Google has teamed up with Nielsen to offer demographic data to advertisers in its TV Ads program. Google is currently working with distributors EchoStar and San Francisco Bay Area cable provider Astound. Nielsen demographic data are being combined with “aggregated set-top box data” in the new program to offer the information about audiences. Nielsen extrapolates its data from a sample of something under 20,000 US residences.
I asked Google in email about the reliability of Nielsen’s demographic data and about geotargeting capabilities in the program and received the following response from Keval Desai, Product Manager Director for Google TV Ads:
We rely on Nielsen for the accuracy of the demographic data.
Today, our TV ads platform supports geographic targeting to a limited extent. Advertisers can target their ad nationally or regionally, where the regional targeting is currently limited to the region covered by our cable MSO partner Astound Cable. As we add more partners with local TV ad inventory, we will be able to offer advertisers additional local geotargeting options.
This was also an interesting line in the release: “Moving forward, Google and Nielsen will explore a number of other opportunities to work together to measure online and other media.” That of course could mean performance tracking and audience measurement for a range of traditional media, mobile, and/or social media. But I would guess offline and mobile would be the two areas ripe for collaboration.
The deal also signals something of a détente from earlier this year, when Nielsen executives spoke with anxiety of Google’s TV measurement plans during presentations at industry conferences and in calls with Wall Street analysts.
During an Advertising Research Foundation conference in New York in April, Nielsen Co. CEO David Calhoun expressed some anxiety, as well as some upside in Google’s inroads into television. “Our only choice is to think about Google as creating opportunity,” Calhoun said, repeating: “Our only choice.”
Here’s our earlier write-up of the TV Ads launch.