Much like “sales”, the word “marketing” has its fair share of negative connotations, enough so for people to literally take a step back and wrinkle their noses if you mention that’s your career field. Be that as it may, marketing – and specifically the research and analytical aspects of marketing – certainly has its place in our everyday lives.
One of the most memorable marketing campaigns of the last few years that comes to mind is the Poo-Pourri Stink-Free Guarantee – a series of controversial adverts designed to discuss one of the most taboo subjects of all times: smelly bathrooms. By far the funniest advert I’ve seen in a while – if you can excuse the lewd language – is “How to poop on a date”.
In this instance, marketing more than earned their salaries for the month, with the hilarious round of adverts paving the way for uncountable sales – whether the product works or not. And reading through the comments on that YouTube video, the overwhelming consensus is that people would buy the product just to have the holding company produce more and better videos.
But why am I telling you all this? Well, market research determined that smelly bathrooms is not only a taboo subject, but when approached with just the right amount of humor and relatableness, it sells.
Market research was a concept developed by AC Nielsen in 1932 to track the flow of food and drug purchases, and thus establish market share of sales for whichever brand they tracked at the time.
Nielsen Computer & Mobile Panel
In A Hurry?
AC Nielsen – present day
Through a series of mergers and acquisitions, AC Nielsen is now Nielsen Holdings PLC, a public limited company, and is headquartered in the United Kingdom (UK). Nielsen comprises two major divisions that track and measure user spend and activity, both on- and off-line.
Nielsen Watch: Responsible for approximately 55% of global revenue, Nielsen Watch measures consumer consumption through watching or listening to most devices in use today such as TV, radio, computers, mobile phones, etc. The business measures consumption of programming and advertising across all distribution points. Statistics and data from these activities are used by advertisers to determine advertising impact in 47 countries and for approximately 80% of all global advertising spending.
Nielsen Buy: Representing more than 90% of the world’s population across 106 countries, the Nielsen Buy division is responsible for approximately 45% of Nielsen’s global revenue. The Buy division tracks and compares user spend trends across categories, brands and products. The goal of these analytics and insights is to allow participating brands to understand their target markets, improve the return on investment from marketing spend, maximize the impact of their advertising and promotion campaigns, and analyze trend data to predict sales behavior.
What is the Nielsen Computer and Mobile Panel?
Nielsen Media Research, the corporate division that tracks and measures user activity and spend, seeks to improve product and service insights. The Nielsen Computer and Mobile Panel combines a user’s unique internet usage with other similar users to build a holistic picture of specific internet buying behavior. These insights are then used to build trends – specifically buying trends – for brands, and to expand market share where possible, or to withdraw unsuccessful products from the market.
Also of value is how we as humans use the internet, what we buy, where we buy it from, and what we browse for whichever reason. These trends important on a brand level, but also to track the evolution of buying behavior for the human species on the whole. A century from now, statistics available to the version of us that remains behind on this planet will tell scientists and consumers alike what we used, how we used it, and what effect it had on us.
How it works
Depending on where in the world you’re signing up from, it’s either the Nielsen Digital Voice Panel or the Nielsen Computer and Mobile Panel.
Simply install the app on all your devices that access the internet for all the users in your household, and let it run in the background to collect and track internet usage and behavior. The more devices you register, the greater your reward-earning potential, but be advised: one account per household.
What information does the company collect?
The most sought-after demographic profile is the so-called “youth”, averaging in ages between 18 and 34. Historically, this demographic is purported to have the most disposable income at hand, and are not yet tied up in suffocating debt (thus, able to spend). Brand loyalty is also established at an early age, and most people in this demographic will remain brand-loyal for decades.
The company collects data about:
- The ages of device users in your household
- Which websites you visit
- Time of day and duration of stay on the websites you visit
- General online browsing activity and internet usage
In addition, once you install the mobile app, it collects dates, times, and duration statistics about phone calls, but does not monitor numbers or other personally identifiable information. Feedback is sent to the app regarding your device’s battery usage, as well as network performance and stability information.
How much can you make?
If passive income is what you’re after – no effort or completion of surveys, etc – then the company is one solution you may want to take a look at. One reviewer states that he collected $28 in completely passive income in 8 months — not exactly a fortune, but not bad for zero effort. We have no way to verify that, and of course, that’s not quite how the hype is slanted.
Nielsen states that $10,000 is given away every month in their sweepstakes, but actually, that’s divided between quite a few people. There’s no indication of how many points you can earn by just installing the app on your mobile or desktop devices, but they do say that “for registering one or more mobile devices, you will receive up to $50 a year.”
So installing the desktop app earns you no rewards whatsoever? Well, loyal app users are invited to participate in exclusive surveys and market research projects, but as at the time of this review, the writer was not one of those invited.
What rewards do they offer?
Still vague, there is no indication how many “top prize earners” there are per month but for the sake of argument, let’s assume there are two. That leaves a balance of $8,000 or about $20 per winner. How are those winners chosen? No idea.
It is also worth noting that you do not immediately start earning rewards, as you can see below, and will first need to register:
How do you get paid?
Points earned on the Nielsen mobile platform can be redeemed for prizes and gift cards for popular brands such as Amazon, Starbucks and Target. Rewards are based on the country you reside in, as well as which devices you register and use.
The general consensus is that you can earn roughly $50 per year, just by having the app installed on your mobile device and monitoring your activity. In New Zealand, it is said that those earnings could be as much as $130 but that could just as easily be NZ dollars they are referring to. Each country differs, has different rewards in place, and requires a different set of users. The research is clearly demographical and location-based, with some products obviously worth more reward points than others.
Nielsen has specific panels for different countries, but is not always recruiting in those countries. There is also a device limit per country, and once Nielsen has reached that limit, the panel is full.
An important point to consider is that no actual cash is earned. There is no payout to PayPal or a check waiting to be mailed to you. Points are earned and exchanged for gift cards, which are then used to make purchases. In other words? You’re not earning anything. You’re simply being incentivized to use up the points you earned to make small purchases from participating brands and sites — so not exactly an “earn a passive income” deal, unless you’re using your points in exchange for yearly upgrades to your games through Amazon gift cards or codes.
What the members say about the Nielsen Computer and Mobile Panel
Much like the experience this reviewer had, I was unable to get the mobile app working on my phone. Granted, mine is neither the top of the range model nor the newest on the market, but when the Google Play Store advises me that my phone is not compatible with an app, it just grates my nerve endings. If you want me to use your app, you have to guess that I’ll not have the best phone on the market. I mean, surely if I’m looking for ways to make a passive income from home, I’m not earning the best salary, right?
With an average rating of 2 stars and 72 complaints, it’s clear that those who found the BBB listing are not happy customers. The overwhelming feedback is telephone harassment, both during the day and after hours, followed by non-payment and/or frozen accounts.
What kind of support can I expect from the Nielsen Computer and Mobile Panel team?
Whilst the FAQ seems comprehensive, they’re not. I mean, questions are answered, just not specifically enough, i.e. what rewards are earned by which activities, or what the earned points are worth per activity. It would be nice to know where to expend my energy, especially given that by making more use of mobile device to purchase products and services online may potentially earn additional points?
Is the Nielsen Computer and Mobile Panel a legitimate site?
There seems to be no question that Nielsen is a legitimate business, or even that the rewards-based passive income opportunity presented in the company apps on your devices is a way to earn gift cards. The real question should actually be whether or not the hassles, harassment and payout issues are worth your time.
Pros and cons of using the Nielsen Computer and Mobile Panel
- Registration is tedious, and getting through the necessary questionnaires is time-consuming, especially when you’re registering multiple devices for multiple users.
- Quite a bit of personal info about where you live, who lives there with you, what they do at certain times of the day – pattern-forming habits.
- There’s no cash incentives in most instances.
- The rewards system is not very rewarding.
- When it does cash out the rewards into gift cards, users report not receiving their points or rewards.
- Once all the questionnaire details are done, the app requires no maintenance, attention or tweaking. Simply install and update when necessary, then use your devices as you normally would.
- Nielsen is probably the most well-known of all the market-research sites and opportunities out there.
Nielsen Computer & Mobile Panel
- A safe panel to join
- One of the most reputable and oldest research companies are behind it
- You also do not have to do anything once you have joined
- Get the chance to win very big prizes
You have to remain aware of the fact that you’re giving up major demographic information and there is a definite loss of privacy in the process. Is it worth putting your kids and their devices online? It wasn’t for me, and so any rewards I earn will be tracked from my devices only.
On a privacy level, given how much information they take from me and learn about my behavior in the process – coupled with the obvious corporate financial backing, I personally feel that rewards could be more rewarding. It is, after all, your stats and mine that generate their income and contribute to their global success as the world’s largest rating company today.
Though not a scam, it’s definitely not consumer-oriented, and the rewards make me feel as if my opinion and usage is not nearly as important as it actually is at the end of the day.