Snapchat and Nielsen Partner to Integrate Offline Data For Audience Targeting

Some say it could help CPG brands

Snapchat and Nielsen are letting marketers snap up more audience data. Getty Images
Headshot of Marty Swant

Snapchat and Nielsen are adding deeper audience targeting capabilities, such as offline purchasing data, that could help Snapchat better compete with the likes of Facebook and Google.

According to Nielsen, media buyers will have access to 30,000 audience segments on Snapchat—including demographics, buyer insights and mobile behavior—through products such as Nielsen Catalina and Nielsen’s Marketing Cloud.

The news, announced on Wednesday, is an expansion of the companies’ existing relationship that started in 2014. The additions also solidify Snapchat’s programmatic push, which began two years ago and accounts for the majority of ads now being bought automatically on the platform. Improvements over the past year have included measurement and targeting, which are especially important for advertisers to see now that 98 percent of ad buys on Snapchat are programmatic.

According to Kerry Perse, managing director of OMD Create, Snapchat has already proven itself with the retail sector. Now, she said, the new targeting capabilities could be appealing for CPG brands and other industries that don’t control the point of sale. 

“I would see CPG brands really viewing Snapchat as a serious contender for their advertiser dollars,” Perse said.

Snapchat and Nielsen’s data expansion comes as Facebook starts to rein in some of its own. In early July, Facebook began requiring brands and third parties to structure their own data agreements, which some marketers see as Facebook’s way of removing responsibility for some types of data after facing months of data privacy concerns on the platform.

For example, marketers used to be able to onboard third-party data from a company like Oracle into Facebook’s buying platform and directly into an account. However, they now have to structure an agreement separately—allowing media buyers to only target based on Facebook’s own demographic and behavioral data.

Even as Snapchat builds out its audience targeting to compete with Facebook and Google, it continues to position itself as a contender for traditional TV dollars. In fact, one agency’s video investment team said Snapchat is now the “closest competitor to TV” when compared with other social networks. 

While Snapchat has often asked brands to think of it like they would broadcast, however, not all marketers see the comparison as a good thing.

“I have never really bought that idea,” said one marketing executive at a large financial services company. “It lowers the bar for them in all sorts of ways and in my opinion commoditizes what should not be a commodity platform. I think they are trying very hard to find their sweet spot with the advertising community which is a little exhausted and jaded with the prolonged lack of user friendliness.”

@martyswant Marty Swant is a former technology staff writer for Adweek.