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How content consumption is changing media buying

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Cristina: The consumption of digital content has skyrocketed since the beginning of the pandemic. Do you see a slowdown as more businesses open and people are less ‘stuck at home’?

Jay Nielsen, Senior Vice President, Global Planning Products, Nielsen: There is no data to support the idea that broadcast consumption has decreased at all. According to our Streaming Video Ratings data, since the beginning of the year, and continuing to the previous year, time spent streaming on TV continues to be at high levels of about 155 billion minutes per week. Initially, part of the consumption patterns were caused by the pandemic and spending more time at home. However, a new behavioral pattern has also emerged in terms of how people consume media. While the overall time a user spends with digital media may see plateau, there is no reason to believe that streaming has slowed. There are more choices than ever for content – and services to view that content – and consumers benefit. Nielsen’s The Gauge reports that 28% of TV time broadcasts video content.

Christina: What does this increase in digital content consumption mean for media buyers/planners?

Jay: More digital content consumption means more specific targeting opportunities for planners and buyers because the amount of data will provide better decisions. On the flip side, it also creates a more confusing market for the scheme to understand the overall impact or reach of a potential campaign as the industry is working to get comparable measurement across different delivery mediums of content and ads. What Nielsen Media Impact can do is help align media planners’ decisions with consumers’ choices, helping them find insights about target audiences, media preferences, and more. We also have Nielsen Marketing Cloud which gives media buyers/planners access to a world of audience data to activate digitally, with success assessment and real-time tweaking to make everything more effective. To close the loop, marketers can measure their digital campaigns across screens with ad numerical and aggregate evaluations and then use this data to plan their next campaign.

Christina: You’re saying that advertisers should focus on data that isn’t always about demographics? What does this mean?

Jay: The recent trend shows us that with such rich consumer data available beyond traditional demographic data — for example, age and gender — advertisers can begin to better target the consumers they want to reach. Looking at inputs such as credit card transaction data using Nielsen Buyer Insights, loyalty card purchase data using Nielsen Catalina Solutions, or comprehensive qualitative lifestyle survey data such as Nielsen Scarborough and then superimposing that on cross-media behavior will target these audiences more accurately. Through our partnerships with groups like Quotient Technologies, and many others, we overlay this data on Nielsen media consumption – making it planable and ultimately manageable. This has been a huge part of digital automated buying since the beginning, but by expanding into linear television, adding multimedia with the right understanding of audience de-duplication will lead to more informed choices about media spending.

About the author

Christina Knight is a freelance writer based in Ohio, USA. Starting her career in radio and television broadcasting, she focused her energies on health reporting and business. After six years in the industry, Christina branched out on her own. Since 2001, her articles have appeared in Family Commissioner, Credit Union Business,, and with Threshold Media.

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