WHAT: Google has let Nielsen test its measurement tools on the company’s YouTube video platform. Google already has allowed Nielsen’s online rival, comScore, to run tests of its analysis tools on the YouTube platform. Once fully deployed, Nielsen and comScore would be able to provide third-party verification for the performance of ad campaigns on YouTube. A Google representative tells Billboard that the two services are expected to be broadly available to advertisers by “early next year.” Google’s arrangements with Nielsen and comScore are a break from its earlier stance of barring third-party measurement tools from YouTube.
WHY: YouTube has been laser-focused on monetizing, and the video juggernaut sees big brands as a key component of that effort. But one of the things holding brands back from going all in with YouTube advertising is the lack of third-party metrics that give them an apples-to-apples comparison of a campaign’s performance with other media, such as TV or online display ads. “We know our clients want meaningful measurement, which is why we’re investing in brand-friendly metrics,” Google said in a statement. “While we continue to build measurement options powered by Google, we’re also partnering with industry leaders, such as Nielsen and comScore, to offer objective, credentialed, third-party measurement options.” This is potentially big news for the music business, given that a huge amount of value and revenue has shifted to the YouTube ecosystem, most notably multichannel networks like Fullscreen and Maker Studios as well as major partners like Vevo. The more ad dollars that move to YouTube, the better for the music business ultimately.
WHO: Nielsen has comfortably ruled the TV audience and music sales measurement business for decades, but its online ad measurement tool — Online Campaign Ratings — doesn’t yet enjoy the same dominance. Among its chief rivals is comScore, whose Validated Campaign Essentials is similar to Nielsen’s OCR. However, Google notes that it’s also developing its own ratings tools. “We continue to build measurement options powered by Google,” the company said in a statement.
IF: Will third-party measurement data remove brands’ lingering doubts about YouTube’s efficacy as a marketing vehicle and lead to a surge in ad dollars? That is, quite literally, the multimillion-dollar question. “We have previously heard firsthand that at the individual media agency level, as much as tens of millions of dollars of advertising budgets have been left on the table at several agencies because of Google’s refusal to allow OCR tags,” Pivotal Research Group analyst Brian Wieser wrote in a note to investors on the Nielsen integration.