Monday, June 27, 2011, 7:40 PM ET|Posted by Will RichmondMicrosoft and Nielsen are teaming up to launch the "Television Online Effect" pilot program, to help measure how specific online ads drive TV tune-in. The partners will leverage aggregate profile data from Nielsen's TV/Internet Fusion panel to create a target audience based on TV and online usage. Microsoft then plans to run online campaigns to this audience on its owned properties. It will then measure the tune-in effect of these campaigns. Entertainment is the first vertical in the program, which will launch by August 1st.
I can see a real opportunity for this for various reasons. The TV landscape noisier than ever, with cable TV networks flooding the market with a record amount of original programming and broadcast networks continuing to fight for audience share. Meanwhile, traditional tune-in advertising, in radio and newspaper, is less effective than ever because audiences are spending more time online. The good news is that in online, users' profiles can be accurately understand and then correlated to what TV shows they're likely to enjoy, in turn increasing the ads' ROI and the likelihood that shows find their appropriate audience.
Of course, this is the theory; the Television Online Effect program will demonstrate whether it can be executed on. Further down the road, as connected devices proliferate, this type of correlation becomes even more relevant. That's because the ads can be shown while the user is already in front of the TV, and particularly when programs are available on demand, they could drive immediate viewing ("hey that show looks cool!" Click, click and viewing begins). All of this points to a more effective cross-platform advertising ecosystem where ROIs improve and users get more relevant ads.