Nielsen is developing an identity resolution solution to help advertisers measure audiences across platforms after third-party cookies and other mainstay identifiers go ta-ta.
“We’ve been working aggressively on our cross-platform journey for the last couple of years,” said Mainak Mazumdar, Nielsen’s chief data officer. “But we accelerated this when we started to see what was happening on the digital side of the business.”
Nielsen’s ID resolution solution won’t be baked until 2021. The plan is to roll it out in phases starting in early Q1.
Eventually, it will be available to support measurement across Nielsen’s suite of audience reporting products, including Digital Ad Ratings (DAR), Total Ad Ratings, Digital Content Ratings, Total Content Ratings, Digital in TV Ratings, Nielsen Attribution and Nielsen Campaign Lift.
Unlike most ID systems, which are used for targeting, Nielsen’s ID resolution methodology will be squarely focused on measurement, and that’s an important distinction, Mazumdar said.
“As opposed to targeting, where IDs can be ephemeral and change based on campaigns and targets, we need a persistent ID because we’re looking at the deduplication of audiences across all of the platforms where they were exposed to an ad,” he said. “It has to be the same across digital, linear, local, addressable and CTV and all other platforms.”
Nielsen’s approach to ID resolution will involve three components: the ability to accurately tie the signals coming from different devices and platforms to impressions and eventually translating those devices into an actual person via the Nielsen ID; to do so consistently across channels; and to validate this process against the Nielsen panel.
“The only reason we think this is going to work is because of our panel,” Mazumdar said. “It’s a ground truth that we can use to validate every ID and target.”
Nielsen will use machine learning to match ad engagement and exposure signals to resolve which devices belong to which people.
Interoperability is key
Nielsen’s work on ID resolution dovetails with the recent announcement that it will support the Unified ID 2.0 initiative being spearheaded by The Trade Desk. The plan there is to help The Trade Desk improve the measurement-related pieces of UID 2.0.
A key aspect of Nielsen’s forthcoming ID resolution solution is that it will be interoperable with other IDs, including identifiers that are used for targeting.
Advertisers can target using other IDs, Mazumdar said, and then measure with the Nielsen ID.
“For example, if you’re targeting The Trade Desk ID for buying digital, that could be measured with Nielsen, or the same is true if you’re targeting addressable homes or local or YouTube,” he said. “And that’s because our data and infrastructure is designed to be interoperable with their ID systems.”
Nielsen is planning to get its new methodology, which is essentially an input into its existing currency product, accredited by the Media Rating Council to make sure it meets the industry standards for audience measurements.
In other recent Nielsen news, the company is also working on an update to its TV currency to measure addressable advertising. And, earlier this week, Vizio Ads said that it would start using Nielsen’s DAR to measure digital audience metrics across Smartcast inventory on Vizio smart TVs.