Thursday, May 26, 2011

Australias first officially endorsed online audience measurement announced

IAB Australia today announced The Nielsen Company as the sole preferred provider of online audience measurement in Australia. This follows an 8 month tender period, amongst five competitors (Colmar Brunton with Gemius, ComScore, The Nielsen Company, Roy Morgan Research with Effective Measure and Vizisense).

Whilst the sceptics may wonder what’s changed (Nielsen were already the unofficial providers used by most agencies in market), we see this as a timely and important step forward.

Digital audience measurement has long been flawed in Australia, with different planning tools offering either inflated or deflated numbers, due to methodology challenges. The overriding outcome of the official appointment will be improved accuracy of planning data, meaning our planners will be better equipped to assess site performance against our clients target audiences.
It is understood, Nielsen will use a hybrid methodology, favoring people based metrics as opposed to browser based. This is an important differentiator, as cookie deletion is a significant problem, when browser based methodologies are utilised. This has historically resulted in huge inflation of stats (great win for publishers but not accurate).

Challenges with people based metrics have previously existed around panel recruitment (consider that this requires your computer/s and other digital devices to be monitored 24/7). Recruiting work based panels has been particularly challenging. With the Nielsen announcement today centering on people-based metrics, we can only assume that this challenge has been over-come.

Other benefits associated with the new appointment include the ability to measure audiences across all digital platforms (extending to mobile, tablets etc). This likely will have been cost of entry, in an environment that is rapidly fragmenting device wise.

Finally, it’s been announced there will be improvements in our ability to compare digital numbers to other media, along with new capabilities in multi -media reach and frequency. Nielsen will have had significant advantage in this space off the back of their heritage in media research.

Changes to expect as a result of the Nielsen tender win:
  • website statistics will improve in accuracy and numbers are likely to be higher than we currently estimate (as they extend to cover more devices and through work panel improvements)
  • better targeting options (target audiences available via NetView are broad and lack flexibility)
  • very importantly, we will move on from UBs (unique browsers) as an industry metric to people based numbers
In the coming weeks we will gain more granular information in relation to the panel make up. We will also be introduced to Nielsens new data release, which is to be know as 'Nielsen Online Ratings (hybrid)'. As this evolves, you can expect to see our team presenting you with more detailed implication's.

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