Responsible Online Research

Responsible Online Research

Dave Osborn, SVP, Product Leadership, Nielsen Online

Recently, there’s been a fair amount of buzz about supposedly new and revolutionary ways to measure audiences online. Just this week, a press release from a competitor promised that their new “hybrid” methodology (panel + census) will provide “a comprehensive accounting of the complete digital media universe.”

The Nielsen Company has long believed that using panel and  census data – the best of both worlds – is a great way to measure the Web, especially in the increasingly layered, three-screen world. In fact, we were the first to commercialize the hybrid approach in markets around the globe and in the U.S. in 2007 with our VideoCensus product.

To learn how VideoCensus provided a new measurement standard, click here.

Experience and integrity in research have never been more important.

New forms of audience measurement need to be created openly and transparently, with the industry. Nielsen’s hybrid systems have been built in conjunction with local industry bodies and the market itself. We worked tirelessly to educate the U.S. market in advance of our VideoCensus launch and it is the reason why we are pursuing Media Ratings Council (MRC) accreditation for our new system to be launched later this year.

Server data is complex and its analysis is complicated, to say the least. Any company that specializes in server data has a deep appreciation of this fact. Analyzing this data is a skill set that can’t be obtained overnight. Nielsen’s decade of experience with server measurement in the market is essential in making a hybrid methodology work.

In about a month, Nielsen will launch a new approach to panel measurement that will deliver the most reliable portrait of Web audiences to advertisers and publishers to date. This isn’t because of the sheer size of the panel, it’s because of the quality. The panel will provide an incredibly stable foundation for other exciting Nielsen audience measurement.

Like the foundation of a home, the panel component of a hybrid measurement system is vital, as is the ability to understand and reconcile results with server data. With a solid foundation, you can live in a home for years. Start with a shaky foundation, and the home isn’t worth the monthly mortgage payment.

Know your foundation. Build your business on responsible research.