Delayed first mobile audience data shows Viber more popular than Snapchat and WhatsApp

viber snapchat logos

Viber is bigger on smartphones than Snapchat

The first detailed data for Australian mobile audiences shows smartphones are now the most commonly used device for Australians and that communications app Viber has a bigger unique audience than youth-oriented instant messaging service Snapchat and competitor WhatsApp.

Digital industry body the Interactive Advertising Bureau’s (IAB) first mobile panel, which measures web-based and app-based browsing, also gives a breakdown of unique audiences for news sites showing traditional publishers such as, and the ABC are the most-visited on phones and tablets.

Both the IAB and measurement company Nielsen have defended the six-month delay in getting the first Mobile Ratings Report to market saying it was necessary to make sure they got the data right.

As Mumbrella revealed last month the new mobile data will eventually be fused with Nielsen’s existing online system to give de-duplicated audiences for websites across platforms.

Alice Manners

Alice Manners

According to the IAB tender Nielsen was meant to deliver the data by the first quarter of this year, however Alice Manners, IAB CEO defended the delays telling Mumbrella: “There is no template for what we are doing in Australia.

“We are one of the most advanced markets in the world when it comes to measurement. We are the fourth market to introduce this and so we had to test and trial initially and make sure we got it right.

“It has taken more time but it was about coming out with numbers that were right for the market. We lead the world in this space.”

Monique Perry, head of Nielsen’s media industry group, said a decision was made in conjunction with the IAB not to “rush to market”, adding the nuanced nature of the data and local market meant they had to take more time on their approach than initially thought.

Key claims of the first Nielsen Mobile Ratings Report include:

  • 12.5m Australians accessed the internet on smartphones and 7.4 million Australians used tablets.
  • Australians 18+ spend more time on smartphones than any other digital device, with just over 33 hours per person per month spent browsing or using apps on average.
  • 9m Australians used commerce or shopping sites on their smartphone and 5m on their tablet.
  • Over 10.7m Australians used video and streaming services on their smartphone and 5.2 million on their tablets.
  • 75 per cent of Australian smartphone users are connecting to financial services or information every month
  • Time spent browsing or on applications is now higher on smartphones than desktop or any other device with 42 percent of total time spent on smartphones;
  • More than 10m Australians are using smartphones for entertainment, news, social and search each month;
  • More than 8m are using smartphones for shopping, music, travel and gaming;
Lisa Walsh


“With over 15m Australians now owning a smartphone and some 12 million owning a tablet device, these two devices count for 59 per cent of all time spent online,” said Lisa Walsh director of research for the IAB.

“It’s critical that the industry has access to data which quantifies the importance of mobile media audiences and helps to inform marketing investments in the digital realm.”

The new data has seen the IAB and Nielsen reduce the total number of mobile devices in Australia after removing “featurephones” with limited internet functionality from the category.

Unsurprisingly the overall trend in smartphones and tablets is up with Nielsen claiming 83 per cent of smartphones are connected to the internet – although in the case of tablets only 61 per cent are connected.

Nielsen mobile tablet growNielsen data also shows mobile and tablet outstripping traditional desktop viewing in time spent browsing.

Mobile time spent

Total time spent browsing or on apps

“Consumers are often on smartphones for short sharp sessions, however the cumulative time that is being generated is really interesting. It shows the power of the phone and the potential it offers to advertisers,” said Walsh.

Traditional media players have dominated the news rankings for both mobile and tablet with the Daily Telegraph, which often struggles to make the top ten in desktop, coming in at third in mobile and eighth in tablets.

Buzzfeed, which is not included in the general news classification by Nielsen, had a unique audience of 610,000 on smartphones, which would have seen it come in eighth place on the list. Recent Australian entrant The Huffington Post does not make either list.

Walsh argued this dominance of existing media companies was due to the power of their brands.

Nielsen Online Ratings for mobile and tablet

Nielsen Online Ratings for mobile and tablet

“I think it is about those big strong media brands that resonate with audiences – no matter what device they are using,” she said.

“It doesn’t mean that there isn’t room for new entrants on some of these devices,” she added, citing the BBC who came in fifth on the tablet rankings.

Walsh added the full impact of the inclusion of mobile and tablet data would not be felt until 2016 when the numbers were fused with desktop, a move that is likely to shake up the top 10 news rankings.

“Next year we will see an unduplicated audience reach metric for all of these publishers and that will deduplicate smartphone, tablet and desktop and give us a unified number,” she explained.

Nielsen has also released a list of the top online brands which shows behemoths Google and Facebook dominating on smartphones and tablets, and also giving insight into the smartphone app market with Viber beating both Snapchat and WhatsApp in the Australian mobile market.

According to Nielsen, Viber had a unique mobile audience of 2.348m, Snapchat 2.244m, Whatsapp 2.046m.

Screen Shot 2015-10-07 at 4.14.18 pmNic Christensen 


Get the latest media and marketing industry news (and views) direct to your inbox.

Sign up to the free Mumbrella newsletter now.



Sign up to our free daily update to get the latest in media and marketing.