Fast Company recently reported on Nielsen’s partnership with Facebook to provide more targeted measurements for online advertising. Just as we currently speak of Nielsen ratings for TV shows, which determine the prices advertisers pay for air time, we may soon speak of web ratings, based on a user’s viewing of a banner ad, which would in turn allow web publishers to command higher prices for CPMs on their site.
The unique aspect of this partnership is that Facebook will be used to measure user engagement with the ads. That is, Nielsen’s ad server will work in conjunction with Facebook’s to show which individuals are seeing ads on a given site. This will lead to better demographic information about who is viewing the ads.
I take issue with the article’s tone that this new partnership will finally give advertisers the precise measurements they’ve been seeking when it comes to online advertising. I believe that current forms of measurement- through Comscore, Google Analytics, Visitsperday.com, and others allow the online advertiser a host of information about when, who, and how people are engaging with their online ads. These analytics simply do not compare with the Nielsen TV ratings, which are based on one family representing the viewing habits of thousands of families in a given metro area. Nevertheless, I will be curious to see if this new form of online ad measurement will entice the last remaining advertisers who have been hesitant to venture online.