Nielsen buys multitouch attribution provider Visual IQ

Audience measurement service Nielsen is boosting its ability to monitor digital ad effectiveness, announcing today that it will buy marketing intelligence software provider Visual IQ.

Visual IQ specializes in multitouch attribution combined with performance monitoring by audience segment. In multitouch attribution, the credit for a sale or other desired action is distributed across several ad drivers, such as shared credit between a mobile web ad, a desktop web ad and an email from the same advertiser to the same geography in a given period of time.

Deal terms were not made public.

The purchase is one more indication that Nielsen is taking steps to strengthen the digital side of its business, and to supplement its customary panel-based way of measuring impact.

Currently, Global Head of Product Leadership for Marketing ROI Matt Krepsik told me via email, the company’s “attribution science has focused on methods to measure incrementality using person level data assets for CPG [consumer packaged goods] advertisers in the US and China as an extension to our Marketing Mix Modeling (MMM) practice.”

While MMM is a top-down and macro-based approach to attribution, Krepsik said that Visual IQ’s multitouch attribution — generally considered a “bottom up” approach — will “raise the bar for measurement at scale across all marketing investments.”

In their announcement, the companies said the purchase will “improve Nielsen’s ability to automatically ingest and process large datasets,” in addition to providing more proprietary data from advertisers, publishers and retailers.

The software platform from the 10-year-old Visual IQ includes analysis of customer profiles and focuses on attribution across channels and devices as measured in brand engagement, online conversion and in-store sales. Nielsen said it expects faster data refreshes, new business verticals and a broader presence across global markets.

Step by step, Nielsen has been shoring up its digital side with acquired talent and tech. This past August, for instance, it acquired the startup vBrand, which measures brand exposure from sports programming. In 2015, it bought the data management platform eXelate and, a year later, it launched a Marketing Cloud built around eXelate’s tech and data.

About The Author

Barry Levine
Barry Levine covers marketing technology for Third Door Media. Previously, he covered this space as a Senior Writer for VentureBeat, and he has written about these and other tech subjects for such publications as CMSWire and NewsFactor. He founded and led the web site/unit at PBS station Thirteen/WNET; worked as an online Senior Producer/writer for Viacom; created a successful interactive game, PLAY IT BY EAR: The First CD Game; founded and led an independent film showcase, CENTER SCREEN, based at Harvard and M.I.T.; and served over five years as a consultant to the M.I.T. Media Lab. You can find him at LinkedIn, and on Twitter at xBarryLevine.