Nielsen adds ratings for YouTube CTV ads as digital viewing surges

Nielsen adds ratings for YouTube CTV ads as digital viewing surges

Dive Brief:


  • Nielsen will include the streaming TV inventory from both YouTube and YouTube TV apps on connected TVs (CTV) in the company's Digital and Total Ad ratings for the first time, per a press release.

  • The move expands Nielsen's YouTube measurement beyond computers and mobile. Measurement will be phased in the first half of 2021, beginning with YouTube TV and then expanding to the YouTube app.

  • As TV viewing evolves with the growth of CTV, Nielsen's measurement of YouTube's streaming TV ad inventory will help it form a more accurate picture of audiences for media buyers and sellers. According to Nielsen, more than 100 million people in the U.S. watch YouTube and YouTube TV on CTV every month.

Dive Insight:


With YouTube accounting for a fifth of all streaming in the U.S. and streaming accounting for a quarter of total TV usage, according to Nielsen, the need for accurate audience measurement is crucial. By including YouTube's connected TV products in its ad ratings, Nielsen can bring together viewer data that may be siloed across platforms, so advertisers can better measure campaign effectiveness.


Adding YouTube's CTV services expands Nielsen's Digital Ad Ratings offering and promises better metrics for buyers and sellers to make deals. Working with YouTube on connected audiences will also help buyers and sellers compare connected TV and addressable programming on linear TV.


"Advertisers are asking for third-party measurement partners like Nielsen to provide a complete view of YouTube and YouTube TV audiences, so they can understand the scale of the audience they're able to reach through CTV campaigns," says Debbie Weinstein, vice president, global solutions for YouTube, in the press release.


Google, which owns YouTube, recently expanded its CTV media buying services, adding YouTube TV to its Display & Video 360 demand-side platform (DSP) and launching Unique Reach Audience reporting to help marketers measure the reach of CTV campaigns. The Nielsen measurement could help advertisers make better choices when using these services.


Streaming viewership has surged during the pandemic as consumers stay sequestered at home. Time on CTV rose 50% and time on linear TV lifted 10% over the past six months, Jack Bamberger, chief commercial officer at Amobee said at Advertising Week, leading brands including Kraft Heinz, MolsonCoors and L'Oréal to tap into CTV growth.


Likewise, eMarketer predicts CTV ad spending will grow 25% this year. Still, marketers may be wary of potential fraud on the platform. In January, a bot network impersonated more than 2 million people and generated 1.9 billion ad requests on CTV programmatic platforms.


This latest move comes as Nielsen is being forced to drastically reorganize its operations due to the pandemic. Last month, the company virtually shutdown its neuromarketing operations, which measured how the brain reacts to media and advertising. In 2021, the company is expected to split into two separate companies, with one focused on media measurement and the other focused on analytics and attribution.