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New study puts first local numbers on Australian mobile and tablet audiences

Mobile panel at Mumbrella360 L:R Nielsen's Stuart Pike, Facebook's Helen Crossley, SCA's Clive Dickens and Yahoo!7's Paul Sigaloff.

Mobile panel at Mumbrella360 L:R Nielsen’s Stuart Pike, Facebook’s Helen Crossley, SCA’s Clive Dickens and Yahoo!7’s Paul Sigaloff.

IAB Australia and Nielsen have given their first insight into the size of the mobile and tablet audience in the Australian market revealing that there are more than 18m users on mobiles and 11m users on tablets.

The data is the fist month’s to come from a pilot project, which runs through until the end of December, and tracks the behaviour of 1,500 Australians on these devices and gives insight into the category and time spent on mobile and tablet devices.

“We all know that mobile is big. It is the reality that in the next financial year most Australian publishers will see more traffic coming from mobile than from desktop,” said Alice Manners, CEO of IAB Australia.

“If we look at it from an online ad revenue perspective in the last quarter it had 21.5 per cent of display revenue for mobile. It is there we know it we feel it but as planners and investors we haven’t had the data to support that.

“What we have done as the IAB Australia perspective, as well as a lot of our supporters and sponsors, is to put some money into that, to show us some data which will enable media planners and marketers to support what they are doing in the mobile area.”Screen Shot 2014-06-05 at 10.58.49 AM

Source: Nielsen / IAB

Source: Nielsen / IAB

Manners was joined on the panel by Nielsen’s managing director of marketing effectiveness practice Stuart Pike who released the data for the first time at today’s Mumbrella360 conference.

“What the data says to me is that mobile usage is still relatively nascent but the good side of that is that I think we are going to see a lot of growth and an increase in usage in the next 12 months,” said Pike, citing graphs which showed Australia still well behind the US and Italy in mobile usage.

Screen Shot 2014-06-05 at 11.29.41 AM“You’ll see that browsing has a very broad spread of activity but at the moment at least usage is dominated by social and gaming engagement.

“The app category usage is much more fragmented in the US and I have no doubt this is where we are headed and in particular what we have seen is a massive growth in video and audio in mobile.”

Screen Shot 2014-06-05 at 11.32.18 AMPike also told the audience that the data showed mobile is not just a medium to reach younger consumers but rather offer a much wider audience.

Screen Shot 2014-06-05 at 11.35.33 AM“We often talk about mobile being a way to reach youth,” said Pike. “Old crusties like me there are plenty of us that use our smart phones and our tablets. This proves that we are getting a lot of usage across the whole gamut of age ranges.

“Retail (as a category) is taking off particularly in smartphones. You only have to go into a store to see how many people are using their phones , even if it is just for price comparison.”

Fellow panel members said the data being revealed was crucial to the future of the industry.

“I think for our business this sort of data is so important”, said Helen Crossley, head of measurement and insights at Facebook. “We are a mobile company, we have changed our strategy in the last few years… to a point where 59 per cent of our total revenue is coming through mobile. Really these days we are a mobile company.

“So for us it is about having the data in the Australian market that means we are in the same position as our global friends in the US and other markets in terms of the knowledge we can bring to clients as well as how we view the landscape. It is a huge step forward.”

Clive Dickens director of digital at Southern Cross Austereo (SCA) said this data could help many media companies innovate.

“We are turning to being digital,” said Dickens. “We have had phenomenal growth in mobile in the last 12 months so that 66 per cent of our traffic is mobile according to Nielsen.

“The big challenge here is consumer perception and reality around data, some of that is perception because prices have come down but people have been burnt around mobile data.

“We have a very competitive online audio category. I counted 23 competitors in the space to give you Rihannon on your phone and with very little differentiation and that mean a lot more innovation (is needed) in that space as well.”

Yahoo!7 commercial director Paul Sigaloff said he was surprised by some of the findings in the data.

“I was slightly surprised by the data in that I thought we were more like the US but as Clive mentioned I envisage things changing quite quickly.”

The release of the mobile data comes amid the ongoing IAB tender for online audience measurment. Nielsen and the IAB have previously been criticised for the lack of mobile audience measurement in the IAB approved metric however, have signalled that the new tender must include a mobile metric.

Nic Christensen 

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