For Online Advertising, Big Impression Counts Don’t Mean High Audience Reach

For Online Advertising, Big Impression Counts Don’t Mean High Audience Reach

New research from Nielsen suggests that, while some individual websites perform very well at reaching an ad campaign’s intended audience, nearly all campaigns are delivered to consumers who are not valued by the brand advertiser. In a recent study, Nielsen measured a campaign for a beauty care brand that was hoping to improve its image among younger women. The advertiser designed a campaign focused on women 18-34 and ran 213 million impressions across 14 websites and ad networks for a six week period. Nielsen analysis showed that 33 percent of the impressions reached the desired audience (W 18-34), while 40 percent of the impressions were served to men.

Looking across dozens of campaigns spanning hundreds of websites, the results were the same, showing that the web consistently delivers millions of impressions – if not tens of millions – to the wrong people.

In the same beauty care product campaign, the 213 million impressions tracked-to-date seems to be at a level that could generate significant reach. In reality, the campaign overall hit slightly more than 40 million people across all demographic segments —a 13.6 percent reach. After focusing in on women 18-34, the campaign reached only 10.5 million women.


Despite these numbers, Nielsen research shows that the web does in fact deliver audiences more efficiently than some popular TV programs with very broad audiences.


For more on these findings, download the paper: Reaching the Right Audiences Online: Early Findings from Nielsen Online Campaign Ratings.