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Australian Audience Measurement Roadmap

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IAB Australia was pleased to announce in October 2014 the re-appointment of Nielsen as the industry preferred supplier for digital audience measurement services in Australia. January 2015 sees the start of the new deed and the beginning of a whole lot of work for Nielsen, the IAB and the industry to ensure that we help drive new solutions to suit the new digital advertising landscape.

I would personally like to highlight and thank the often unsung heroes of the IAB Measurement Council. This council of twenty comprises research- and insight-oriented folk from publishers and agencies who meet monthly to discuss the minutia of digital audience measurement – and if you have ever tried to get 20 analysts to agree on something then, well, you can imagine the robust debate generated! This is a huge investment for both the individuals and their organisations and an incredible resource for the industry.

So what's next? There is a lot of detail that Nielsen or the IAB can run through with member organisations, but for me, there are three big pieces coming over the next two years in particular:

1. Mobile Measurement
Background: Measuring audience (not traffic) information for smartphones and tablets across apps and browsing at a market level has been something the industry has grappled with over the last three or four years. There has been criticism on the speed of getting this to market, but to put this into context this is the hardest and most expensive project I have encountered in 20 years of working in media ratings. We have been lucky in Australia, as one of the very few markets with a market daily traffic reporting in Nielsen's Market Intelligence, that we have been able to report device-level information for the last two years. IAB Australia along with a number of key publishers and Nielsen invested heavily in a mobile panel pilot in 2014 to review options, smooth out problems with mobile measurement and feed learnings into an industry level solution.

Next steps: The first half of 2015 will see Nielsen clients gaining access to smartphone and tablet ratings based on a 2,500 people panel with data on both browsing and app behaviour. This will provide information on audience size, demographics, average time spent and session information for properties and publishers with significant audiences.

2. Cross Digital Measurement
Bringing it all together: The second half of 2015 will see the pieces of the puzzle coming together – panel information for desktop, smartphone and table reported as one. Buyers and sellers will have information on cross-digital audience numbers with a complete view across the three devices as well as the ability to review them separately.

3. Granularity – daily and long-tail audience reporting
Background: Hybrid measurement (combining tagged traffic data and media-panel data) was a huge step forward for the industry about five years back and remains a key component of our digital audience measurement system going forward, but more detail is needed for this data to remain relevant with increasing audience fragmentation, fusion with other media-ratings data, programmatic buying and an increasing focus on campaign audience measurement.

Next steps: So the backend of 2015 will see us developing a daily digital audience measurement system that will be launched in market in 2016. This will involve Nielsen leveraging external large third-party data sets to give scale and allow both daily reporting and a more comprehensive reporting of smaller sites and apps. This is a similar approach to the methodology used by Nielsen globally for their Online Campaign Ratings service. The underlying media quality panel run by Nielsen will still be key to making sure the data that is reported is representative of the whole market and not skewed towards any particular player.

The new deed with Nielsen includes updated industry KPIs that will be regularly reviewed by both the IAB Measurement Council and IAB board, as well as significant extra investment in education, training and the appointment of John Price as an industry focused Nielsen representative. Price, who has been working with closely with the IAB Measurement Council, has been appointed Industry Director, Digital Ratings for Nielsen and will be focussed on rolling out a lot more information on the upcoming developments to the market.

Clear as mud? This video might help explain some of the changes in more detail.




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