How to Get Personal, According to Nielsen

By Nielsen Data InSites Archives
Cover image for  article: How to Get Personal, According to Nielsen

"Marketers have to get personal," and should explore technological opportunities, according to Peter Katsingris, Senior Vice President, Nielsen Audience Insights (pictured at top).  He kicked off the recent Nielsen press breakfast with additional personal touches added by Kelly Abcarian, Nielsen's Senior Vice President, Watch Product Architecture, and other speakers to highlight how the organization is keeping pace with the evolving media landscape via its own technological advances.

Presentations illustrated platform and device usage trends, preferences by demographic, ad-supported potential, dynamic ad insertion and how clients are using Nielsen's data to demonstrate TV's opportunities for advertisers, as summed up here:

The Trends:  More Time Spent with Digital Media

Katsingris has a team that "tells stories with data," enabling clients to better understand the impact of how consumers are leaning into content. "Marketers have to get personal," he noted, and should explore technological opportunities such as dynamic ad insertion to better reach consumers who are increasingly spending more time on their personal devices and various platforms.  He reported that, overall, weekly usage of media continues to grow.  In 2018, Nielsen found that viewers spent 79 hours with media per week, compared to 61 hours in 2010 and 51 hours in 2002. Multi-tasking contributes a lot of this extraordinary amount of time spent, as smartphones have surpassed radio and time spent with digital devices in general, reaching parity with time-shifted TV.

New platforms and devices are being adopted at impressive rates.  According to N-Power, in March 2018 91% of all U.S. households had a smartphone, 79% a computer, 69% an SVOD service, 64% a tablet, 55% a DVR, 46% a smart TV, 43% a game console, 40% an internet-connected device and 4.8% a virtual MVPD.  This increase in digital adoption has resulted in increased usage.  Overall, media usage increased +21% from January 2018 to 2019, especially among African Americans (+26%), Hispanics (+23%) and Asians (+38%).

The more opportunity to view on various devices and platforms, the more time is spent on them.  The shift in time spent is a cautionary tale for traditional media.  Once adopted, streaming usage grows from month one (1 hour, 8 minutes) to year one (1 hour, 20 minutes) while time spent with TV declined in the same timeline (from 7 hours, 19 minutes to 6 hours, 33 minutes).

The expansion of the data pool enables Nielsen to offer new and interesting ways to analyze usage, including which devices are used in which room in the house.  Enabled smart TVs tend to reside in the living room (53%) and encourage co-viewing, while internet-connected devices are in the master bedroom (26%) and (unsurprisingly) enabled video game consoles are in bedrooms that tend to belong to younger members of the household (32%).

The Opportunities:  Addressable TV Using ACR

"The time for addressable advertising is now," declared Abcarian.  "TV has changed and grown.  But we need to look at TV differently than in the past."  There is more connected TV ownership (+46% have at least one smart TV in the home, representing +8% growth from January 2018 to January 2019) and greater cord-cutting or shaving (25% of all TV homes).  But don't misread the trends, she advised.  "TV time is growing, not shrinking," because viewers are "using other devices to get to the glass."  In fact, the impact of connected devices is influencing linear viewing, offering a rebirth of TV.

Linear content is experiencing a 5-7x growth with internet-connected devices, while smart TVs provide a 2x growth to linear content.  In this environment, the ability to apply addressable advertising is a boon to advertisers.  It offers precision advertising that highly targets linear TV with advanced demographics.  It provides value targeting that enables agencies to reduce waste and, with Nielsen, "best in class measurement," using "similar audience segments definitions."  To that end, Nielsen is pioneering ACR technology to unlock the full 16 minutes of ads in programming and transforming C3 measurement, so as to enable clients to reconcile with addressable and be able to execute ad models across platforms.

Two main areas of focus in the coming months include audience-based buying to enable advertisers to use advanced audience segments to plan and buy linear TV campaigns, and addressable TV, which offers true one-to-one ad targeting, delivery and measurement across smart TV platforms. The result will be greater measurement transparency and standardization across these two areas. One example of industry collaboration that exists today is between Nielsen and OpenAP. Nielsen's audience data and Enterprise Audience API are used within OpenAP, enabling the buy side to create and share 777 segments within the consortium's platform since it launched in the Fall of 2017.

Part of this is the result of Nielsen's ability to deploy dynamic ad insertion, which is now in the testing stage.  Nielsen uses video ACR technology that is embedded in the glass screen's firmware or chipset.  "We then take a screenshot every half-second to see what is watched on-screen every two seconds," Abcarian explained.  This is matched back to the library and a decision is then made whether or not to replace the original network ad based on pre-arranged rules and audience profiles.  "It is a seamless experience for the viewer and is more engaging because it is a more relevant ad," she said.

The early learnings from this pilot indicate that broadcasters want to see improved sell rate percentages and agencies want accurate forecasts and more standard segments.  For all of this to happen, measurement reconciliation needs to occur, as well as some operational improvements; there are still too many manual processes at the current time to deliver addressable campaigns.  Some of the challenges are the result of walled gardens that "tie up addressable at scale," Abcarian said.  "We need more partnerships in the ecosystem."  She also noted that we need more scale in technology while keeping in mind the privacy that goes with it.

Another challenge is "too many demand pools and measurement sticks," she added.  "We don't know how to buy at scale with confidence."  Further, there needs to be a reconciliation with C3, bringing the measurement holistically across platforms.  Finally, there needs to be education.  "What do we mean by addressable TV?" she said by way of example.  "And, [we have to] put a value against the impressions."

Ultimately, Abcarian is bullish on Nielsen's ability to deliver an addressable product that will be embraced by the industry.  "It offers real-time scale that optimizes both the upper and lower funnel," she noted.  Nielsen is focused on creating a standardization framework that will drive consistency across all platforms.

Photo courtesy of Nielsen.

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