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Nielsen/NetRatings to fine-tune research

The market research firm is taking a fine-tooth comb to data, as it seeks more relevant trends for customers.

Research firm Nielsen/NetRatings will launch a service tracking how consumers use financial Web sites--the first of a series of efforts to focus on specialized industries.

On Monday, the company will announce MegaView Financial, which will follow the activities of up to 400,000 panel participants. Analysis of the panel's behavior is updated monthly and has been tracked since May. The most recent data is from June.

Nielsen will target financial companies such as credit card issuers and banks, seeking to understand what consumers do when they surf financial sites. The service will also be targeted at media publishers, which could use the data to help woo potential advertisers, according to Ken Cassar, director of strategic analysis at Nielsen.

So far, the data indicates that while consumers are going online to perform specific financial transactions, they aren't performing multiple activities. While most of the consumers going online for financial services go to a credit card site, only 4 percent of them are doing any online stock trading. That means that either consumers aren't interested or institutions have done a poor job in selling additional services to consumers, Cassar said.

"The wide diversity in how well individual institutions have been able to cross-sell consumers suggests that the low rates are more likely driven by execution rather than low consumer demand," Cassar said.

Nielsen will continue to track which sites people visit with its NetView service, which is using data from about 40,000 participants in its panel. But in the coming months, it will offer other services for specific industries.

The move is part of an effort to better track a diverse range of industries, each of which considers different metrics.

These more specialized services are meant to give companies a better sense of what consumers are doing on their sites, as opposed to just counting them.