July 24, 2012
By Amy Maclean
Nielsen has launched its Innovation Lab, a program to spur ideas and advancements in advertising effectiveness, and it’s looking for help from all. While Stanford Graduate School of Business is the first collaborator, Nielsen wants input from the industry, said Scott McKinley, Executive Vice President, Advertising Effectiveness, Nielsen.
“We will absolutely be working with all the parties at the table, particularly networks” he said. “While we’ve enjoyed decades of relatively stable, trusted measures for reach in television, [it] could be improved by figuring out outcome metrics for television so that an advertiser can understand how a television buy impacts sales. Television, let’s face it, is absolutely the biggest allocation of dollars today and as the measurement improves for digital there is pressure on TV to come up to par with where digital is going.”
The Lab’s main project is “solving the question of cross media advertising effectiveness,” according to McKinley. Other areas of import include studying advertising effectiveness for mobile.
With so much riding on ad dollars, the community is always looking for Nielsen to do more, faster. “We all know that even television itself is changing dramatically in terms of how people consume it, and we all need to be receptive as an industry to come up with new ways to keep up with consumers,” McKinley said. That’s the whole point of Innovation Lab—to move quickly, working with start-ups and others.
The Stanford partnership is significant because the school has already been doing work on how to better engage with the social world. McKinley hopes the Lab is able to collaborate with “whomever the smartest minds are in the world on a given subject,” adding that it shouldn’t hold Nielsen back even if it means reaching out to a competitor. No word yet on future collaborators, but he said the enthusiasm being shown for the project has been surprising—“from academic partners to clients on the media side, publishing side and advertising side… We can’t bring on 200 partners tomorrow… because of the normal complications of running an organization like this, but we will use ongoing partners to help with this collaboration.”