Press Room

The Nielsen Company and Facebook Form Strategic Alliance

Industry Leaders to Use Nielsen Products to Help Marketers Better Measure Online Advertising Impact and Realize Greater ROI

New York, NY and Palo Alto, CA – September 22, 2009 –The Nielsen Company and Facebook today announced a multi-year, strategic alliance to help marketers better use the Internet to develop and market new products.

The alliance combines Facebook’s global consumer reach with Nielsen’s market research expertise to provide better insight and information to marketers around the world.

The first product of the collaboration, Nielsen BrandLift, is designed to provide marketers with effectiveness measurement for Facebook advertising. It will launch in the U.S. with select test partners this week and roll out to all Facebook advertisers in the coming months. BrandLift uses opt-in polls on Facebook’s homepage to measure consumer attitudes and purchase intent from display advertising that has appeared on the site.

“Facebook is an increasingly vital link between consumers and brands,” said John Burbank, CEO of Nielsen’s online division.  “We will now be able to add deep knowledge of this important social network to our unmatched media measurement and consumer insight across all three screens.  Together we will be able to provide the missing elements to clients seeking better understanding of how Web content and online advertising affect consumer behavior.”

“Nielsen is the leader in measurement and is an excellent partner for us as we look to provide marketers with richer ad effectiveness data,” said Sheryl Sandberg, COO of Facebook. “The combination of our unique ability to quickly and effectively poll a sample of our more than 300 million users and Nielsen’s expertise in data analysis will give marketers access to powerful data they can use to understand and improve current and future campaigns.” 

About Nielsen BrandLift

Nielsen BrandLift measures aided awareness, ad recall, message association, brand favorability and purchase consideration via a set of short, specially designed one or two question surveys. The surveys collect the information marketers need as a seamless part of the Facebook user experience.

Working directly with Facebook’s advertising clients, Nielsen will conduct hundreds of Nielsen BrandLift tests over the coming months. The frequency of the surveys will be carefully controlled to limit any one user from being asked to participate too often. No personally identifiable information will be collected as part of this program.

The surveys appear on Facebook’s homepage in the same space where people see sponsored messages today, with a look, feel and functionality that fit neatly into the existing Facebook experience. 

Key benefits include:

Accuracy – With the more than 300 million people on Facebook and Nielsen’s statistical and measurement expertise, Nielsen BrandLift will deliver exceptionally accurate data on advertising performance.

Speed – Nielsen BrandLift will provide information back to advertisers remarkably fast, enabling rapid campaign optimization.

Ease – Nielsen BrandLift surveys are simple to create and implement, taking much of the upfront work out of the typical creation process.

Key U.S. Internet Data, As Reported By Nielsen

  • Total estimated U.S. online advertising spend was down 2 percent year-over-year, from an August 2008 estimated spend of $722,532,400 to an estimated spend for August 2009 of $711,442,800.
  • Year-over-year, estimated online advertising spend on the top social network and blogging sites increased 119 percent, from approximately $49 million in August 2008 to approximately $108 million in August 2009.
  • The share of estimated ad spend on the top social network and blogging sites has grown from a seven percent share of total online ad spend in August 2008 to a 15 percent share in August 2009.
  • Facebook has seen significant growth as an important Web site for advertising with a 14.7% share of display ad views in the U.S. in August 2009, up from 1.8% in January 2009.
  • Time spent on network and blogging sites accounted for 17 percent of all time spent on the Internet in August 2009, nearly triple the percentage of time spent on the sector a year ago.
  • In August 2009, Facebook had the 4th largest Unique Audience in the U.S. among all Web brands with 103,886,000 users.
  • In August 2009, Facebook had the most time per user spent on the site among the top Web brands with an average of 5 hours 46 minutes 4 seconds.

Live Webcast

Today at 11:00 AM EDT, during Advertising Week in New York City, Facebook’s Chief Operating Officer, Sheryl Sandberg, and Nielsen’s online division Chief Executive Officer, John Burbank, will address this strategic alliance. The live webcast of the event is available at


The Nielsen Company:

Matt Anchin
646 654-5445

Diane Schreiber
SparkPR for The Nielsen Company
415-279-4440 (m)

Bennett Kleinberg
Goodman Media for The Nielsen Company


Annie Ta