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New Wearable PPMs? There’s An App For That.

Nielsen’s new PPM system gives panelists three choices of wearable devices: a wristband that looks like a Fitbit; a clip that can fit in your pocket or on your belt; or a pendant that can be worn around the neck. Other hardware components include a beacon and data hub installed in the home and a companion smartphone app, all of which are used to transmit media consumption behavior back to Nielsen’s servers. The beacon and data hub, both installed in the home, also detect whether the meter is at home or out of home.

Test results released by Nielsen on Thursday showed two-thirds of panelists and 86% of households installed the companion app. But it wasn’t younger demos that had the highest app install rates. Just under half of 13–17-year-olds and 55% of 18–24-year-olds installed the app. New panelist app install rates rose to 68% for 25-34 year-olds, 69% for 35-44, 79% for 45-54, 71% for 55-64 and 56% for 56%.

“Generally, younger panelists, as you might expect, and younger people in general, are a little bit more app savvy. Because they are a little more app savvy, there's a little more competition for space on phones,” said Erin Wittkowski, Nielsen’s principal data scientist, Audio Meters. “We did see strong installation rates across demographic groups and ages, but certainly I think with younger panelists, there's still some opportunity to improve installation rates there. So that's something that as we move forward, we will continue to do additional research to optimize methodology in that area and improve installation rates.”

Based on initial test results, Wittkowski said they improved app install rates among 18–34-year-olds and Hispanics by offering an additional incentive to download the app. As Nielsen pushes ahead with rolling out wearables for new PPM households, it is looking at the how its uses incentives and coaching to improve companion app installation across every demo. “We're prioritizing solutions to improve the meter conductivity and app install rates because the higher the install rates for the app, obviously, the better off we are for many reasons,” said Bill Rose, Senior VP of Audio Client Solutions at Nielsen.

In addition to allowing panelists to easily track their reward points and communicate directly with Nielsen, the smartphone app can also send the data from the wearable back to Nielsen more easily. That’s because the new the smaller, lighter devices don’t include cell technology to transmit data on their own the way the existing PPM 360 devices do.

“They can actually communicate with us through the app so they can send us messages, and have us respond directly in the app,” Wittkowski said. “Panelists really liked that functionality and ability to troubleshoot issues and provide feedback.”

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