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Background: Nielsen Digital Ad Ratings

Nielsen Digital Ad Ratings is a measurement platform for online advertising campaigns. The platform provides a clear view of the true audience of a campaign, including Reach, Frequency, and GRP statistics by audience demographic group.

The diagram below summarizes how the Nielsen tag measures the ad campaign:

  • Advertiser places ads on one or more websites
  • Website displays ad to a user
  • Nielsen tag counts impressions

Support for Other Nielsen Ad Effectiveness Products

The tag used for Nielsen Digital Ad Ratings is compatible for all Nielsen Ad Effectiveness products, including (but not limited to) Brand Effect Extended View, Response Effect, and Sales Effect.

User Experience

The tags described in this document are used only to measure audience exposure to advertisements; they do not launch a survey, and have no impact on the user experience. Typical response time for the tag is on par with industry standards and because the code executed is simple and fires after the ad loads, they are transparent to the user.

For further information on survey-based products, or any other products, please contact your Client Services Manager.

Available Tag Versions

The Nielsen Digital Ad Ratings system offers three basic types of ad tags

  • Pixel Tag

This is the simplest version of the tag, generally for use by clients who cannot accept JavaScript format tags or have limited options for implementation. It includes encryption, but does not utilize referrer masking.

  • JavaScript Display Tag

This tag provides impression measurement similar to the pixel tag, but in addition also performs Viewability measurement. It uses Nielsen's proprietary methods to detect the ad unit and to measure ad viewability and can also utilize an existing OM SDK integration for measurement and reporting. It works in web contexts and in-app ad containers.

  • JavaScript Video Tags

Nielsen's video tag can be utilized via our vWrap service and can be used in both VPAID and OMID environments. It supports OMID in-app and OM Web integrations and provides impression and viewability measurement. For VPAID, it can either wrap an existing VPAID player or can act as its own VPAID ad unit with the MP4s in the VAST file.

Tag Examples

IMAGE Pixel Tag (Static example)

<img src="http://secure-gl.imrworldwide.com/cgi-bim/m?ci=entXXXX&at=view&rt=banner&am=3
width="1" height="1" alt=""/>

* Currently available in CMI

IMAGE Pixel Tag (Macro example)

<script type="text/javascript"

* Currently available in CMI

JavaScript Display Tag

<script type="text/javascript" src="https://dar.imrworldwide.com/js/dar.js?ca=nlsnXXXXXX

* Currently available in CMI

JavaScript Video Tag vWrap URL


** Please reach out to your TAM for this implementation

JavaScript Video Tag vWrap URL - Mobile


** Please reach out to your TAM for this implementation

The Nielsen Digital Ad Ratings system also features the ability to record Viewability information such as: How long an Ad has been visible on the screen, and what portion on the Ad. This is an additional feature that can be purchased from your Nielsen Client Services Representative.

Viewability for display ads can ONLY be offered through the JavaScript tags.

The above tags are just examples and should not be placed in any live site or ad server. You will be provided with tags specifically designed for your media plan/campaign or be able to download tags after creation in CMI (Campaign Management Interface)

DAR Pixel Tag Parameters

The DAR tag is available as a 1x1 pixel. The following pixel/tag parameters must be specified for all DAR tags, 1x1, regardless of implementation type: browser, mobile browser, mobile app or connected device.

Tag Parameter Description
CI Client ID: the ID that is associated with the DAR account that processed tag data is associated with. Will always be hardcoded to a Nielsen generated value that comes from the Nielsen campaign management system
AM Ad Server: an ad server participating on the campaign media-plan. This is an internal Nielsen generated value when the ad server is indicated on the campaign during setup
CA Campaign Id: this is the ID associated with your DAR campaign. Unless you are creating and managing the Nielsen campaign via the DAR Tag API, then this parameter value will always be generated from the Nielsen campaign management system. Note: often maps to a media-plan I/O Id
CR Creative Id: DAR does not currently report at the creative level; can be hard coded ad server id or associated with a macro expansion
PC Placement Id: can be generated by the ad server via macro expansion or generated by the Nielsen campaign management system. Note: often maps to one of Ad Unit Id, Line Item Id or Video Ad Id
CE Site Id: the Id that identifies a publisher site that the placement needs to be mapped to. Maps into the Nielsen MarketView database. Note: can be hardcoded to a pre-registered ad server site id in the Nielsen system or a macro expansion where more than one pre-existing site ids have been made known to Nielsen
R Cachebuster (web): timestamp / random number. Generated by ad server
AT Fixed value: “view”
RT Fixed value: “banner”
ST Fixed value: “image”

Do not URL encode the values

Additional Parameters

In this section we describe the additional parameters that the DAR tag can support, specifically Hashed Email, UID2 values, along with Page URL and Bundle Identifier if available. Please work with your Nielsen Technical Account Manager on deciding which of the following parameters to append to the standard DAR tag.

Web Browser DAR tag (cookie based persons identification)


Web Browser PLUS tag


HEM Support (Hashed Email)

Hashed Email User’s email address that has been run through a hashing algorithm (e.g. SHA256, MD5, SHA1)
to create a unique 32-character hexadecimal string. If a client is unable to determine hashing type, they should pass using &hem_unknown parameter.

Please use the parameter that matches your hashing algorithm.
For example, if you are using sha256 to encode the email address, then use hem_sha256={encrypted_value_here}



Unified ID

Unified ID 2.0 An identifier based on a user’s verifiable PII (e.g. hashed email). UID2.0 was initially created by The Trade Desk (TTD)
and is now managed by Prebid.
Unified ID 2.0 Token Encrypted Unified ID 2.0 &uid_token



Page and Bundle

Page URL Canonical URL of the content where the Ad creative is served. (e.g. https://example.com/news/tech/article.html) The parameter value has to be encoded with JavaScript’s encodeURIComponent() method or equivalent.
Example: si=https%3A%2F%2Fexample.com%2Fnews%2Ftech%2Farticle.html
App Bundle ID The app’s unique bundle ID (e.g. com.example.myapp). The ID can be used to look up the App in Apple’s App Store
or the Google Play Store. References:https://developer.android.com/studio/build/application-idhttps://developer.apple.com/documentation/appstoreconnectapi/bundle_ids



Supported Creative Types

For consistency, Nielsen recommends tagging as much of the campaign creative types as possible, including site-served elements. Note: Nielsen may need to review/test on a case-by-case basis.

Nielsen Digital Ad Ratings supports banner ads, rich media and video units that are capable of being tagged with a 3rd party tracking pixel.

Some examples of non-standard campaign items that may be tagged include:

  • microsite pages
  • site “skins’”
  • online mini-games
  • streaming video
  • pre-roll video banners

Most often, these items will need to be site served and our pixel will need to be provided to the site to implement directly.

The following are items not tagged:

  • click command/text links
  • default/backup ads in a 3rd party ad server
  • static ‘logo’ creatives

Digital Ad Ratings Viewability Solution: All standard ad units listed under Universal Ad Package (UAP) on are supported for Viewability.

Placements and sites that cannot support JavaScript cannot support Viewability.

Share Your Delivered Impressions

Why the Media Plan is Needed

Knowing the delivered impressions also helps Nielsen run automated QA checks, for example triggering alerts when data does not appear for a placement on an expected date. This ensures overall quality, and reduces errors in the tagging process.

It is the responsibility of the client to send Nielsen an impression delivery report, generally known as the “ad server report.” Nielsen can provide the client with a template with the inputs required to complete the quality checks. If the client does not send these reports, Nielsen will not be able to complete the quality checks. Below are instructions on how to send these reports to Nielsen.

How to Share Your Delivered impressions

Set up an automated daily report from your ad server containing Site Name, Site ID, Placement Name, Placement ID, and data date.

A secondary method to share your media plan information is to grant Nielsen “Reporting access” to your campaign in the designated ad server (such as DCM). To do this, simply grant the login clientreporting@nielsen.com access. In doing so Nielsen can directly access your media plan information, which enables us to check for updates, and reconcile any

Please note that Nielsen is currently in discussions with several leading Ad Servers regarding direct integration between Nielsen and the ad server platforms. Once completed this could someday enable Nielsen to retrieve Media Plans on a completed automated basis.

Apply the Tag

Tag Generation

Your Nielsen representative will walk you through the Campaign Management Interface so that you can download tags at will at any point in the campaign.

Nielsen supports macro-based tag generation for several major ad servers. Nielsen’s Technical Account Manager (TAM) can assist you in leveraging macro-based tags.

Tag Application

Apply the tag according to the 3rd party tracking pixel specifications of your ad server. If additional guidance is needed, please consult with the Technical Account Manager (TAM) for more specific instructions or recommendations, if available.

Special Note: DAR Pixel Tags for Video

Nielsen’s recommended “Best Practice” for tagging your video ads is to apply the Digital Ad Ratings tag as close to the beginning of the video as possible and after initiation of the ad stream, when the ad itself begins to appear on the user’s browser, closest to the opportunity to see. To ensure video content initiates during Digital Ad Ratings measurement, tags should always be placed post buffer. Recognizing that it’s not always possible to give the Nielsen pixel priority positioning, please be aware that the placement of the tag should be discussed with the publisher/advertiser counterparty so that both sides agree on the measurement approach.

Special Note: Video Auto-Play and Auto-Refresh

In accordance with MRC requirements, Clients must append “autop” parameter to detect click to play vs auto-play to their video tags. To detect auto-refresh (page refresh), “autof” parameter must be included (not limited to video tags).

<img src="http://secure-gl.imrworldwide.com/cgi-bim/m?ci=entXXXX&at=view&rt=banner&am=3&ca=cmpXXXX&cr=&pc=plcXXXX&
autop=(value)&autof=(value)&r=[timestamp]" width="1" height="1" alt="" />

autop A value of 1 will be passed when Auto-Play is detected. (e.g. autop=1)
A value of 2 will be passed when Click-to-Play is detected. (e.g. autop=2)
When no value or parameter is not present, impressions are labeled as Unknown Play.
autof A value of 1 will be passed when Auto-Refresh is detected. (e.g. autor=1)
When no value or parameter is not present, impressions are labeled as Unknown Refresh.

Special Note for Video Viewability Implementation

  • Nielsen does not support any Flash based video players for viewability measurement.
  • The ad and tag must be in the same division (div tag) in order to track Viewability
  • Video:
    • VPAID compliant players
    • HTML5 Players (Flash not supported)
    • VPAID or mp4 creative
    • Video player must support VPAID and mp4

Viewability Base URL & Ping Paths


JavaScript Ping Path Values

Display Tag:

  • /cgi-bin/m - DAR Main Ping
  • /imp - Impression Ping
  • /nmp - Measure Ping
  • /psp - Primary Standard Ping
  • /1sp - 1 Second Ping
  • /5sp - 5 Second Ping
  • /15sp - 15 Second Ping
  • /120sp - 120 Second Ping
  • /fp - Final Ping
  • /er - Error Ping

Video Tag

  • /cgi-bin/m - DAR Main Ping
  • /imp - Impression Ping
  • /nmp - Measure Ping
  • /psp - Primary Standard Ping
  • /qp - Quarterly Ping (25%/50%/75%/100%)
  • /fp - Final Ping
  • /er - Error Ping

Nielsen DAR Tag/VPAID Query Strings

Measure Ping


Primary Standard Ping


Quarterly Ping (25%)


Finish Ping


Error Ping


Workflow and Tag Requirements for Nielsen Viewability with Qualified Ad Audience

The following steps represent the tag/data flow between the publisher and Nielsen, through to final reporting.

Please note that the assigned values for CA, CI, AM, AM, PC and CR in the example tags below are for illustrative purposes only to demonstrate the VW viewability state tag token. These values will need to be replaced with client specific data and/or macros specific to the ad serving situation.

  1. Ad creative exposed to the user
  2. Ad Server technology fires DAR tag on the publisher site
  3. Viewable state detected by Nielsen technology on publisher property; tag/signal sent to Nielsen collection system
  4. Nielsen collection system generates and executes the DAR tag with one of the following viewable states.
  5. DAR data processing and reporting aggregates viewable impression states by campaign, placement and demographic attribution.

Workflow and Pixel Tag Requirements for 3rd Party Viewability

The following steps represent the tag/data flow between publisher, Nielsen and the 3rd party viewability vendor (hereafter referred to as “vendor”), through to final reporting.

Please note that the assigned values for CA, CI, AM, AM, PC and CR in the example tags below are for illustrative purposes only to demonstrate the VW viewability state tag token. These values will need to be replaced with client specific data and/or macros specific to the ad serving situation.


  • Ad creative exposed to the user
  • Vendor technology fires DAR tag on the publisher site
  • Viewable state detected by vendor detection technology (i.e. vendor Javascript containertag) on publisher property; tag/signal sent to vendor collection system
  • Vendor collection system generates and executes the DAR tag with one of the following viewable state (see highlight) embedded


&amp;rt=banner&amp;st=image&amp;ca=[campaignI d]&amp;cr=[creativeId/macro]&amp;pc=


&amp;pc=[amvalue]_[placementId/macro]&amp;vw=view&amp;r=[timestamp ]


&amp;rt=banner&amp;st=image&amp;ca=[campaignI d]&amp;cr=[creativeId/macro]
&amp;pc=[amvalue]_[placementId/macro]&amp;vw=susp&amp;r=[timestamp ]
  • DAR data processing and reporting aggregates viewable impression states by campaign, placement and demographic attribution.

Special Note for Nielsen Viewability with Qualified Ad Audience: Primary owner of campaign must provide assigned Technical Account Manager (TAM) VPAID tags per site/placement in order for VAST Wrapper to be delivered back to primary owner for implementation within their respective ad server, CMS, video serving platform, etc.

Special Note for Server Side Dynamic Ad Insertion: In cases where Server Side Dynamic Ad Insertion (SSDAI) is present, the Nielsen tag cannot execute unless the client side video player is coded to fire impression pixels when ads play. When this happens, all of the existing specifications for tag format, time, and criteria of execution (i.e. on play of ad) previously documented must be followed.

QA Testing the Tag

Nielsen’s Technical Account Manager (TAM) will coordinate a plan to test fire tags in advance of the campaign go-live date.

In order to test the implementation of the Nielsen tag, at least one or two (more are
recommended) live URLs should be provided to the TAM. If a live page cannot be made available, at staging page or offline test page should be provided. The object of this is so that the TAM can see the Nielsen call being made live, exactly as it has been implemented, to verify all of the values expected – dynamic and static - are in the tag. A spot check of a couple of placements should be sufficient unless otherwise requested. In lieu of an actual test page, we may recommend you provide a screenshot of you testing the implementation from your end, showing the Nielsen call exactly as it is being called.

Additionally, we will verify that the tags delivered have begun to receive data once the campaign actually goes live and will regularly (every 7-14 days, minimally) compare the Nielsen reporting to your 3rd party or publisher reporting to ensure we are capturing all of the data for all of the placements, as expected, and that the overall gap between your reporting and the Nielsen reporting is kept to a minimum.

Confirmation Steps

  • Open Chrome browser and enable “Developer Tools” (shortcuts: PC, “F12” - Mac, “Command+Option+I”)
  • Paste test page into browser URL field
  • Toggle to the “Network” tab (to isolate the DAR ping you can use “imr” into the filter box). If the DAR tag does not appear, refresh the page.

NOTE - Other browsers or debugging tools can also be used as an alternative.

DAR Pixel Tag Campaigns

  • Confirm that the DAR Main ping (/cgi-bin/m) has call status 302, this ensures a redirect has been made to our Data Enrichment Provider
  • Clicking on the ping URL and navigating to the “Headers” tab will allow you to better evaluate tag construction
  • The “Query String” section will disclose the tag parameter Confirm these values are displaying as expected

NOTE - If ad server macro tokens are used, please ensure they are expanding properly

DAR JavaScript Tag Campaigns

Generally, the steps are same as the above except for the following:

  • If the player makes the DAR main call (/cgi-bin/m), it will have status 302, but if our JavaScript tag is responsible for the main ping, the status will be 200. The player makes the call if the DAR JavaScript has been called with darsup=1.
  • If the test page is set up correctly, you should also see Viewability pings - at the very least there should be an /nmp ping
  • If there is a /nmp ping, check the meas parameter. It will be meas=1 if our tag is able to measure viewability in the given ad slot.

Managing Campaign Updates

As part of the campaign monitoring process, your Nielsen TAM will stay in close contact with you throughout the campaign, including scheduling periodic check-ins to check on the campaigns (approximately every 7-14 days, but could be more often, as needed). If you have provided reporting access to the campaign via your 3rd party or have scheduled a report to be delivered on a regular (weekly) basis, this can significantly expedite the monitoring of your campaign.

If you have any questions regarding setting up the reporting to be delivered, fields that will need to be included, etc., please reach out to the TAM assigned to your campaign. If not providing direct access to reporting, please schedule reporting to be delivered on a weekly basis.

Frequently Asked Questions

What is a tag?

For our purposes, a tag is an HTML code that is placed directly on a website or inside a 3rd party ad server to track exposure to an online advertisement. Adding the Nielsen tag to the banners/videos/etc. is referred to in general as ‘tagging a campaign’.

What is served by the Nielsen tag?

The tag call is a simple 1x1 pixel image call. There is not a survey delivered at the time of ad call so this is not intrusive to the end user and should not adversely affect site page load times.

What should be tagged?

As much of the campaign that can be tagged, should be, for consistency. In most cases, we generally do not tag items such as: click command/text links, default/backup ads in a 3rd party ad server, or static ‘logo’ creatives. Whenever possible, we will request that you attempt to tag all other creative types, including site-served elements.

Is there a way to differentiate between video “auto-play” and “click-to-play” impressions?

The Nielsen pixel does not gather this type of granularity if the events are both sharing the same ad server placement ID. If it is desirable to compare the performance between these two events, our recommendation is to traffic these as individual placements within your ad serving

What is the best way to add the Nielsen tag to my campaign?

The Nielsen pixel should be called as close to the same time as the banner ad/creative element on which you would like to track exposure. Typically, this is handled by placing our tag inside a 3rd party ad server, such as Google’s DCM or a Rich Media vendor, such as PointRoll. However, if need be, our tag can be placed directly on a site page, immediately after the ad call in the same </div> as the creative file. Further instruction can be provided on the kickoff call or we can work directly with trafficking contact(s) to get the tags in place.

Do we need to use a 3rd party ad server to use the Nielsen tag?

The short answer is no. In a lot of cases, we have provided a tag that can be implemented directly on a site. The benefit of placing our tag inside a 3rd party ad server is that we can provide a single tag (or minimal number of tags) that contain macros to simplify the tagging process.

Is there anything that can’t be tagged?

We may need to review/test on a case-by-case basis, but realistically most campaign elements can be tagged. Most often, these items will need to be site served and our pixel will need to be provided to the site to implement directly. Some examples of non-standard campaign items that have been tagged before include: microsite pages, site ‘skins’, online mini-games, streaming video, pre-roll video banners.

The site has told us that they can accept only one pixel for the site served element. Can we append your tag to the end of ours?

If you are serving a DCM 1x1 pixel to track these elements of your campaign, we have a method for placing our tag behind this call, to be served as a redirect. For other situations, we may need to discuss further and consider other options.

I’m using more than one Nielsen study/product on this campaign. Will I need multiple/different tags for each?

You should not need separate tags for each study. To keep the tagging process simple, we have designed our products so that a single tag can be used for multiple online studies, however, your TAM needs to be informed of all studies before launch so that they can be enabled.

How much detail can be tracked with the Nielsen tag?

Typically, we do an overall read for these studies, but we can segment the data by site, placement, ad size or creative, for example. If more granular data is desired, this should be discussed ahead of the campaign launch and planned for at the time of tag creation. We cannot segment the data if we have not tagged for it​ -- multiple tags will need to be created and implemented properly. Note that this can often be a time consuming process for the client trafficker and additional time should be allotted if this is needed. Lastly, keep in mind that exposure sample size may be a factor for segmenting the data at a more granular level.

Why is it recommended to implement a timestamp or random number on the tag? This value will ensure that the tag call will not be cached on a user’s browser. It’s not absolutely necessary to implement for the tag to work, but without it you may see a larger gap between the impressions ran and what Nielsen captures. It is recommended to minimize this gap.

For campaigns involving Facebook, what can’t be tagged on their site?

Fan/Like pages are not allowed to be tagged, per Facebook. Additionally, Marketplace slots are not allowed to be tagged as these are user generated ads.

What if it is not possible to provide a test or staging page before launch?

While not ideal, we can view raw impression numbers on the day of the launch as well as review a live example if a URL is provided. Another option would to test from the client/site side and provide a screenshot of the Nielsen call being made using a proxy tool (HTTPWatch, Fiddler, Charles, etc.) – prior to launch. The aim either way is to minimize missing impressions for your campaign, so it is in your best interest to provide for this testing if you can.

What is considered to be an acceptable gap in reporting?

In a perfect world, we’d like to see no gap in the numbers. We realize this is simply not possible – it is a factor of the Internet and having different counting methodologies, so we will aim for the lowest overall gap we can. Even with everything trafficked correctly; it is not uncommon to see gaps in the range of 5 to 10%, so we shoot for this range (if it’s lower than that, that’s great). If it’s greater than 10%, it usually indicates that there was something that was missed from being tagged or there’s an additional issue that requires further attention. When issues arise, we make all attempts to highlight and communicate the issue seen, to minimize the overall impact to the study, but are reliant on the client to ensure the issue is fixed. In a campaign where there are issues such as this, we try to keep the gap under 20% and will document any issues found. What are the capabilities for tagging video and video based ads?

Our tag is not a specific limitation as it is one of the simplest things that can be served – a 1x1 image. That being said, much of the video implementation limitations are often dictated by the video vendors themselves. Where you can add our tag is dependent on the capabilities of these vendors. Some have the ability to place the tag in multiple locations in the video (i.e. beginning, middle, end – multiple tags will be needed to separate these out) and some simply place the pixel directly on the webpage, next to video being served. Further discussion may need to happen with the vendor, Nielsen and the client to determine the optimum implementation that meets the client's needs.