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Nielsen/NetRatings Counting Things Differently

By John Stith for

The Nielsen/NetRatings organization, long known and prized for its ratings systems announced a new way to track ratings and figuring in the folks who toss their cookies. They’ve been testing the method in the U.S. and using it in Australia and Italy.

The system incorporates raw visitor numbers mixed with information about cookies tossed from their consumer research panel. The cookie information comes from Site Census.

“This integrated solution is the successful culmination of work we undertook in response to resolving the panel vs. site-centric methodology debate, which often showed data discrepancies,” said Manish Bhatia, senior vice president of product development and measurement science, Nielsen//NetRatings.

Cookie deletion factors vary by site and industry. Nielsen//NetRatings data shows that disregarding the impact of cookie deletion and cookie blocking activities in one month could mean that Website operators are overestimating their audience by as much as 46 percent in the case of the Search Engine/Portal category, 43 percent in the Telecom/Internet services category, and 23 percent in the News & Information category.

Nielsen//NetRatings’ Data Integration methodology addresses the issues created by the increased instances of cookie deletion that leads to an overestimation in unique browser statistics. Since unique browser statistics collected using cookies are often used to estimate unique visitors, the overestimation of unique browsers results in an overestimation of the unique audience. This also results in an underestimation of visitor frequency metrics, since repeat visitors are often recognized as first-time visitors. By linking the panel with its site centric solution, Nielsen//NetRatings can translate the Unique Browser number to an Integrated Audience number.

“Our Data Integration methodology takes the best of both methods to create a comprehensive data set that delivers detailed reach and frequency metrics, audience demographic profiles and other for pre-and post-campaign analysis tools. While this analysis has been available to all other forms of media for some time, this is the first time it has been produced for the Internet medium,” Bhatia continued.

This information help tighten the Internet marketing industry even more. This probably won’t change the bid systems in place for some advertising, but a lot of information can be gleaned for other advertising purposes.

About the Author:
John Stith is a staff writer for WebProNews covering technology and business.


Camilla Todd
Camilla Todd is Head of Digital Marketing at WNW Digital and manages Search Engine Optimisation, PPC, Social Media campaigns and Brand Awareness for WNW Digital SEO clients. You can follow her on Twitter @camilla_wnw, email her at or phone on 01392 349580