Progression of Australian Digital Measurement

Posted by Gai Le Roy On January 11, 2017

So 2016 was an interesting year for digital measurement to say the least. There was some well-deserved questioning, some scrutiny that comes with an increased market share and a lot of people confusing metrics and their meaning. Australians spent 72 hours online on PCs, phones and tablets in November 2016. Regardless of whether you agree or disagree on recent criticism levelled at digital metrics, the answer is not to retreat to an earlier era but to find new solutions and add extra layers of assurance that are relevant to current consumer behaviour.

Australia has always been a progressive market in terms of digital audience measurement usually being the first or second market to introduce new market-level initiatives; from changing the terminology of unique users to unique browsers in the early 2000s, to introduction of hybrid site centric/panel methodology in 2005, to retirement of monthly UBs in 2012 and the industry funded launch of mobile/tablet ratings in 2014.

On behalf of the media and advertising industry, IAB Australia invests significant time and resources to manage a sole and preferred supplier deed for digital audience measurement. This industry initiative ensures that Australia has a world-leading, independent, inclusive and transparent digital audience measurement system. Digital Ratings (Monthly), which was launched early in 2016 is the second of three planned major upgrades to the digital audience measurement system.

Below are some key points regarding the IAB/Nielsen Industry Digital Audience Measurement:

  1. Provides the industry with an audience focused measurement system which tracks all behaviour on browsers and apps across desktop/laptop, smartphones and tablets.
  2. The data is inclusive and reports on all properties in an equal manner, regardless of their involvement with the IAB, to provide the industry with comparable data on all players. It is a transparent system that tracks over 6,500 media organisations, brands and channels across three devices in each reporting period.
  3. It is an independent system run by a leading global measurement organisation, Nielsen, with the oversight by the digital industry and the IAB.
  4. The digital audience measurement data and system is continually reviewed by the IAB’s Measurement Council which has representatives of seventeen media organisations and the Media Federation of Australia. The IAB deed requires Nielsen to undergo annual independent audits as directed by the Measurement Council and to take any necessary action to ensure agreed standards are met.
  5. The Australian solution is world leading with a hybrid people-based measurement system which combines the best of a media quality panel and detailed census data from a wide range of publishers. Moving to daily ratings for text, video and audio measurement in 2017 will yet again be a world first.
  6. Digital audience measurement is constantly evolving to reflect changes in technology adoption and general digital consumer trends so as to ensure the solution provides accurate and relevant data for media agencies, advertisers and publishers.

As an industry we need to place consumer behaviour front and centre, and while we need to allow buyers to make fair comparisons across properties and channels in terms of audience measurement we also need to improve our assessment of ad effectiveness. In 2016 IAB Australia released the first round of ad blocking research as well as a whitepaper on viewability. In 2017 we will increase our focus on the impact of digital advertising, helping to answer that increasingly complicated question: “Did my investment work?” 

The IAB Measurement Council meets monthly and comprises representatives of the following organisations:
ABC, Carsales, Daily Mail, Facebook, Fairfax Media, Google, LinkedIn, Media Federation of Australia, News Corporation, Nine, Pacific Magazines, REA Group, Seven Network, Southern Cross Austereo, Telstra, West Australian Newspapers, Yahoo7.

Gai Le Roy