The Nielsen Company

After Getting In Bed Together, Nielsen Can't Stop Gushing About How Great Facebook Is

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It’s all a little unseemly, if you ask me. Last week, Nielsen and Facebook declared that they were “In A Relationship” together with a new product Nielsen is rolling out called BrandLift, which is supposed to measure brand awareness of ads on the social network with opt-in polls. Almost immediately after the two companies announced their strategic love affair, Nielsen started putting out glowing reports about Facebook and how much time people are spending on social networks.

Ads on social networks don’t perform as well as ads on other parts of the Web, but there’s tons of cheap inventory (i.e., pageviews), so advertisers don’t have much choice but to be there. Anything that can help justify their spending 119 percent more than last year on social network ads (Nielsen) is good for Facebook.

For instance, one Nielsen study found that found people at work spent more than seven times as many hours on social networking sites in 2008 than the year before, and that half of all online workers log onto Facebook at the office and spend more time there than on any other site (an average of 3 hours and 10 minutes per day). The message was clear: if you want to reach people online, you have to advertise on Facebook.

Then three days later, Nielsen followed up with another wet kiss, er, impartial report. Not only is Facebook the most popular social network (like we didn’t know that already), but it is also the richest. Nielsen trotted out data showing that Facebook users are more affluent and urban than their counterparts at MySpace.

According to the Nielsen study, affluent people are “25% more likely to use Facebook” than poorer people, while people in the bottom third of the income pyramid are “37% more likely to use MySpace than those in the top third.” Again, for advertisers wanting to reach the rich and fabulous, there is one clear choice: Facebook. And if they want to convince themselves that those people are actually paying attention to their ads, Nielsen will sell them its new BrandLift product, which just happens to work only on Facebook right now. What do you know? The stars are aligned.

Now, I am not suggesting that people on Facebook aren’t all rich and fabulous. You obviously are. Just look at your pictures. I want to advertise to you right now. Where do I sign up?

(Photo credit: Flickr/Helga Weber)

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