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Exploring Paradigm Shifts in Measurement Research

Saul Rosenberg
Saul Rosenberg, Chief Content Officer

This past summer, we launched the first issue of the Nielsen Journal of Measurement, a new publication devoted to the technical and methodological measurement work happening every day at Nielsen. Today, we are releasing the second issue.

Technical advances can generally be categorized into two groups: those that seek innovative ways to adapt existing systems and processes to the demands of an evolving marketplace; and those that bring an entirely new perspective, opening the door to brand new capabilities.

It’s no different in the world of measurement. Through decades of evolution, the market research industry has developed extraordinary systems to understand consumer behavior. Today, those systems allow us to measure purchasing and media viewing activity with much greater precision and granularity than before; and in the inaugural issue of the journal, we offered examples of how far some of those systems and processes have developed. In this issue, we’re turning our attention to technical advances of the second kind: entirely new techniques that constitute paradigm shifts in how we approach market research.

One of those paradigm shifts relates to the adoption of neuroscience techniques in the commercial sphere. In a paper by Michael E. Smith and Carl Marci, we examine the tools and techniques of today’s consumer neuroscience, the theories they draw from, and the consumer behaviors and market dynamics they are helping to unveil—particularly in the field of video advertising. This paper also outlines recent advances we’ve made by applying a number of different tools to the same case studies.

Another such shift comes from our ability to perform ad effectiveness analysis at an unprecedented level of precision by marrying the enormous amount of data generated by the wide adoption of store loyalty cards with a detailed understanding of individuals’ exposure to ad campaigns. In a paper by Paulina Berkovich and Leslie Wood, we examine the processes involved in conducting this type of single-source data analysis today.

Finally, in a paper by Tamas Gaspar and Siew-Sim Lim, we share details about a proof-of-concept project in the U.K., in which we are piloting the use of smartphone cameras, advanced optical character reading algorithms, and modern crowdsourcing techniques to capture grocery receipts directly from consumers. These techniques make it possible to streamline data collection from consumers and gather purchase data where point-of-sale data isn’t readily available.

As in the inaugural issue of the journal, we begin this issue with four “snapshots.” These short accounts provide updates on what we’re working on in important areas, and we hope to develop them into complete treatments in forthcoming issues of the journal.

For a look at some of the groundbreaking work Nielsen is doing in market research today, check out Volume 1, Issue 2 of the Nielsen Journal of Measurement.