Interviews, insight & analysis on digital media & marketing

Q&A: Paul Barnard of Nielsen Marketing Cloud talks contextual, omnichannel and brand metrics

With NDA’s latest Trinity Lunch event just days away, we sat down with some of the event’s sponsors to ask why they have agreed to get involved, and what their thoughts are on the current state of the industry. Here, NDA speaks to Paul Barnard – Country Lead, Nielsen Marketing Cloud… 

Why is your organisation sponsoring NDA’s Winter Trinity Lunch?

The Trinity Lunch has become a key date in the media industries calendar. The lunch is inclusive of all parts of the ecosystem (Advertiser, Agencies, Publisher. Platform etc) which reflects the wide client base that Nielsen operates.  Nielsen works with clients across a great breadth and depth of solutions including Activation, Analytics, Planning, Measurement, Outcomes, Content and Sports.  So the e event is a perfect fit for our business and offers a great opportunity to interact with the industry in one forum in an informal manner.

What are the big priorities for your organisation in the new year?

The Marketing Cloud’s core priority is to enable Clients to have continuity of audience across all digital buying channels and to access that audience through their internal solutions. As the market continues to evolve and fragment Nielsen is dedicated to ensure the same Nielsen audiences can be accessed wherever required e.g Contextual, Display. Social, Native, CTV & DOOH. 

In addition to Audiences, a key priority for us is the launch of Nielsen Brand Impact SAAS. Top funnel brand metrics like awareness are the most important measurement capabilities for marketers (source 2021 Nielsen Annual Marketing Report). Our answer to this is a solution offering a self-serve platform for the creation and deployment of brand lift surveys enabling Clients to understand the uplift of their marketing activity. We are excited to launch the product which offers a scalable, turnkey solution for the ecosystem whilst ensuring the integrity and agnostic verification, which is synonymous with the Nielsen brand.

What are the biggest issues your clients/customers are facing right now?

In the current environment, a key challenge for Clients is to keep up to speed with the fast moving pace of the industry. The redaction of cookies and IDFA, creation of new walled gardens and privacy considerations are all contributing to disruption to the traditional way in which digital media is traded. This disruption, however, also creates great opportunity, and Clients are having to focus on understanding which combination of marketing activities offer scale and quality and are also geared for the future. 

Are your customers/partners testing ‘cookieless’ ad targeting and measurement solutions?

Yes, absolutely. A significant portion of the Nielsen Marketing Cloud business already operates without cookies. Our proprietary Identity resolution is built from deterministic data sources and offers connectivity across the ecosystem. Clients are already using cookieless solutions for audience activation across many channels such Social, Digital Audio, DOOH and CTV.  In terms of software, Nielsen’s Data Management Platform (DMP) has always been ID agnostic and can operate using a Clients 1st party allowing clients to segment, activate and analyse their own data in great depth.

Recent Nielsen initiatives include the launch of ‘Nielsen Contextual+’ which provides both scale and precision in a cookieless world by combining the best of contextual and behavioural targeting. Utilising Nielsen’s O&O data assets we are able to make informed decisions about the characteristics of users who are likely to be reading certain types of content.  The launch of our self-serve Brand Impact tool is currently in beta across multiple clients, offering scaled campaign measurement without a dependence on cookies.

Are there any other noteworthy trends in your marketplace right now?

We are seeing lots of interesting developments in the market. Clients are looking to bridge the gap between their Planning and Activation strategies.  Given our global expertise in planning solutions, we are well placed to assist hereOur breadth of planning tools, survey capabilities and data universe allow us to build Activation segments which are directly linked to the audiences clients plan their media activity against.

We are also seeing a key development in the way that Clients plan and activate their media. Increasingly we are seeing Clients look to deploy a more synchronised, omni channel approach to media activation. As referenced above, a key priority of Nielsen is to facilitate this for clients, striving for Nielsen audiences to be the conduit which can bring these disparate digital channels together.

Additionally, we are seeing a focus from advertisers on building their own 1st party data strategies. This can be an especially daunting task if historically the brand has not had a direct to consumer link. This is also an area in which we are supporting our clients, helping to maximise their 1PD by offering best in class modelling capabilities and data enrichment through our proprietary Visual DNA surveying technology. 

From a personal perspective, is the advertising industry moving in the right direction? 

Overall I would say yes. The industry finds itself in a period of unparalleled disruption. Key technological and legislative changes are ripping up the rule book and forcing companies to adapt and evolve their offering and strategies. There has been some exciting, significant innovation in a relatively short space of time, however, there is still a lot more to come.