Nielsen, the world’s leading information and measurement company, announced a strategic cooperation agreement and a data-sharing protocol with China e-commerce giant JD.com that formalizes the collaborative launch of a big data product—Multi-Touch Attribution (MTA).

“What is happening in China right now is the fragmentation of digital media. This phenomenon is much more intense in China than it is compared to the US,” Vishal Bali, Managing Director at Nielsen China told TechNode in an exclusive interview.

So why is this S&P 500 company, which has operations in over 100 countries, partnering with a Chinese e-commerce company? Chinese e-commerce companies are fast becoming advertisement platforms. China’s e-commerce giant Alibaba recorded mobile ad revenues of $11.1 billion in 2016 and are expected to grow to almost $20 billion by 2018, according to eMarketer.

Seeing the fragmented digital media in China with so many media and apps, marketers are confused with which advertisement channels would work and which won’t, and it’s getting even more complex. The idea behind this partnership is to bring clarity and transparency to that.

“Basically, leveraging the actual data of JD.com’s shoppers, we trace the customers’ journey backward to see what are the different touch points they are exposed to. After tracing the path of purchase, you get a sense of what is really important to consumers. Then brands can look at, “Am I advertising on these touch points?” and “Am I doing it in a right way?”,” Vishal explains.

Vishal Bali, Managing Director, Nielsen China (Image Credit: Nielsen)

Vishal Bali, Managing Director, Nielsen China (Image Credit: Nielsen)

Nielsen’s professional digital media monitoring service leverages JD’s 236.5 million active users, as well as their cloud platform, to calculate ad impact and ultimate sales impact from marketing investment across media platforms–both inside and outside of JD.

Ultimately, it assures more efficient allocation of budget in marketing and advertising and increases in return on investment (ROI). The solution offers marketers a clear idea of which areas to dedicate their spending.

“It drives better performance for brands leveraging the platform data. It’s first of its kind in China to bring the transparency and clarity,” he adds.

Nielsen had an existing cooperation agreement with JD that began this January. Nielsen’s core business is sales measurement, so under the partnership, they got access to JD’s sales data, and then measure JD’s offline and online sales.

“As e-commerce is starting to evolve as an advertisement platform, we wondered how we can further explore our collaboration, so we expanded our partnership,” Vishal said.

At the event, JD also talked about their philosophy about open data, sharing data and their partnership with Nielsen to further bring transparency in the market.

“Under this cooperation, we will leverage the big data analysis to help manufacturers focus on effective investment in digital marketing and make a solid step forward,” Jing Weiping, vice president of JD Group, said. “For the whole market, everyone’s common goal is to improve the manufacturers and brands of marketing efficiency. The cooperation between JD and Nielsen can be described as win-win. It can help us in a comprehensive understanding of the whole channel environment, and actively explore innovative business model.”