Recently, Nielsen announced that the company will enhance its national television measurements by providing a more granular measurement of the audience based on individual commercial ads rather than on general commercial time slots, as they do now. This move comes as the major networks have started building out their own methods of measuring ads amid frustrations with Nielsen’s rating system compared to streaming platforms’ more accurate ad ratings.

This update has major implications for television networks, marketing companies, and consumer products. But before we can understand this change and the effect it will have, a better understanding of Nielsen itself and the measurements they provide is needed.

Nielsen is a household name in America. Most of us know the company as the one that measures audience attendance on cable TV shows, but beyond that, Americans’ knowledge on how their measurements are taken and the implications it has on consumer marketing is minimal.

Nielsen measures how many households with a TV set watched a specific program and how many households with TVs on at any given time were watching a specific program. They do this by opting households into a login program that  tracks and surveys a household’s television usage. This Forbes article lays out an easy to understand example:

“Let’s say Game of Thrones has a 5.5 household rating/9 share. We can break this into two parts. The 5.5 simply means that 5.5% of all households with a TV set watched the program, The 9 means that 9% of households with TVs that were watching at that given time were tuned into the program.”

These metrics are often talked about by the general public. For instance, we’ll hear in the news about how many viewers tuned in for the Presidential State of the Union Address or how many watched the Super Bowl. But the most important measurement that the casual viewer is unaware of are the commercial audience metrics. Nielsen calls these C3 and C7. They provide data on how many are viewing ads across stations at all different times.

For example, the Monday at 7pm time slot on NBC might have higher audience viewership than CBS at the same time and on the same day. This guides companies and ad agencies on how and at what time and on what channel may be best to buy an ad for their product or service. For the networks, it determines what pricing for that specific time slot should be.

Nielsen’s new measurement of individual ads will provide greater detail on what type of ad receives the most viewership beyond simply measuring what time slot on what station or during which show receives the most viewership. More precise data will elevate the ability to micro target consumer products to the specific demographic of viewers watching television.

So what does this have to do with you and your organization? A lot! It’s an excellent reminder of the significance you should place on data and analytics. Whether it been publicly available data, polling,

Whether you are running an advocacy campaign, fundraising for a nonprofit, or selling a product to consumers, data on your targeted audience helps to determine where to allocate your limited time, energy, and resources- Quite literally getting the most “bang for your buck.” A winning strategy for an organization is one that takes these metrics into account.

At K2 and Co., we implement well-rounded communications and social media plans for our clients that incorporate these measurements. The old adage of “knowing your audience” still rings true. Our technology driven culture is constantly producing new innovations in the way of knowing your audience and the K2 team utilizing all this information into planning and executing a strategy that brings you results.