IAB names Nielsen as official online audience metric

The Interactive Advertising Bureau has revealed The Nielsen Company as its preferred provider of online audience measurement.

This morning’s announcement comes after a search which formally kicked off last year.  

The final contenders were Colmar Brunton with Gemius;  ComScore; Nielsen Online; Roy Morgan Research with Effective Measure and Vizisense.

The announcement sees the introduction of a hybrid system which uses both a consumer panel and tags on websites.

Systems based only on site tags tend to vastly overcount unique visitors because of consumers using more than one device to go online, or deleting cookies showing they have previously visited.

The deal sees Nielsen strengthen its grip on audience emasurement in the Australian media industry. Although the IAB can only recommend the offering, it is almost certain that its members – including all of the major online publishers – will sign up.

The new offering – known as Nielsen Online Ratings (hybrid) is ready to launch immediately. However, although it will include data on mobile usage,  the system will not be as initially robust at tracking this rapidly changing area.

Speaking at the announcement in Sydney this morning, IAB CEO Paul Fisher said the new offering would make it easier for planners to compare online to other media because it would offer more reliable reach and frequency metrics.

Meanwhile, researcher John Grono, representing media agency body the Media Federation, called for auditing to follow as part of the process. He said: “I’d want to get the Audit Bureau involved. I think we want to audit every page.”

At present very few of the large websites have signed up to the Audit Bureau’s online auditing service – in part because many of them still autorefresh pages, including ads, on certain areas of their sites and this would fail the audit standards.

Fishersaid the issue would be discussed: “One of the things we will do now is come up with a compliance process and within that online audit might spring from.”

Fisher claimed:  “This is without a doubt the most significant step to date in an ongoing process to evolve and improve how we measure online audiences and advertising.”

Scott McClellan, CEO of the Australian Association of National Advertisers, said: “The online space has been using a variety of measurement tools, which has made it extremely difficult for advertisers to understand the value of audience data. This move to an industry supported standardised currency will allow advertisers, in partnership with their agencies, to better understand the audience online use to assist in planning where to invest their media budget.”

Anyone wanting to access the data, or to carry  Nielsen tags on their sites, will need to subscribe to the service. Nielsen boss Negan Clarken decliend to discuss costs but said a rate card would be available.

  • The new system will be unveiled to the industry in a briefing session at the Mumbrella360 conference in a fortnight’s time. Those on the panel will include Matt Bruce, Nielsen’s MD for media audience measurement; Maxus boss David Gaines, who heads the MFA’s digital committee, and the AANA’s Scott McLellan. Tickets are available on the Mumbrella360 website.

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