IAB and Nielsen launch world-leading total digital audience measurement solution, Digital Ratings (Monthly)

Posted by Christian Manie On March 30, 2016 Media Releases

SYDNEY, 31 March, 2016: IAB Australia and Nielsen today released the industry’s new digital audience measurement currency, Digital Ratings (Monthly). The digital measurement solution gives the market a first look at Australia’s total digital audience, unduplicated, across PC, smartphone and tablet for both web browsers and apps.

Digital Ratings (Monthly) fuses together Nielsen’s pre-existing PC panel for home and work with nationally representative panels of Australian smartphone and tablet internet users, as well as census tagged data for PC and mobile web. It provides an independent, cross-device view of the total digital audience.

The data allows publishers, who are already investing significantly in mobile, to see how their audiences have grown across all digital devices. It also enables agencies and advertisers to make more accurate decisions and gauge the reach of their digital investment – giving a true picture of their total audience across key digital devices.

Key Highlights from Digital Ratings (Monthly)
– Total active digital universe in Australia for February 2016 is close to 19.6 million people across computers, smartphones and tablets
– While computers are still the prevalent device for going online, with almost 18 million Australians actively using in February 2016, over 13 million people also actively browse websites / apps on smartphones and 7.5 million people on tablets
– Australians spend more time browsing websites / apps on their smartphones than any other device (more than 28 hours per person per month)
– Photography, travel, special occasions and automotive sectors show the largest incremental growth from desktop only to total audience
– Search Engines, Portals and Social Networking category, Communication, Entertainment and Family & Lifestyle categories have the largest incremental growth in time spent from desktop only to total

The release of Digital Ratings (Monthly) is the second of three planned major upgrades to the digital audience measurement system in Australia. Stage one saw IAB Australia and Nielsen release the market’s first view of Australians’ mobile and tablet audience data.

According to Alice Manners, CEO of IAB Australia Digital Ratings (Monthly) is the most significant and important change to Australia’s IAB endorsed digital audience measurement currency since the introduction of Nielsen Online Ratings in 2011.

“Once again Australia leads the world in audience measurement, reflecting the sophistication and maturity of this market. I’d like to thank the industry for coming together and supporting this initiative with IAB,” said Manners

The third stage on the IAB Australia and Nielsen roadmap is Digital Content Ratings which will leverage the scale of third-party providers.

“This will be the holy grail of digital total audience measurement,” said Monique Perry, Nielsen’s Head of Media. “It will see the Australian market transition to daily delivery of digital audience data, across sites big and small. It’s a very exciting time for the digital industry and we (at Nielsen) are thrilled to walk alongside the industry and have their incredible support as we pioneer digital audience measurement.”

Sophie Madden, CEO of the MFA said: “Digital Ratings (Monthly) will provide much needed audience-based measurement encompassing PC, smartphone and tablet users in Australia, enabling media agencies to deliver even greater insights and campaigns for clients. It is a key step towards eventual daily digital audience measurement data.”


In February 2016, close to 19.6 million Australians accessed digital content across computers, smartphones and tablets

At a total market level, Digital Ratings (Monthly) adds over one million Australians to the active digital universe. Australians engaging via mobile devices, and particularly via apps, are the primary driver of this growth; Nielsen is now able to include them in the universe estimate via fusion of their smartphone and tablet panels. The total active digital universe in Australia for February 2016 is close to 19.6 million people across computers, smartphones and tablets.

“We also see a significant increase in total time online per person from 32 hours to 49 hours,” added Perry. “During February 2016, Australians spent more than 28 hours just on their smartphone, higher than any other digital device.

The advancement in our methodology means better measurement and reporting of time spent engaging via mobile devices which is incredibly important for our clients who have invested heavily in mobile content and strategies. I expect to see continuing growth in mobile investment in the coming months now that the industry can trade with increased transparency, measurability and confidence,” Perry predicted.


The Nielsen data reveals the true size and relativity of the different device-level universes. While computers are unsurprisingly still the device of choice for most Australians (approx. 18 million people), the data shows how previously uncaptured mobile audiences compare in scale and engagement. Smartphones saw over 13 million people actively browsing websites / apps in February 2016, and tablets saw 7.5 million people doing the same.



From an audience perspective, the photography category experienced the largest increase from the fusion of smartphone and tablet devices and more than doubling in size. Widespread adoption of applications in this category, including Google Photo and Samsung Photo Editor are key drivers. Special occasions were almost exclusively driven by Australia Post and its mobile app service – lending itself well to the on-the-go nature of mobile engagement.

The automotive category lift was driven by Carsales’ mobile app, a locally developed ad supported app driving significant audiences on mobile screens.

The travel category rounds out the largest growers of unique audiences, admittedly off an already large desktop audience. Google Maps, Apple Maps and Uber are all key contributors.


From a time metric perspective, the search engines, portals & social networking category was the clear leader reporting a 205% increase in total minutes from desktop only to total audience. This is driven by Facebook, Google Search and Instagram audiences, especially from apps.

The Communication category also reported large increases in time spent, driven by Facebook Messenger, Gmail, Snapchat and Whatsapp.

Entertainment and Family & Lifestyle also saw notable rises, jumping their total minutes across all key digital devices by 177% and 174% respectively.



Australians still primarily use computers to access current events and global news related content, spending close to 2 hours and 17 minutes per person per month.


The new Digital Ratings (Monthly) methodology, which includes the measurement of mobile devices to capture the total digital audience has resulted in the realisation of strong mobile audiences the current event & global news sub-category.

News.com.au., smh.com.au and ABC News Websites all continue to hold the top three rankings in terms of highest total Unique Audience. However importantly, all top 10 Current Events & Global News entities experienced a total audience level increase of between 40-75%.



In February 2016, close to five million Australians engaged with an automotive publisher via a digital device. PC’s were the most likely method for engagement over 3.2 million people and carsales.com.au accounting for a significant proportion of total audience engagement with nearly 2 million unique people visiting. 




PC’s remained the device more Australian’s used for accessing content online for the real estate category. In terms of device used for engaging with real estate content, both computers and smartphones were similar in terms of time spent showing 49 and 46 minutes respectively– during the month. Realestate.com.au attracted a total audience of just over 5.5 million individual Australians to their website during February 2016 and visitors spent the largest time with this content – 48 minutes. 


DRM 10


About The Interactive Advertising Bureau

The Interactive Advertising Bureau (IAB) Limited is the peak trade association for online advertising in Australia and was incorporated in July 2010. As one of over 43 IAB offices globally, and with a rapidly growing membership, IAB Australia’s principal objective is to support and enable the media and marketing industry to ensure that they thrive in the digital economy.

The role of the IAB is to work with its members and the broader advertising and marketing industry to assist marketers to identify how best to employ online as part of their marketing strategy, to better target and engage their customers and build their brands.

By addressing the core pillars of growth of the online advertising industry – simplified and standard online audience measurement, research, and online operational standards and guidelines, and regulatory affairs, IAB Australia leverages the skills, experience and commitment of its members to advocate the benefits of online advertising by acting as an authoritative and objective source for all online advertising issues whilst promoting industry-wide best practice.

IAB Australia is a registered not-for-profit organisation; membership fees and revenue generated is invested back into the IAB’s membership benefits such as resources, events, reporting, and industry representation.

For further information about IAB Australia please visit: www.iabaustralia.com.au


Nielsen N.V. (NYSE: NLSN) is a global performance management company that provides a comprehensive understanding of what consumers Watch and Buy. Nielsen’s Watch segment provides media and advertising clients with Total Audience measurement services across all devices where content — video, audio and text — is consumed. The Buy segment offers consumer packaged goods manufacturers and retailers the industry’s only global view of retail performance measurement. By integrating information from its Watch and Buy segments and other data sources, Nielsen provides its clients with both world-class measurement as well as analytics that help improve performance.  Nielsen, an S&P 500 company, has operations in over 100 countries that cover more than 90 percent of the world’s population. For more information, visit www.nielsen.com

For further information please contact:

Alice Manners

CEO – IAB Australia

T: 0408 107 399

E: alice.manners@iabaustralia.com.au


Pru Quinlan

Einsteinz Communications

T: (02) 8905 0995

E: pru@einsteinz.com.au

Jackie Helliker


T: + 61 403 074 864 


Christian Manie