Nielsen, ComScore Battle for Online Audience Ratings

As viewers increasingly turn to Facebook and Twitter to talk about television, advertisers have been looking for a way to translate online engagement into ratings. According to AdAge, ComScore is ready with a new standard for measuring online audiences that could rival Nielsen’s.

ComScore’s new Validated Campaign Essentials (VCE) would make sure people see at least 50 percent of the pixels of every online ad for at least one second.  This would create “viewable impressions” that would only be counted when viewed, as outlined in the Making Measurement Make Sense initiative (3MS) to standardize digital measurement.

The Media Rating Council (MRC) that governs audience measurement will formally audit VCE in mid-April before voting on its accreditation. A pre-audit of the system yielded favorable results, according to ComScore chief research officer Josh Chasin.

Nielsen, which currently has the monopoly on television ratings, is working on a similar metric that will be tested this month. The company has already secured MRC accreditation for its Online Campaign Ratings (OCR) system. Similar to television, OCR provides age and sex demographics through anonymous Facebook data, as well as online gross rating points (GRPs) that measure what percentage of the target audience an ad has reached multiplied by how often the audience has seen it during a particular campaign.

The 3MS group, a collaboration between the ANA, IAB, and 4A’s advertising organizations, has been looking for ways to translate online advertisements into identifiable units akin to 30-second commercials and then measure their effectiveness not just by the number of impressions served, but how often they are viewed and whether they’ve reached the target audience.  It seems that ComScore and Nielsen are each closing in on a solution. 3MS will be sending out public-service announcements from the Ad Council to test out both systems this month.

AdAge has a thorough analysis of what this means for the advertising industry here.

Image by Andrea Danti via Shutterstock

Related: Three things Advertisers Can Expect from Social TV in 2012

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