Posts Tagged ‘nielsen’

Nielsen admits to miscalculating Internet traffic by 22%

November 5th, 2010

Web traffic

One of the top Web traffic data companies in North America has admitted it has been underestimating the amount of time people in the United States spent on the Internet.

The Nielsen Co. says a technical glitch is responsible for its undercounting time spent by 22 percent. Nielsen says the problem stems from its system having difficulty recognizing long URLs.

In a statement obtained by Adage [PDF], Steve Hasker, President of Media Products for Nielsen, said:

We are writing to inform you that we are actively investigating an erroneous decline in our Internet use data. The primary cause is an increasing incidence of websites using very long URLs that are not properly recognized by our systems. When our system attempts to process session data including the very long URLs, which are more than 2,000 bytes in size each, it intermittently does not recognize the session, causing an estimated average 22% decline in time spent year-over-year, which can vary at the domain level.

The company says there are other factors that led to incorrect data to be shared, but those factors were not disclosed. Nielsen is now looking for potential errors in reports it issued in other countries, as well as reports that track online video consumption and Web search traffic.

Nielsen also said:

This investigation, covering every element of our Internet measurement methodology, including the panel, collection capabilities, and processes, and nature of the root cause indicates that we need to do a better job keeping pace with the rapid evolution of the Internet. We are putting new processes in place to add greater rigor to the continuous testing of our methodology and expanding our monitoring for anomalous events. We have also engaged the Media Rating Council (MRC) to review our findings and the additional processes.

The company says the problem will be fixed by the time its December report is published in January 2011.

- Cross-posted to Future of Media

TiVo Partners With Google to Track Fast-Forwarding of TV ads

November 24th, 2009

Giving viewers the ability to fast forward through commercials has always been a big draw to TiVo. But advertisers hate it, as they pay lots of money to keep the pitchmen in your face. So what can advertisers do to find out if their message is being seen or not?

In an announcement made today, TiVo says it is partnering with Google to try and find a solution. The two companies will use data collected from millions of digital video recorders across the United States and track which commercials are being viewed and which aren’t.

The “audience research agreement” between Google and TiVo allow Google to measure performance of ads sold through Google TV Ads platform that run on TiVo.

The terms of the deal were not disclosed.

Google will track data anonymously and collect second-by-second data from TiVo subscribers. The goal is to measure and enhance accountability of advertising impressions. According to a company release, the TiVo sample covers all television signal sources including digital cable, analog cable, satellite, telecom and over-the-air television, in live and timeshifted viewing.

“Google TV Ads is focused on enabling advertisers to target and measure television advertising more effectively,” Mike Steib, Google’s Director of Emerging Platforms, said in a news release. “This deal with TiVo will give advertisers access to even more anonymized viewership data, making Google’s dataset one of the best in the industry. Advertisers can use this data to understand which audiences and ads are most effective, which we think will ultimately lead to more relevant ads for viewers.”

Google TV Ads allows advertisers to track performance of advertising in the 96 million homes it reaches. Since its launch in 2007, Google TV Ads has served more than 100 billion TV ad impressions.

Furthermore, 30 percent of companies who buy ads through Google TV Ads have never advertised on television. Google says its system lowers barriers to entry for advertisers and provides them with better metrics, so it’s no surprise TV ad virgins are signing up.

“Working with Google is an important milestone for our audience research business and represents a shared approach to developing innovative products and services to help the media industry better understand the effectiveness of ad campaigns in an evolving TV landscape,” Todd Juenger, Vice President & General Manager, TiVo Audience Research & Measurement, said in a news release. “Among the many innovative aspects of Google TV Ads, a critical role is in its ability to measure specific commercial ratings not simply averages, which is a key attribute of the TiVo data. By using TiVo’s massive samples and second-by-second granularity in its currency measurement, Google TV Ads can now provide an order of magnitude of improved accountability for advertisers.”

The Google-TiVo experiment presents a formidable challenge to Nielsen Co., the organization currently responsible for tracking TV ratings. Nielsen currently measures and estimates how many people watch a TV program and advertisers base their rates on those numbers. The new Google-TiVo experiment, however, would give advertisers far more information on how their ads are being seen (or not seen).

According to the LA Times, Google already processes 1 billion channel clicks a day from satellite TV customers to determine if ads are being seen or not, as Google has an agreement with EchoStar to sell ads and track data for the Dish Network.