear, when I clicked through to learn more about it, all I got was some standard brochureware about how Nielsen One works, a sizzle reel hyping it, and lots of new-and-improved, this is not your father's Nielsen ratings rhetoric.

So it's ironic that Nielsen is positioning "One" as part of “a new era of clarity,” and claims to be providing “one clear view” without explaining what the "Ads" part of Nielsen One Ads actually is.

The rest of the promo is basically just a description of how Nielsen One works, combining “Big Data” with “people-based panels” and “device recognition” into an integrated system that is capable of “ad de-duplication” across four screens: connected TVs, computers, mobile and out-of-home ones.



The pitch also emphasizes Nielsen One’s “proprietary identity system” enabling “third-party identity data and direct publisher integrations to give you an accurate understanding of true persons-level campaign impressions,” which following last week’s Cross-Media Measurement initiative update at the Association of National Advertisers’ media conference, makes me think Nielsen isn’t just competing with iSpot, VideoAmp and whomever the sell-side certifies next, but also its own advertising clients.

According to the ANA CIMM task force, the new system has its own virtual ID -- or VMD -- developed by none other than the Media Rating Council (MRC), which has been working as a strategic advisor to the initiative.

The ANA group said the system -- including a calibration panel that would enable anyone on the buy or sell sides to integrate any audience “currency” data (presumably also including Nielsen One data) into it to effectively duplicate audiences -- sounds like it would do what Nielsen One claims to be doing, but across the entire ecosystem, including Nielsen One, or anything else an advertiser wants to “input” into it to output their deduplicated audience reach.

But two main things struck me as I read Nielsen’s new One pitch, including a nifty sizzle reel.

One is -- why are they “unveiling” it now? Just as the ad industry is deciding which currencies to use in preparation for this year’s upfront deals: the “legacy” currency -- you know, the old panel-based rating system Nielsen will be retiring in September 2024; or the new currencies certified by companies like NBCUniversal (iSpot and Videoamp) or the other ones the sell-side “JIC” plans to certify?

And while we don’t know whether Nielsen OG, or Nielsen One, will be among those, we do know that Nielsen still has not been re-accredited by the MRC for its current national TV ratings, although CEO David Kenny told investors it was months away from doing so -- 17 months ago.

In other words, I’d take everything Nielsen says these days with a grain of salt.

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  1. Ed Papazian from Media Dynamics Inc, February 22, 2023 at 9:09 a.m.

    Joe, I agree----it's a tad confusing. However, regarding the  next upfront and, perhaps, many more, the "industry" is not considering any serious alternative to "audience" as its basic "currency". So all that Nielsen is doing, in a rather clumsy manner, is announcing that its new, "big data"  system -----which melds millions of ACR and STB panel homes with its 42,000 home people meter panel to estimate individual commercial viewership--- based on the ad message being on  the screen---is here and just about every national TV buy willl use it as their audience guarantee metric this year or next. This will, no doubt, include all types of screens and, probably, OOH "viewing", so the sellers will get the big numbers they want. The problem is that "impressions" figured this way do not  tell you how many people  watched  commercials ---- typically the data that are used as national TV's "currency" overstate commercial viewing by a differential of three-to-one. 

    As for the other "currencies"---attentiveness, pupil dilations/brain waves, CTRs, etc. ---- nobody is saying that any of these---even if used as a secondary or add-on "currency" for some buys ----will be standardized  so that all sellers and buyers are going to employ them. The sellers wont agree to that as, individually, they will look good or not so good depending on the metric and none of them will risk the universal adoption of a "currency" that works to their disdvantage. And why would they?

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