How to Mine Nielsen and comScore Measurement Strengths for Maximum Performance

In the past, determining whether to use Nielsen or comScore measurements was pretty straightforward.  If a buy was being mapped to a traditional TV schedule, Nielsen worked best.  If it had a digital focus, comScore was the obvious choice.  In today’s converging TV and digital video landscape however, the choice is not as clear.

Based on frequent inquiries by many of our customers, we thought we would offer a helpful guide for harnessing the powerful benefits of both companies in the fast approaching unified media environment:

  1. As a general guideline, Nielsen research is best matched with a TV-centric plan, whereas comScore is best suited for digital.
    • If an agency is mapping their media buy around a traditional TV schedule, Nielsen’s TV targeting and Online Campaign Ratings or IAG measurement utilizes the same Nielsen 25,000 people meter that determines traditional TV ratings.
    • Nielsen’s Online Campaign Ratings (OCR) gives visibility into the percentage of impressions that land within a certain demographic target.
    • The Nielsen IAG study provides clarity around performance at the placement level between both digital and traditional TV campaigns, in terms of GRPs or impressions.
    • When planning to buy media around a digital focus with less emphasis around GRPs, comScore indexing and verified Campaign Essentials can provide more clarity into online reach and frequency. ComScore’s site index and measurement tools use the same methodology as their Media Metrix reports, the industry standard for digital media performance & ranking.
  2. Both Nielsen and comScore offer audience validation, giving visibility into in-target delivery at the placement level. Both research studies allow for real-time optimization to best performing placements.
    • If your goal is to optimize your campaign towards GRPs and TV audiences, then Nielsen will be most effective because of their direct tie to TV panelists.
    • If your goal is to optimize against reach & frequency, then comScore will drive the best ROI because of their end-to-end digital media indexing and reporting.
    • In terms of audience validation, Nielsen validates 30% of impressions being run and infers the rest.  ComScore validates 5% of impressions and infers the rest.
  3. Nielsen offers a much broader panel of 160MM users, providing more scale in measurement versus the comScore 2MM user panel, which offers deeper digital data insight.
    • Nielsen has partnered with Facebook to gain access to 160 million users, synced across both platforms providing for a much larger panel.
    • comScore has accumulated  two million users who have installed measurement software on their computers, allowing constant monitoring, demographic information, and individual ad impression history.

At the rate media consumption changes, being familiar with the strengths and limitations of the various data and measurement options is the best strategy to determine what will be most effective with your ad buy. If you’re unsure of that best method though, we advise connecting with your account manager to explore the various ways your current ad platform helps measure the effectiveness of your ad buys.

 Will Jensen, Sales Planner for

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  1. Susan says

    Chris, any merger will llikey have little effect on Google’s standings. The only difference is that instead of a 20% engine and a 10% engine competing against Google, we’ll get a 30% engine competing. Overall, it would make rankings on MSN more valuable to achieve, but in itself won’t dent Google.Now over the long term, if MSN can take that 30% and prove itself then they may be able to slowly gain marketshare against Google. but to do so they really have to have a superior search product.

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