Nielsen’s Tina Wilson: ‘It (Literally) Pays To Know The Short- And Long-term Impacts of Investments’

Tina Wilson was waiting in line to board a flight when she noticed commerce data in action. As she slowly inched her way toward the jet bridge, Wilson was getting quite a number of refined search content recommendations that appeared to reflect some of the life events swirling around her at the moment. 

There was content about home renovations and buying plants, posts to help with wedding planning for her daughter, and location-specific articles — suggesting travel in general.

While most people wouldn’t think too deeply about the relevant connections between commerce data, media, and consumer engagement, Wilson is the general manager of Nielsen's Portfolio Analytics and Ecosystem Partnerships Group. A 30-year industry veteran, Wilson spoke with The AdTech Forum about her views on the intersection of commerce data and content and how the two influence shopping behavior.

“In the span of just waiting to board the flight, I was able to make a purchase for a piece of clothing, buy plant supplies that apparently are going to save my orchids, and signed up for a tutorial about learning how to decorate cupcakes in a new way,” Wilson said. “It's so easy to engage with content and commerce right now. You can only expect that that's going to increase.”

She pointed to Nielsen’s growing body of data that intends to show those content/commerce shopping patterns more clearly. The ability to show how online retailers are becoming more adept at matching where consumers are at and what they want, and the ability to show the effectiveness is all about reducing the guesswork of marketing budget allocations.

Brands are continuing to evolve, and that means being more dynamic in terms of being able to wield real-time shopper data, she said. 

“Everything is about meeting consumers where they are," Wilson said. 

While that sounds like a massive shift in the traditional advertising and retail landscape, Wilson views the changes as more of a synthesis between old models of reach and new ones. 

To Wilson, the rapid and continuing rise of ecommerce and social commerce platforms demand that traditional advertising be more tightly integrated with digital channels to stay relevant. Marketers that demonstrate a clearer understanding of the consumer journey — how consumers interact with content and find purchases that satisfy their needs in the moment — is crucial. 

"It's about figuring out who plays what role and ensuring the content and messaging matches where consumers are in their decision-making process," she noted.

A key theme of her discussion with The AdTech Forum was the importance of commerce data in measuring and optimizing media campaigns. Wilson pointed to the significance of having both online and offline data to get a complete picture of consumer behavior. 

“Commerce data is another signal of what actually happened," Wilson said. This data allows marketers to see the direct impact of their investments, making it an invaluable tool for optimizing strategies and achieving better ROI and return on ad spend.

Wilson also shared some practical examples of how commerce data can enhance media strategies. 

By linking consumption patterns with marketing efforts, brands can gain granular insights into consumer decision-making. This data helps create a more complete story, enabling marketers to understand both short-term and long-term impacts. "It's about knowing more about the people who are going to the places, when and how they make decisions," she elaborates.

The Future of Social Commerce and Influencer Marketing

Discussing the future of digital advertising, Wilson said social commerce is becoming more central to brands; again, it’s about meeting consumers where their mindset is at a particular time. And content offers that context about where their mindset is. 

She pointed out that social media platforms are no longer just for connecting with friends; they have become essential for product recommendations and news. "There's an increased reliance on social media for product recommendations and news," she said. This shift presents a massive opportunity for brands to invest in social commerce, as it offers higher ROI compared to other channels.

“When we talk about ROI on social, the returns are 30- to 40% higher than other channels,” Wilson said. “It’s because of the ability to reach and influence consumers on those platforms.”

Social media gives access to brands in two ways that they didn't have before. One is geography. A consumer can be exposed to products from anywhere around the world and still make the purchase in the same way. The ease of that transaction is obvious, Wilson said. 

“Then think of the beauty of all this for direct-to-consumer brands,” she said. “It completely changes the landscape for this competitive ecosystem.” 

DTC brands have particularly benefited from social commerce’s democratization of the marketplace. 

"Social commerce broadens DTC brands’ competitive set and enables new business models," she explained. 

The democratization also means that brand marketing and performance marketing strategies are reinforcing each other in ways not seen before, she added.

“If you look at how marketers globally are spending their budgets, they're looking for performance marketing and they're looking for brand building,” Wilson said. “It pays to know both the short- and the long-term impacts of the investments a brand is making. It’s a more complete story. Look at the platforms that are really driving an incremental amount of the sales: they have data about consumption, they have data about the patterns for how people buy, how far they get in their decision making.”

There's a lot more granularity when it comes to knowing more about when, who, and how people make their shopping decisions, Wilson added. It’s all because of the content that gets fed to them that produces the best recommendations. 

“Content is what really threads right through that entire commerce process,” Wilson said.

To capture Wilson’s full insights on social commerce, be sure to check out the full episode of the Ad Tech Forum here

Follow and listen to past episodes here.

other stories you might like