Media buyers weigh in on Nielsen’s video measurement challenges

Mumbrella’s Zoe Samios chats with media buyers about the IAB’s decision to withdraw support for Nielsen’s secondary crediting solution.

Measuring video views from zero seconds does not allow for robust-enough data for buyer and advertiser decision making: those were the words of interim Interacting Advertising Bureau (IAB) CEO Gai Le Roy last week.

After eight months, the decision to pull support for Nielsen’s secondary crediting for video was unsurprising.

Last week, interim IAB Australia CEO Gai Le Roy said she did not believe measuring video views from the start provided robust-enough data for media buyers and advertisers to make accurate decisions

The tool, which sits within IAB’s endorsed currency, Nielsen’s Digital Content Ratings, was introduced in January, seeking to allow publishers to measure off platform video content. When the secondary crediting solution first launched BuzzFeed’s reported daily reach in Australia appeared to increase from 250,000 to 3.5m, Vice’s climbed from 55,000 to 300,000 and Popsugar’s seemed to climb from 30,000 to 200,000.

This left a number of publishers concerned about the implementation of the metric, arguing it had little value and confused video views and a view, which could be counted simply by a user scrolling past content in their Facebook feed.  And there was one problem the IAB faced: it was not up to video viewing standards.

Currently, Nielsen’s definition of a video view is zero seconds. But last week the IAB reinforced its stance a minimum viewing time of two seconds was required to count a view. Now, Le Roy and IAB have made the first step towards a currency which will seek to provide ‘fair’ and ‘accurate measurement for non-ad supported video content.

Nielsen will look to create a qualified content audience solution, allowing publishers to report video based on video qualifiers of two seconds and 30 seconds. The new metric will measure both ad-supported and non ad-supported video content.

In the interim, buyers and publishers will be encouraged to use ad-supported video numbers only, until a more accurate measurement solution for non-ad supported video is launched in market in beta form later this year.

For a buyer like Sian Whitnall, chief digital officer, OMD Australia, this is only a small proportion of content planning and the metric has “no bearing” on potential reach of a publisher’s advertising product.

Sian Whitnall says the metric has ‘no bearing’ on reach of publisher’s advertising product

“We have to be clear that we have many different types of video and content we can trade on behalf of our clients, and each type has a different strategic use, be it a broadcast reach through to a content strategy, where advocacy is our goal,” Whitnall said.

“This metric is only applicable to a small proportion of the content we plan, as it only applies to a publisher’s extension across social platforms. The metric is also only one, out of a host of metrics, that we would use to plan this type of activity. We must also call out that it is not a metric we would use to assess the potential reach of an advertising.

“The metric has no bearing on the potential reach of a publisher’s advertising product/s as it talks to content consumption of all Facebook videos, and not those that are being supported by advertising.”

Her comments echo Nunn Media’s head of digital, Peter Wilson, who notes this is just a small component of the overall measurement scheme.

“I feel this is just another case of an inherently unstandardised industry, trying to oversimplify what is going on,” says Wilson.

“The focus needs to be not just on whether a video is viewable when someone watched two seconds or started viewing a video, but whether they watched four, six, 10, 30, 60 seconds, coupled with an understanding of the amount of video inventory available at those lengths on a range of sites and in turn whether sound was on, the percentage completion rates, the length of the vide to start with, did it autoplay, did the video change size?

The metric is oversimplified, says Wilson

“There are just too many factors.”

When Mumbrella last spoke to Wilson, he argued Nielsen’s number provided “granular” detail, noting trading decisions couldn’t be made solely on the numbers.

“Nielsen is unlikely to ever include information such as costs and specific placements which have just as great an impact (probably more) on the potential performance of a campaign. It doesn’t matter how many people you can reach, unless it can be done in a cost-effective manner and with the right type of ad placement or integration to meet the goals of a campaign,” he said at the time.

To him, the video qualifiers are “really meaningless” on a broader scale of quality.

However as buyers frequently say, Nielsen is just one of many tools used to understand how an audience is interacting with publishers. None, Wilson says, can be taken as “gospel”.

However all buyers have the same idea in mind: provide clients with “exceptional business outcomes”. So is this decision to withdraw support for the benefit of clients and publishers in the end?

Dentsu Aegis Network’s head of knowledge, Louise Veyret, thinks so.

Louise Veyret says the conversation show Nielsen is working well with the IAB

“The conversations we have been a part of show that Nielsen is working with IAB to meet their guidelines and evolve their product offering,” Veyret says.

“Measurement is important for the publisher, the advertiser and the client. Nielsen is working towards providing a fuller picture of video-viewing, but at Amplifi we do this in conjunction with our own data platforms like M1 and other proprietary data sources.”

“When it comes to video this involves a clear understanding of not just reach and frequency of video, but also looking at the impact it has on brand engagement, brand trust and the all-important ‘call to action’,” Veyret explains.

But regardless, Kristiaan Kroon, chief investment officer, OMG Australia, says measurement issues like this need to be resolved quickly, to ensure ongoing questions over products and accuracy do not continue.

Measurement is complex but Nielsen’s role is to tackle the issues, says Kroon

“We are vocal supporters of industry insight tools that further our understanding of consumer behaviour to create better outcomes for clients. It is, however, disappointing that a trend is emerging of publishers and industry bodies withdrawing their support for some Nielsen products” he said.

“While measurement issues can be complex, this is Nielsen’s role in our industry. Agencies and clients make a significant investment in Nielsen products every year and expect a product that delivers on this investment.”

How do you solve a problem like measurement? – A timeline


25 July: Nielsen launches daily digital content ratings, provides off-platform audience measurement


26 February: Publishers’ Google Accelerated Media Pages traffic going unrecorded by Nielsen

2 March: Fairfax Media pulls out of Nielsen’s digital content ratings

13 March: Publishers question Nielsen’s Facebook measurement tool, as audiences apparently swell to 14 times their original size

7 June: How do you solve a problem like measurement? Media buyers speak about the future of Nielsen

21 June: Publishers refuse to pay Nielsen until metrics issues resolved ahead of launch of DCR Monthly next week

29 June: Digital publishers’ audiences are millions bigger than we realised, says Nielsen

2 July: BBC Global News withdraws from Nielsen and calls on IAB to look past big members’ interests

12 July: Nielsen swings continue as publishers seek to improve measurement coverage

6 August: More than one million added to Guardian Australia’s audience as DCR implements Google AMP data

8 August: IAB Australia pulls support for Nielsen video metric as publishers question its accuracy

Measurement will be one of the many issues tackled at Publish this year. For more information about the panel, which will take place on September 20, click here.


Get the latest media and marketing industry news (and views) direct to your inbox.

Sign up to the free Mumbrella newsletter now.



Sign up to our free daily update to get the latest in media and marketing.