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Groundbreaking Research Shows Ability of Neuroscience Measures to Predict In-Market Sales Results

Study by CBS, Nielsen Consumer Neuroscience, Nielsen Catalina Solutions Demonstrates Significant Opportunity to Optimize Advertising Creative using Neuroscience

New York, NY – June 13, 2016 – In a major study of integrated consumer neuroscience tools, a combination of EEG, biometric and facial coding consumer responses was shown to have extremely high explanatory power of in-market sales. The results focused on measures of ad creative, according to a groundbreaking collaborative study between CBS, Nielsen Consumer Neuroscience and Nielsen Catalina Solutions.

The five-month study, which was released today at The Advertising Research Foundation’s Audience Measurement 2016 conference, used multiple neuroscience measures, ad exposure and actual retail purchase data. The results showed meaningful, statistically significant relationships between individual neuroscience measures and in-store sales for the same creative executions.

When used separately, the relationship to sales of the individual metrics ranged from a low of 9% for facial coding to a high of 62% for electroencephalography (EEG).The study showed that the integration of multiple neuroscience measures results in up to 77% explanatory power with in-store sales, providing marketers with unprecedented research potential. Because of this work, Nielsen Consumer Neuroscience is able to calibrate these neuroscience measures for clients’ creative to predict in-market success.

“As a result of the partnership with Nielsen at our Television City Research Center in Las Vegas, we are excited to now offer an array of new neuroscience measures for pre-testing advertising,” said David Poltrack, Chief Research Officer, CBS Corporation and President, CBS Vision. “These tools enable us to offer advertisers a unique opportunity to assure that their creative will deliver before they move forward with their campaigns.”

In the first formal study using Nielsen Consumer Neuroscience’s new Video Ad Explorer solution, the study represents the most comprehensive look at connecting neurometric, biometric and facial coding responses to advertising with what consumers purchase in the store.

Nearly 60 video ads from consumer packaged goods companies, ranging from adult beverages and soft drinks to women’s beauty products and diapers, were evaluated in multiple lab locations across the U.S. The incremental sales generated by the specific TV schedules for those same ads were then determined by Nielsen Catalina Solutions using their single source dataset. This dataset included 4.3 million cable set-top-box households and retail purchase behavior from more than 90 million households and is nationally representative.

There are hundreds of different metrics within EEG, core biometrics, and facial coding that can be generated for a single ad based on complex brainwave patterns, heart rate, skin conductance and patterns of facial expression. The study confirmed the importance of multiple measures and gives new insights into the right combination to predict in-store sales.

“We believe this is the holy grail for marketers: confidence in knowing creative’s potential impact on the bottom line – before it ever enters the market,” said Dr. Carl Marci, Chief Neuroscientist at Nielsen Consumer Neuroscience. “However, not all neuroscience measures are created equal. We’ve learned that only a few key combinations have the predictive power for in-market sales.”

Ad reactive is complex and difficult to measure, with many points of view, methods and measures, but it also remains central to in-market success. In today’s increasingly cluttered landscape, with billions of dollars in advertising at stake, the pressure to break through is immense, and marketers needs to get all of the marketing mix elements correct, including distribution, promotion and pricing. For advertisers, agencies and media partners, these results demonstrate the tools that can effectively evaluate the most critical element of advertising – the ad creative – before reaching the market.

“Every marketer wants to be able to answer the question ‘But did it work?’ with a definitive ‘Yes.'” Now, there’s no doubt that neuromeasures can actually predict whether an ad will drive in-store sales,” said Leslie Wood, Chief Research Officer at Nielsen Catalina Solutions. “A key piece of this analysis was to be able to isolate the sales impact of the creative from the media tactics, using advanced machine learning to do the heavy lifting.”

Nielsen Consumer Neuroscience’s Video Ad Explorer integrates the most comprehensive suite of best-in-class neuroscience technologies. By evaluating creative with measures from EEG, core biometrics, facial coding, eye tracking and self-report, brands are empowered to unlock consumer insights and unravel the complexities of advertising development.


Nielsen Holdings plc (NYSE: NLSN) is a global performance management company that provides a comprehensive understanding of what consumers Watch and Buy. Nielsen’s Watch segment provides media and advertising clients with Total Audience measurement services across all devices where content—video, audio and text—is consumed. The Buy segment offers consumer packaged goods manufacturers and retailers the industry’s only global view of retail performance measurement. By integrating information from its Watch and Buy segments and other data sources, Nielsen provides its clients with both world-class measurement as well as analytics that help improve performance. Nielsen, an S&P 500 company, has operations in over 100 countries that cover more than 90% of the world’s population. For more information, visit


Nielsen Consumer Neuroscience is dedicated to delivering unprecedented understanding of consumer decision making, providing brands with insights essential to making informed business and marketing decisions. With the research industry’s most complete suite of neuroscience based tools – often integrated with traditional measures – Nielsen Consumer Neuroscience offers unique insights based on both non-conscious and conscious responses central to consumer emotions and behaviors. We specialize in optimizing the effectiveness of video advertising, digital advertising, packaging and in-store elements, including the ability to test in neuro-labs and in more natural environments. Research is led by a team of 20 neuroscientists and supported by a Science Advisory Board comprising members from leading academic institutions. Our team has authored more than 550 peer-reviewed articles and won more than a dozen Great Mind Awards. With a patent portfolio that is the largest in the neurotechnology industry and offices around the globe, brands can deploy our breakthrough methodologies virtually anywhere at any time. For more information, visit:


CBS Corporation (NYSE: CBS.A and CBS) is a mass media company that creates and distributes industry-leading content across a variety of platforms to audiences around the world. The Company has businesses with origins that date back to the dawn of the broadcasting age as well as new ventures that operate on the leading edge of media. CBS owns the most-watched television network in the U.S. and one of the world’s largest libraries of entertainment content, making its brand — “the Eye” — one of the most recognized in business. The Company’s operations span virtually every field of media and entertainment, including cable, publishing, radio, local TV, film, and interactive and socially responsible media. CBS’s businesses include CBS Television Network, The CW (a joint venture between CBS Corporation and Warner Bros. Entertainment), CBS Television Studios, CBS Global Distribution Group (CBS Studios International and CBS Television Distribution), CBS Consumer Products, CBS Home Entertainment, CBS Interactive, CBS Films, Showtime Networks, CBS Sports Network, Pop (a joint venture between CBS Corporation and Lionsgate), Smithsonian Networks, Simon & Schuster, CBS Television Stations, CBS Radio and CBS EcoMedia. For more information, go to


Nielsen Catalina Solutions (NCS) is a purchase-based ad targeting and ROAS measurement firm serving the CPG industry. We integrate in-store purchase data from over 90 MM households with media exposure data from TV, online, mobile, print, radio and CRM to help consumer packaged goods advertisers, agencies and media companies define their most valuable audience, reach them with advertising and measure incremental sales from the campaign. The joint venture between Nielsen and Catalina has helped over 200 advertisers and 450+ brands optimize ad performance to drive revenue growth and increase return on ad spend. Visit us at to learn more.


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