NEWS29 May 2012

Kraft and J&J ink online campaign ratings deals with Nielsen

New business North America

US— Kraft and Johnson & Johnson have joined Unilever in signing up for Nielsen’s online campaign ratings (OCR) service, which aims to gauge audience size and reach for online ads in a way that is comparable to TV ratings.

The exact terms of the Kraft and J&J deals are unknown, but Steve Hasker, president of global media products and advertiser solutions, said recently that the company had secured a “significant number of long-term commitments” from major advertisers, with 18 of the top 25 having at least tested the service.

“In order to get the attention of the [advertising] agencies you need to get the attention of the clients,” he said.

Unilever’s deal, signed in February, runs for 12 months and was the first big client win for the new measurement system. Alongside that, AOL has committed to use OCR to back its audience guarantees.

Speaking at the JP Morgan Technology, Media and Telecom Conference earlier this month, Hasker (pictured) explained that OCR had already seen some use during the TV upfronts, wherein a TV broadcaster who fails to meet their audience commitments can make it up with OCR-measured online advertising.

“We’re seeing a real step towards the creation of a currency,” Hasker said. “Buyers and sellers are using the product to guarantee the delivery of an audience.”

OCR was launched last August and provides reach, frequency and gross rating point measures for online adverts.

The system works using pixel-tracking, so that when a particular display or video advertisement is shown in a browser its embedded tag pings Nielsen’s servers, which in turn ping a call to the web user’s browser to check whether they are a Facebook user. If a Facebook cookie is found, this triggers a call to Facebook which can then assign age and gender information for the user who encountered that ad tag.

At the end of each day Facebook delivers to Nielsen aggregate-level reports for each ad tag containing reach and frequency information in anonymous age and gender categories. The ad tags are decrypted by Nielsen and performance reports are sent to advertisers.

OCR is currently only available in the US, but preparations are underway for a UK launch later this year. It is thought that many of the long-term advertiser commitments Nielsen has secured are international so will carry over to the UK.