Agreement Creates Common Currency that Benefits Advertisers & Publishers
NEW YORK (October 13, 2004) — In a move that will dramatically impact behavioral targeting services, Revenue Science, Inc., the leading provider of behavioral targeting for online advertising, announced today the launch of a new service based on Nielsen//NetRatings data that will bring standard audience quality certification to behavioral targeting audience segments for the first time ever. Through the partnership, Revenue Science will provide Nielsen//NetRatings audience composition metrics at the segment level to establish a simple, common currency for judging the quality of an audience within the behavioral targeting market. Nielsen//NetRatings metrics for Revenue Science's behavioral targeting audience segments will allow advertisers to understand the exact quality of audiences they are reaching before a segment is purchased. This will make it easy for advertisers to confidently allocate more dollars to behavioral targeting using familiar metrics that are well understood and utilized in media planning, both online and offline.
The service will provide audience composition metrics that are comprised of actual web behavior and demographics. Web-wide behavior includes categorization at a high-level, such as "Finance" or "Search Engine" and at a detailed level, such as "Finance: Credit Card" or "Travel: Airlines." Demographic metrics include standard Nielsen//NetRatings household data such as income, household size, ethnic background, and number of employed household members.
The certification will enable an advertiser to compare two similarly-named and similarly-created segments from very different sites. For example, an advertiser who defines an "Auto Buyer" as someone in-market who has researched a car and sought a car price from an automotive site, could compare that audience composition to an automotive section on a newspaper's site. Even though both use the same criteria to define "Auto Buyers," the quality of the composition of the automotive site's segment may be 10 times higher than the composition of the similarly named segment at the newspaper site.
The certification will also benchmark the composition of those audiences against the Web-wide audience as well as run of site inventory. As a result, advertisers can calculate how much of their campaign is reaching their target using their own definitions of that target. This enables buyers to gauge value and publishers to defend themselves from commoditization.
"Although advertisers have seen the vast potential of behavioral targeting, they have been waiting for an independent standard of audience quality that would enable them to differentiate identically-named segments from different publishers, and buy with confidence," said Manish Bhatia, Senior Vice President, NetRatings. "Revenue Science is leading the industry by linking demographics to usage segments and bridging the gap between traditional media and online research metrics."
How It Works
The new service taps into the Nielsen//NetRatings MegaPanel™, which measures online usage behavior of several hundred thousand individuals. On a monthly basis, Revenue Science will collect these comprehensive composition metrics from Nielsen//NetRatings on all Revenue Science segments.
Certifying audience segments with Nielsen//NetRatings metrics will enable advertisers to know the quality of the specific audience based on user behavior across the entire Web, rather than relying only on in-site data. For example, the Nielsen//NetRatings data would factor in whether members of a "Car-Buyer" segment visited a car sales or manufacturer site within the last three months, in addition to their actions and the content they read on the site itself. This gives publishers and advertisers the groundbreaking capability to have a holistic view of their targeted audiences both on and off a specific Internet site.
The certification will also help bridge the gap between publishers and advertisers. For example, advertisers currently describe their targets with a composition definition (e.g. people in-market for a car in the next 3 months) while publishers describe audiences by site click behavior (e.g. people who clicked on a section in the past month). For the first time, these two languages can be correlated using the Audience Quality Certification.
A Major Step for the Industry
According to Denise Garcia, Principal Analyst, Media & Advertising GartnerG2, advertisers' comfort with Nielsen//NetRatings data should help advertisers to increase their adoption of behavioral targeting as an integral part of online marketing strategies. "This is a major step forward for behavioral targeting that should have a profound impact on the industry's ability to increase online advertising activity and ultimately, revenue," Garcia said. "It is the first application of composition metrics that truly measure the results of behavioral targeting."
Because Nielsen//NetRatings data is universal and widely accepted, premium publishers will be able to reliably demonstrate the value of well-defined audience segments.
"Having a measurement of quality that the industry trusts is good for us and good for the industry," said Randy Kilgore, Vice President of Advertising for the Wall Street Journal Online. "Previously, sites could claim to deliver audience segments that were the same or similar to ours, and buyers lacked a standard and trusted means of making comparisons. Now, we can point to the Audience Quality Certification from Nielsen//NetRatings and Revenue Science as proof of our audience's superior quality and, just as importantly, behaviorally targeted advertising just got easier to buy."
Previously, any site could claim to deliver audience segments that were the same or similar and it was difficult to show that a certain audience was of higher quality because of the different inputs used. Now, publishers can point to the Nielsen//NetRatings data as proof and, just as importantly, their audience won't be commoditized.
For advertisers and agencies, the agreement will finally allow them to buy audience segments consistently across multiple publishers to expand targeted reach.
"Behavioral targeting is a tremendous tool that we've only scratched the surface of but for it to grow, we must be able to measure exactly what behavioral targeting promises: the quality of the audience reached," said Alan Schanzer, Managing Partner, The Digital Edge/Outrider North America. "The agreement between Revenue Science and Nielsen//NetRatings provides an additional layer of transparency that helps prove the value of the audience, and can be integrated into the planning process."
The partnership with Nielsen//NetRatings is the latest example of Revenue Science's efforts to promote behavioral targeting through activities including market research, new technologies and outreach to agencies and advertisers.
"Audience Quality Certifications from Nielsen//NetRatings are the perfect complement to our market-leading behavioral targeting services for ensuring the most effective reach online," said Bill Gossman, President and CEO of Revenue Science. "Publishers and advertisers already rely on these metrics to measure audience quality at the site level, and now they can apply the same standard when evaluating audiences at the segment level." He added that this will not only make it easier to incorporate behavioral targeting into online media buys, but also help advertisers and agencies compare their buys across various media channels based on standardized audience information.