Nielsen Takes Steps Toward Measuring Performance

By: Michael Goodman, Senior Director of Analytics, Mercury Media Boston

With marketers increasingly demanding a return-on-investment (ROI) for their marketing dollars, Nielsen Co. announced that they are forming a joint venture with Catalina Marketing, Nielsen Catalina Ventures, to combine Nielsen’s TV ratings and online-audience measurement data with Catalina’s loyalty-card purchase data.  The goal of the venture is to “allow consumer packaged goods (CPG) and media companies to more effectively link the marketing exposures consumers see with what products they actually buy.”

We at Mercury Media applaud this move by Nielsen.  Last year, advertisers spent over $73 billion advertising on television but how much of that drove sales and how much was wasted?  Any initiative which integrates purchase data and audience viewing data is much appreciated; however, we also must recognize the limitations of this initiative.  Unlike true performance marketing, this joint venture will not allow marketers or their agencies to derive performance metrics like sales-per-spot, cost-per-lead or cost-per-sale.  We appreciate any initiative that helps us qualify audiences and reduce waste, but reaching the holy grail of providing true ROI remains tantalizingly out of reach.

Michael Goodman is Senior Director of Analytics for Mercury Media.  Prior to joining the agency, Goodman was Director, Consumer Research for Yankee Group, where he provided market research, syndicated reports, decision support tools and consulting services to start-ups and Fortune 500 companies seeking to understand and profit from the impact of technology on content, advertising and consumer behavior.  During his time with Yankee Group, Goodman authored over 80 research reports, several of which received recognition for “Best of.”   Prior to Yankee Group, Goodman was a Marketing Representative at Nielsen Media Research.

Contact him at mgoodman@MercuryMedia.com

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