Nielsen Launches Digital Audio Measurement

Accurate and reliable measurement has become even more important to buyers and planners as the number of available media continues to expand. It’s no longer about a vague placement of “digital advertising,” but, specifically, it’s about digital radio, social media, podcasts, pre-rolls and more.

The challenge is that it takes time and resources to perfect the technology needed to appropriately measure all of these vastly different media (that morph and change by the nanosecond!). Buyers and planners have been clamoring for reliable online radio ratings for more than a decade and Nielsen is now rolling out a tool to begin shedding light on who’s listening online and how they’re using these new media.

Nielsen Digital Audio Ratings has just launched, and it will measure over-the-air radio listening across mobile apps and web players regardless of ad model and device—smartphones, tablets or computers. It covers digital streams of AM/FM radio stations and electronic radio stations across the 48 Portable People Meter (PPM) markets.

The launch is part of Nielsen’s total audience initiative, which endeavors to provide comparable metrics across traditional and digital platforms–something agencies and clients have been requesting for quite some time!  The Nielsen Digital Audio Ratings service, which is initially collecting data on 2,500 station streams, measures the extension of broadcast radio to streaming environments. It uses what Nielsen describes as “a census-style measurement approach and demographic information from third-party data providers” which is then matched up with Nielsen’s PPM panel.

The unveiling of measurement tools like these will hopefully be a trend that continues as agencies and clients try to understand who and how many of our core demographics are being reached online. More and more radio reps include streaming or online station features as part of their overall annual proposals and, as of late, they’ve had less than substantial support when offering them as options to clients.  Nielsen’s audio ratings can help quantify broadcast radio’s online consumption. By April 2016, subscribing clients will be able to obtain access to the new Nielsen data related to their own media properties as well as those of other subscribers.

As media options for consumers and businesses continue to splinter, one can only hope the proper audience measurement will follow. Ultimately a solidly supported media plan ensures an impactful message is efficiently delivered.

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