Comscore VS Nielsen: Popular Media Measurements Explained

Most people have likely heard the name Nielsen or Comscore before, but most likely haven’t taken the time to truly understand what these companies do, why they’re so important for the advertising industry, and how they can determine the success, or failure, of an advertising campaign. If you’re currently running an ad campaign for your business, or you’re considering embarking on one, and you’d like some extra insight into how these companies operate, read on.

Nielsen and Comscore are media measurement companies that use scientific methods to monitor the habits of people’s media consumption across the country, specifically television. Ad agencies base their ad placement decisions on the data these companies collect. Seeing as how large the advertising industry is, understanding this data and how to apply it to campaigns is vitally important to success.

There are several different metrics these companies monitor, including TV ratings, viewership shares, cumulative audiences, impressions, HUT & PUT levels, reach, frequency, turnover, and many more. There are also several different ways to collect this data. Companies like Nielsen and Comscore monitor individual viewing habits with people meters, they can monitor data using cable boxes, or they can collect viewing diaries and questionnaires that consumers fill out and return to the company.

For the average person, truly understanding what all these terms mean and how to analyze them correctly can be quite challenging. Even more challenging is figuring out the real meaning of the numbers and how to apply that to an advertising campaign. The numbers aren’t as cut and dry as they might seem, which is why having a professional to sort through all this data for you is crucial. These companies have different media measurement techniques and so their results can differ. You need someone who knows how to navigate these confusing scenarios to make the right advertising decisions.

Since there is so much money involved in advertising campaigns, relying on guessing instead of relying on a professional is out of the question. Companies spend billions of dollars based on the data collected from these companies, and networks make programming decisions based on this as well. If those decisions are being made incorrectly, that’s disastrous. In order to get the ROI you need for a successful campaign, getting a dedicated media strategist who can make sense of these different factors is all important.