Nielsen Extends Measurements to Online Campaigns

The Nielsen Company is working to extend its ratings measurements to online campaigns, giving advertisers the ability to understand how well their cross-platform efforts are faring. Nielsen Online Campaign Ratings will provide Nielsen’s first look at online ratings similar to the way it has tracked TV consumption. When combined with TV ad ratings and usage data from online panel volunteers into a single report, it will give marketers a look at how well their overall return on investment for a campaign is faring.

Nielsen will employ the system with online partners who will help pass on anonymous user data that can help determine how often display or video ads are being viewed across the web. For instance, an ad that appears on Facebook will include a pixel in the ad that can send anonymous data back to Nielsen.

Nielsen is emphasizing this will not target individual users and will only track overall audience compositions. The technology will not track a user’s movements, the sites the user visited or what site the ad was displayed on, Nielsen said, and there will be an opt-out option for consumers who don’t want to participate. This is an important issue for Nielsen to get right because of increasing concerns about technology that can track the online movements of users. A Wall Street Journal story on the use of online tracking tools has spawned at least six lawsuits.

The Nielsen service will roll out in the U.S. first, and will be tested initially in the fourth quarter with partners including Procter & Gamble (s PG), Verizon Wireless (s vz) and Facebook. A wider commercial launch should begin next year.

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Post and thumbnail photos courtesy of Flickr user Leo Reynolds.