NetRatings Expands into European Online Ad Market

NetRatings spread its interests into Europe with the
acquisition of NetCrawling S.A., which has developed LemonAd, a European
online advertising monitoring service.

“We are continuing to build out our product portfolio on a global basis.
Advertising and publishers are interested in understanding who’s
advertising, where they are advertising and the expenditures of online
advertisers. LemonAd’s data provides that intelligence,” said Susan Hickey,
head of investor relations for NetRatings.

Hickey said NetRatings may disclose further details on the acquisition
during an earnings conference call, scheduled for July 31, after the
market’s close.

“LemonAd is leading online advertising measurement tool in Europe, there are
a few smaller players, but in our view it will help our current audience
measurement offering in Europe,” said Hickey, adding it made better
strategic sense to make an acquisition in Europe, than to expand its
AdRelevance product, the company’s U.S.-based online advertising tool and

Hickey said AdRelevance and LemonAd have had “different development paths,
but now that they are under the same roof, whether that means the product is
integrated in the future will be evaluated.”

Online advertising intelligence essentially enables subscribers of the
service to find out what their competition is doing.

“It allows marketers to keep an eye on their competition. These reports will
tell them what sites their competition are advertising on, how many
impressions they are buying and also show what the ads actually are. The
marketers can then take that data and it is one of the factors used when
that company decides on its own media buys,” said Jim Nail, senior analyst
for Forrester Research.

While market researchers prognosticate the growth of the global online usage
market, NetRatings scaled back its NetView Internet measurement service in
several markets in recent years. The company operates online panels in 13
countries, back in 2000-2001 it surveyed usage in 29 countries.

“As online usage globally expands, we believe our opportunity to serve
clients in the online ad space expands as well,” said Hickey. She explained
building a panel in a given country is a much more expensive proposition,
than to sell an “online advertising intelligence service.”

“To be branded Nielsen//NetRatings LemonAd, the service provides online
advertising intelligence for eleven European markets including the U.K.,
Germany, France, Italy, the Netherlands, Switzerland, Belgium, Austria,
Sweden, Norway and Denmark. LemonAd delivers indispensable information to
advertisers, advertising agencies and publishers, including a monthly
overview of the online advertising market, insight into the latest trends,
in-depth analysis of campaign activity and information for the top
advertisers on more than 3,600 websites,” said NetRatings in a press

The company goes onto say “Nielsen//NetRatings LemonAd complements
Nielsen//NetRatings’ NetView Internet Audience Measurement service that is
currently available in eight European and 13 global markets.”

Nail speculated that Taylor Nelson Sofres, a U.K.-based company that owns
Competitive Media Reporting (CMR), the provider of offline, conventional media and
advertising intelligence, is likely to make a move in the online advertising
and media intelligence business.

“CMR is beefing up its online advertising tracking service and it’s really a
two horse race between VNU and CMR,” Nail said. VNU is the Dutch publishing
giant that is the parent of both Nielsen Media Research and ACNielsen.

“The market for online advertising intelligence is just starting to develop
and the big users of this data are the big traditional advertising companies
for whom online ad spending is still a small share of their total ad
budget,” said Nail.

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