NEWS22 September 2009

Nielsen and Facebook form alliance and unveil ad testing tool

New business North America

US— Facebook and Nielsen have launched an online tool to measure the effectiveness of adverts that appear on the social networking website.

The tool, Nielsen BrandLift, is the first product to emerge from a “multi-year, strategic alliance” between the two firms that was announced today. It places opt-in polls on Facebook users’ homepages that gauge consumer attitudes to adverts on the site and measure their purchasing intent.

Nielsen BrandLift is being launched in the US to test partners this week and will be rolled out to all Facebook advertisers in the future. During the test period, the frequency of polls will be controlled to prevent users being asked to participate too often. Nielsen said that no personally identifiable information would be collected.

The ratings firm said the surveys will be placed in positions where users currently see sponsored messages. It has promised to deliver results to marketers “remarkably fast”.

Facebook’s chief operating officer Sheryl Sandberg said: “The combination of our unique ability to quickly and effectively poll a sample of our more than 300 million users and Nielsen’s expertise in data analysis will give marketers access to powerful data they can use to understand and improve current and future campaigns.”

John Burbank, Nielsen Online’s CEO, said: “Together we will be able to provide the missing elements to clients seeking better understanding of how web content and online advertising affect consumer behaviour.”

The partnership was officially launched at the Advertising Week conference in New York, where Sandberg told the audience that Facebook “wants to be the first place marketers turn to when they want to engage consumers”.

She said the polling tool had been tested on ads for Proctor & Gamble’s deodorant brand Secret, and managed to reach a traditionally hard-to-reach age group.