Digital publishers’ audiences are millions bigger than we realised, says Nielsen

Some of Australia’s biggest online publishers have seen vast jumps in the size of their estimated audiences measured by Nielsen.

After changing its methodology, Nielsen now says the likes of, Nine and the ABC all have audiences larger than previously reported.

According to the new Nielsen methodology, Daily Mail Australia has more than doubled its audience in the space of two months.

The last time Nielsen released its monthly digital ratings data to Mumbrella, topped the list with a March unique audience of 5.887m. In the space of two months, this jumped to 8.827m, based on Nielsen’s new Digital Content Ratings. This 50% increase is because the old system failed to properly capture mobile audiences and those on Google AMP pages, claims Nielsen.

Meanwhile, Nine’s reported digital audience apparently jumped by 60% and The ABC by 61%. Nielsen now says that Daily Mail Australia’s unique audience is 139% bigger than it thought it was in March.

The new service replaces the troubled Digital Ratings Monthly survey system, promising better measurement of mobile audiences and websites after publishers had expressed disquiet over the methodology which saw Fairfax pulling out of the system.

Perry: Added off-platform measurement

The first monthly digital ratings see, and ABC News topping the current events and global ratings, however Seven West and Oath sites will not be reported until the Yahoo7 split is complete, and Fairfax properties remain off the list.

Source: Nielsen Digital Content Ratings, Monthly Tagged, May 2018, Current Events and Global News Sub-Category, Text, People 2+, Census.

Compared to the previous system, the latest figures show a massive leap in audiences for sites with jumping 2.9 million unique visitors or 49.9%, also picking up 2.9 million, a 60% jump and ABC News sites gaining 2.8 million, also 60%.

Unlike the first iteration of the Digital Content Rating system launched in July last year, Nielsen claims the new system would track audiences on mobile and secure sites as well as social media platforms and also be able to split out audiences under 18.

“What we’ve launched is really about expanding the coverage of mobile and adding off-platform measurement,” Nielsen Media’s managing director, Monique Perry, told Mumbrella yesterday.

“That’s at the heart of what we’re trying to layer into the measurement is an expansion of coverage and that enables us to report back the complete audience for all our publishers.”

In the first figures released today, Nielsen claims reported audiences for the top ten news sites on smartphone devices were more than 197% up on the previous measure. Social media focused publishers reportedly saw a more than fourfold increase the average audience through the improved off platform reporting.

Tagging remains at the heart of the new system with publishers participating in the program using Nielsen’s Software Development Kit to tag content. The data derived from monitoring the tags is matched with third party data providers before being checked against Nielsen’s media quality panels to weight responses to demographic spreads.

The new system becomes the new IAB Australia endorsed independent measurement for monthly digital audiences with acting CEO, Gai LeRoy saying: “Australia is the first market globally to introduce a digital audience currency that has broad monthly ratings coverage across both text and video content for on and off-platform to give digital publishers – big and small – the opportunity to report their complete audience.

“Today’s release is a testament to the commitment from the IAB Measurement Council and the level of local digital industry collaboration to support independent, transparent and high-quality digital measurement.”

IAB Australia is one of the few industry bodies around the globe which endorses Nielsen rather than ComScore as its digital metric.

Nielsen says it will continue to also run its previous Digital Rating Monthly system for the foreseeable future with it being used for the reporting of non-tagged sites and for some industry reporting datsets.


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