Nielsen, Facebook to Track Ad Effectiveness on Social Network

The Nielsen Company and Facebook this week formed a multi-year, strategic alliance to help marketers better use the Internet to develop and market new products.

The alliance combines Palo Alto, Calif.-based Facebook’s global consumer reach with Nielsen’s market research expertise to provide enhanced insight and information to marketers around the world.

“Facebook is an increasingly vital link between consumers and brands,” said John Burbank, CEO of Nielsen’s online division. “We will now be able to add deep knowledge of this important social network to our unmatched media measurement and consumer insight across all three screens. Together, we will be able to provide the missing elements to clients seeking better understanding of how Web content and online advertising affect consumer behavior.”

The first product of the collaboration, Nielsen BrandLift, is designed to provide marketers with effectiveness measurement for Facebook advertising. It will launch in the United States with select test partners this week and roll out to all Facebook advertisers in the coming months. BrandLift uses opt-in polls on Facebook’s homepage to measure consumer attitudes and purchase intent from display advertising that has appeared on the site.

“Nielsen is the leader in measurement and is an excellent partner for us as we look to provide marketers with richer ad effectiveness data,” said Sheryl Sandberg, COO of Facebook. “The combination of our unique ability to quickly and effectively poll a sample of our more than 300 million users and Nielsen’s expertise in data analysis will give marketers access to powerful data they can use to understand and improve current and future campaigns.”

Nielsen BrandLift measures aided awareness, ad recall, message association, brand favorability and purchase consideration via a set of short, specially designed one- or two-question surveys. The surveys collect the information marketers need as a seamless part of the Facebook user experience.

Working directly with Facebook’s advertising clients, Schaumburg, Ill.-based Nielsen will conduct hundreds of Nielsen BrandLift tests over the coming months. The frequency of the surveys will be carefully controlled to limit any one user from being asked to participate too often. No personally identifiable information will be collected as part of this program.

The surveys will appear on Facebook’s homepage in the same space where people see sponsored messages today, with a look, feel and functionality that fit neatly into the existing Facebook experience.

According to Nielsen, the benefits that the partnership will deliver include:

--Accuracy: With the more than 300 million people on Facebook and Nielsen’s statistical and measurement expertise, Nielsen BrandLift will deliver exceptionally accurate data on advertising performance
--Speed: Nielsen BrandLift will provide information back to advertisers remarkably fast, enabling rapid campaign optimization
--Ease: Nielsen BrandLift surveys are simple to create and implement, taking much of the upfront work out of the typical creation process
Total estimated U.S. online advertising spend was down 2 percent year-over-year, from an August 2008 estimated spend of $723 million to an estimated spend for August 2009 of $711 million.

Year-over-year, estimated online advertising spend on the top social network and blogging sites increased 119 percent, from approximately $49 million in August 2008 to approximately $108 million in August 2009.

The share of estimated ad spend on the top social network and blogging sites has grown from a 7 percent share of total online ad spend in August 2008 to a 15 percent share in August 2009.

Facebook has seen significant growth as an important Web site for advertising, with a 14.7 percent share of display ad views in the United States in August 2009, up from 1.8 percent in January 2009.

Time spent on network and blogging sites accounted for 17 percent of all time spent on the Internet in August 2009, nearly triple the percentage of time spent on the sector a year ago. In August 2009, Facebook had the fourth-largest unique audience in the United States among all Web brands, with approximately 104 million users.

In August 2009, Facebook had the most time per user spent on the site among the top Web brands, with an average of 5 hours, 46 minutes and 4 seconds.
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