Nielsen will use Gracenote’s smart TV data for ad targeting

Nielsen is expanding its Marketing Cloud by plugging in smart TV viewership data from Gracenote.

Kelly Abcarian, senior vice president of product leadership at Nielsen, explained that the goal is to bring “person-level television data” to digital marketing and “bring the scale to a whole new level.”

In other words, advertisers using the Nielsen Marketing Cloud will be able to take advantage of detailed, real-time information about who was watching what. For example, Nielsen says the data would allow an advertiser to target viewers who saw their TV ad one evening with a direct response mobile ad the next morning.

Abcarian added that by using this data to “hone their targets” and by “engaging and reengaging in a way that’s smarter about consumer behavior, [advertisers] get the most effectiveness for their marketing spend.”

Nielsen has been building out its digital advertising and targeting business over the past couple of years, first by buying eXelate in 2015 and then with the acquisition of Gracenote earlier this year.

Gracenote may be best known for providing metadata to music services like iTunes and Spotify, but it has also developed what it calls Video Automatic Content Recognition technology, which is currently embedded in 27 million smart TVs.┬áThis allows Gracenote to analyze the video image and determine what you’re watching in real time.

Gracenote Vice President of Video Personalization Sherman Li said this information has already been used to power a variety of smart TV features, like content recommendations and interactive ads.

Now that the data will be included in the company’s Marketing Cloud, Abcarian said Nielsen can use its “unique algorithms and capabilities and intelligence to turn that viewing data into person-based understanding” and combine it with data on things like demographics, credit card spending and online behavior.

As for the privacy implications, Abcarian noted that none of this data includes personally identifiable information. She also said Nielsen has worked with smart TV makers to ensure that viewers know they’re sharing this data before they opt in.