NEW YORK/KUALA LUMPUR: Global marketers have welcomed moves by Nielsen to extend the coverage of its Digital Ad Ratings service to new Asian markets.

It is already available in China and now Singapore, Japan, Indonesia, the Philippines, Thailand, Malaysia are being added.

Megan Clarken, evp/global watch product leadership at Nielsen, explained that in markets like the US and UK the service was "transforming the advertising landscape by bringing standardisation and accountability, and helping advertisers and agencies gauge the return on their investment for every dollar they spend online".

Digital Ad Ratings claims to measure online advertising audiences, delivering reach, frequency and gross rating point (GRP) metrics as well as demographics such as age and gender in order to determine the effectiveness of digital advertising campaigns.

Malaysian agencies have been critical of the researcher's previous lack of a comprehensive digital offering, arguing that its inability to provide industry data by advertisers and categories made it difficult to strategise and to benchmark digital plans.

One estimated that reporting covered only 10% of actual digital spending. But the advent of Nielsen's service is set to change that and could even boost online ad spending as agencies gain confidence in measuring the performance of their campaigns and as media owners, able to demonstrate effectiveness, can push their prices up.

"Bringing the discipline and transparency of third-party measurement is important for supporting growth in digital spending," Clarken said.

"As global companies want to spend in [different] countries, they can compare their results across the board," she added.

As well as the six Asian countries, the service is being rolled out to Mexico, where advertisers who use the US ratings have lobbied for its extension so they can compare spending.

Jennifer Gardner, North American media investments and partnerships director at Unilever, the FMCG giant, welcomed the advent of a resource that "brings a more rigorous standard to our online campaigns and consistency in measurement strategy across our portfolio of brands".

Data sourced from Marketing, Financial Times; additional content by Warc staff