Wednesday, February 07, 2007
OT: In College? Nielsen Says You Didn't Count — Until Last Week
The topic also arose during the recent Church vs. Super Bowl dustup, in which the excrement ran downhill from Nielsen (which wants to keep people at home so it doesn't screw up their statistical models of what constitutes a "household" and thus ultimate viewership) to the NFL and thence to the beatdown at Indianapolis' Fall Creek Baptist Church. The supposition — one I've made, as well — is that Nielsen ought to at least have a half a clue about measuring TV audiences because they tend to be larger than Internet audiences. Nonetheless, criticism of their methods of even that task is ancient, dating back at least to the TV diary (long abandoned in favor of set-top snoops).
But now comes word that Nielsen hadn't been doing their job so well in measuring college students, and for the first time, college student viewing habits in dorms are being recorded. As a result, "Grey's Anatomy" and "Ugly Betty" recorded record-high ratings, and other shows, such as "Scrubs", saw significant boosts in their numbers.
Advertising on the Internet has made it possible, for the first time, to have exquisitely detailed information on how people react to advertisements. The first phase of this was for customers to act on the old complaint, "I know I'm spending too much by half, but I don't know which half." Armed with response and subsequent action data (i.e., maybe some users clicked through to the target site, but did they buy once there?), advertisers can filter those things that work, and with the immense inventory websites permit, to cut their costs to the bare minimum. As television (and media generally) becomes more and more like the Internet (smaller, flightier audiences with more channel choices), advertisers will demand better quality reporting — just like they get from the Internet.
I'd be willing to bet that at least 75% of all ad click-throughs are accidental. I'm pretty sure at least 95% of the time I click on an ad, I didn't mean to.
There's still a ton of room for improvement in making advertising more cost-effective.