IAB refuses to endorse Nielsen’s new Digital Media Ratings methodology

As Nielsen prepares to reveal the methodology for its new-look Digital Media Ratings, IAB Australia has revealed it will not endorse the new product.

Nielsen has confirmed to Mumbrella it will do a “soft-release” of the latest dataset to clients but not the public today, 22 April, but the new audience data won’t be supported by the IAB. Nielsen and IAB first announced a new “privacy-compliant and future-proofed audience measurement system” in September 2020.

The IAB Australia’s Board, Executive and Measurement Council represents 15 media and agency organisations, and in a statement, said it believes that having a “robust, transparent, standardised currency from an independent measurement vendor is vitally important in providing a level playing field for comparison of audience reach and characteristics and provides confidence to advertisers for planning decisions on where to invest their media budgets”.

IAB CEO Gai Le Roy

However, while the IAB acknowledges the new Digital Media Ratings are an interim step towards a longer-term transformation amid the retirement of third-party cookies, it cannot to support the tagged monthly audience data provided in the soft launch.

“In the limited time frame for review, the IAB is currently unable to support the tagged monthly audience data being provided in soft launch by Nielsen in the new Digital Media Ratings product as outstanding methodology concerns and data queries remain unresolved,” the IAB said.

The newly released audience data includes monthly unique audience, reach share and rankings for tagged entities.

In a statement given to Mumbrella, Nielsen managing director, pacific, Monique Perry said the company “is working to help the market understand that there is a trend break from January 2021 for tagged publisher audiences as we transition from the old methodology to the new one, and the size of this trend break will be different for each publisher.

“The variances are different for each publisher because they are dependent on the sites unique audience composition (device, browser, off platform). The new methodology produces consistent audience reporting from January onwards and Nielsen is confident these audiences represent the key trends in overall audience for all publishers.”

Nielsen’s Monique Perry

The IAB has revealed it was provided with the latest reiteration of data produced by the new methodology in early April, and it reviewed this in parallel with data collected under the old Digital Content Rankings methodology.

Its statement continued: “The Measurement Council is concerned with the broad range of variation and inconsistency of impact on unique audiences under the new methodology and have queries on these variances and why the new methodology produces such different data.

“The IAB Board and Measurement Council will continue to review this new product for future short-term endorsement and currently advise caution in reliance on this new audience data in Digital Media Ratings for ranking and direct comparisons of audience and per person derived metrics.

“The IAB will, however, continue to support market usage of overnight volumetric traffic data measured from media owner tagging.”

Perry said that Nielsen “fully supports and respects the process the IAB, its Measurement Council and Board are following in relation to Digital Media Ratings (DMR)”, and said they “appreciate that the industry will need more time to assess the data and to become familiar with the new methodology being applied.

She went on to say that despite the lack of IAB endorsement, that Nielsen will still go ahead with its DMR soft-launch.

“In the meantime, we continue to release volumetric data every day and we have agreed that a “soft-release” of the latest Digital Media Ratings will be undertaken today, as the industry has asked for up-to-date audience data to make informed decisions around the buying and selling of digital inventory.

In March, the IAB announced an independent review into digital audience measurement requirements, followed by a tender for online measurement services, commencing in May.


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