Netflix integrates Nielsen One Ads as it builds out advertising business

Netflix has become the latest media company to integrate its ad-supported product with Nielsen One Ads, the cross-platform analytics product that aims to measure ads across screens, including traditional linear and connected TV.

In a press release on Monday, officials at Nielsen said the arrangement will involve a direct integration of Netflix's first-party data, along with Nielsen’s panel, which is expected to help advertisers gauge the effectiveness of their campaigns on the ad-supported tier of the streaming service and to compare that responsiveness to similar messaging across other platforms.

"As the linear television and digital worlds collide, the need for harmonized, comparable metrics continues to grow," Ameneh Atai, the general manager of audience measurement at Nielsen, said in a statement. "With Nielsen One Ads, we are providing Netflix advertisers the flexibility and simplicity to measure ad performance amid a rapidly-evolving landscape."

Nielsen One was initially announced three years ago as a way to marry and deduplicate audience and advertising data across different platforms as video viewership scatters between traditional broadcast and cable television, connected TV platforms, streaming services, computers and mobile devices.

Nielsen One Ads is the first of two core offerings from Nielsen One, and became available earlier this year. The product promises to deliver "always-on" metrics for digital ad campaigns, regardless of where they show up. For Netflix, Nielsen said it will be able to capture 15- and 30- second pre-roll and mid-roll monetizable ads across CTV, desktop and mobile platforms, allowing measurement of all ads on a digital platform. Netflix advertisers will be able to validate ad performance on the ad-supported tier, including co-viewing metrics. Netflix previously said it would use Nielsen’s Digital Ad Ratings (DAR) in the U.S., with capabilities available sometime in 2023, eventually being reported through Nielsen One Ads.

The integration of Nielsen One Ads into Netflix's ad-supported service comes at a time when the streamer is looking to draw more subscribers to its ad-lite tier, which offers much of the same content as its ad-free plans, but at a lower price to consumers. While the early response to the ad-supported plan was tepid at best, Netflix executives say more price-conscious streamers are switching to it. As of May, the company counted more than 5 million streamers who were watching Netflix content with ads; the company is hoping 40 million streamers will be on its ad-supported plan by the end of this year.

How close Netflix is to reaching that goal remains something of a mystery, including to marketers, who have expressed frustration that the size of the streamer's ad-supported user base — which is dwarfed by streamers who buy ad-lite version of comparable services like Disney+, Hulu and Peacock — makes it difficult to reach specific audience groups, the Wall Street Journal reported in May.

That same month, executives told prospective advertisers that they would be allowed to pick when and where their campaigns run within Netflix's content, the Journal said. Executives affirmed the median age of streamers watching Netflix with Ads was 34 — the sweet spot of the key demographic attractive to TV advertisers (adults who are between 25 and 54 years old).

Integrating with Nielsen One Ads could further attract advertisers, as marketers will be able to compare the effectiveness of their campaigns on Netflix against and in addition to those run on other Nielsen One partner platforms and streaming services, including Hulu and opted-in Roku and Vizio connected TV devices.

Less clear is whether Netflix will also integrate with the other half of the Nielsen One equation, called Nielsen One Content, which is slated to move out of its alpha phase and become more-broadly available next year. But there are promising signs that a partnership could be forthcoming: Earlier this year, Netflix said it would start using some of Nielsen’s audience measurement products to collect and analyze data on what its subscribers in the United States, Mexico and Poland were watching on the platform.