Nielsen China partners with Sina Weibo to enhance DAR offerings

The company also rolls out Digital Brand Effect for the first time in China.

Nielsen and Sina Weibo executives at yesterday's launch event in Shanghai.
Nielsen and Sina Weibo executives at yesterday's launch event in Shanghai.

Nielsen China has teamed up with Sina Weibo in a data partnership to enhance the offering of its Digital Ad Ratings, dubbed "DAR 2.0", two years after the company first rolled out this digital ad measurement offering, developed with Tencent, in China. The company also announced the launch of Digital Brand Effect in China during the Nielsen-Weibo Marketing Summit held in Shanghai Tuesday.

Following the collaboration with Weibo, Nielsen will be able to improve granularity of audience measurement in DAR to include household income level, number of children in the household and car ownership status, on top of age and gender information previously available. Weibo currently has 340 milion users in the mainland.

Excluding China, Nielsen works with Facebook and Twitter in DAR for the other markets. The most recent regional launch of this product was in Hong Kong in March. The service is available in 29 markets worldwide. 

Speaking to the press after the launch, Vishal Bali, managing director of Nielsen China, said viewability will be added to the metrics in DAR 2.0, although it is still a work-in-progress. Metrics already available in the earlier version include unique audiences, reach, frequency and iGRP.

"A lot of measurement is focussed on impressions but not the audience," Bali said. "What is different from this launch compared to the first version is that it gives you enhanced demographics, (so that) targeting becomes much more granular and effective." He maintained that the expanded user database would not lead to overlap between Weibo and Tencent users but rather improve unduplicated audience measurement.

"When users login to Weibo and QQ on their phones, we will know that they have two logins. Then we would do matching and callibration and all that algorithm, which helps us to clarify," said Bali. "One of the biggest challenges in digital measurement is cross-screen [usage]. Everyone can be a king in one of the silos, but to do it across channels, devices and platforms, this is where audience measurement comes into place."

Vishal Bali

Compared with other markets, unduplicated reach by frequency and location presents higher potential in China, as interest in this feature is already high from international publishers, Bali said. He pointed out that China is one of the few markets that has not moved on from cookies while local context demands that Nielsen focus more on fraud detection and viewability, although the core offerings of the products remain the same across all markets. Meanwhile, Digital Campaign Ratings, an offering avaliable in the US, has yet to reach Chinese shores. "We are continously looking at market potential, depending on that, we will take the call," said Bali when asked if DCR will be introduced in China.

On the new Digital Brand Effect offering, Bali said the key metrics are about brand lift, to help advertisers optimise and change their strategy to achieve better efficiency. "For any given campaign, it is not about how many you reach, but whether the campaign actually gives you the lift you needed, from a reaction perspective, and whether it is offereed in the right context," said Bali.

Through the collaboration with Weibo, Nielsen is able to increase tags and push questions to Weibo subscribers and the targeted group when a campaign is running, although DBE can be applied across all other platforms.

"On Weibo, we ask them questions such as intent of buying, if they want to recommend the products to others," Bali said. "Based on that, we can find out for a given campaign, if you do a certain way of optimising to the exposed audience, does it give a better lift compared to the control group."

Despite the rise of other platforms and restrictions placed on video streaming recently, Bali said Weibo remains an attractive platform. "Every social media company would have their own engagement strategies," he said. "If you look at its 340 million userbase, it's a large sizeable base, what we are interested in measurement is leveraging on that powerful data."

Yajuan Wang, vice president of business operations at Weibo, who spoke during the launch event, said the platform's strength lies in its rich entertainment content and wide segmentation of topics. "It is an interactive site that drives engagement from the audience, this is an important feature for brands when they measure the brand lift factor," said Wang.

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