Understanding how your brand is doing online is about more than clicks and page views. It’s about the audience.

Nielsen’s comprehensive and innovative online measurement methodologies analyze consumer behavior and trends, advertising effectiveness, brand advocacy, social media buzz and more to provide a 360 degree view of how consumers engage with online media. Our approach doesn’t stop at the computer screen because we understand that online audiences don’t just consume digital “cookies” — they’re a shopper, a car-pooling power mom, a TV watcher, a tweeter and a texter.

How We Do It

Planning Analysis

Nielsen’s hybrid audience measurement portfolio provides valuable insights used for buying and selling media. Our unique approach combines representative, people-based panels with, tag-based measurement to deliver a holistic view of the digital universe and its audience. The result is a Total Internet Audience metric that offers a sophisticated approach to understanding consumer behavior and provides comprehensive digital media measurement across all devices and locations, including mobile devices, tablets, secondary PCs and access points outside of home and work locations. In the U.S., Nielsen’s online panel measures the activity of more than 160,000 and growing Internet users across more than 30,000 sites, and extends to more than 500,000 panelists worldwide.

At the heart of our hybrid audience measurement is an understanding of consumer behavior. Our representative panel offers deep insights across demographic characteristics of Internet use, while data collected through Nielsen tags placed on participating publishers’ pages provides measurement of the content consumed. An advanced statistical process provides intelligent matching of demographic characteristics to behavior across all sites, offering the most accurate reflection of page-level activity and audience insights based on panel data.

Panel recruitment

Nielsen’s online panel is created using a proprietary methodology that combines the representativeness of probability sampling with the depth provided by an online-recruited panel. The probability “calibration” sample provides a baseline for representative demography and online behavior. This baseline is used to create demographic and behavioral weights to correct for potential biases in the online-recruited panel.

In Flight & Post-Campaign Analysis

Brand marketers and advertising agencies seek a better solution to understand the true audience of their online ad campaigns by using Reach, Frequency and GRP metrics that are comparable to Television and other media. Additionally, online publishers seek a consistent, reliable approach for validating their ad campaign audience delivery to advertisers. To date, attempts to measure audience of online advertising campaigns have not been consistent or transparent enough to provide reliable standard metrics.

Nielsen Digital Ad Ratings provides a new and highly accurate method for identifying and measuring the audiences exposed to online ad campaigns and enables measurement of any ad campaign, large or small, national or local, on any website. This approach leverages actual user demographics from leading online data providers to attach demos to larger portions of campaign impressions, while also utilizing inputs from a traditional panel for the purposes of calibration. Overall, the methodology combines data from three sources: a census of tag‐based server counts, a large sample from a demographic data provider and inputs from the Nielsen Cross‐Platform Homes panel — the industry’s only single source cross-media measurement service.

Why Nielsen?

  • Trusted: Nielsen’s desktop meter ensures that we’re measuring people, not just machines. Our hybrid audience measurement methodology has been designed to comply with the IAB’s guidelines for Internet measurement with input from leading industry clients.
  • Comprehensive: All website audiences are delivered from one method—hybrid audience measurement.
  • Consistent: Hybrid audience measurement standards ensure consistent projection of audiences from month to month.
  • Not Cookie Dependent: Hybrid audience measurement captures data from all sources and measures people instead of cookies.
  • Accountable: Nielsen Digital Ad Ratings patent-pending methodology verifies whether the audience delivered matches the intended audience.
  • Accurate: Nielsen Digital Ad Ratings innovative tagging process presents ad delivery information without relying on third-party cookies (average 30-50% coverage rate).
  • Scalable: Leveraging aggregated demographic information from online Data Providers enables Nielsen Digital Ad Ratings to measure any size campaign, running on any size website, for any duration.
  • Comparable: Nielsen Digital Ad Ratings Gross Rating Points (GRPs) are comparable to Nielsen TV Ratings.
  • Simple: Nielsen Digital Ad Ratings uses the same tags as other portions of our Advertising Effectiveness practice, which measures attitudinal impact of advertising.
  • Private and Secure: Our data collection and panel policies adhere to high-level privacy standards.

Interested in Learning More?