IAB ‘retires’ unique browsers measure as reliable metric

Online advertising industry body The Interactive Advertising Bureau (IAB) Limited has announced it no longer feels unique browsers is a reliable metric for online traffic.

The announcement:

IAB Australia has issued a Notice of Intent to the industry advising it is retiring the Monthly Unique Browser (UB) metric in Australia as of 1st February 2013. Following that date, IAB has advised the Monthly UB metric should not be used as an audience proxy and in line with this move Nielsen will stop reporting this metric within its Market Intelligence product. Instead, the use of a people-based metric Unique Audience (UA) should be used.

The Monthly UB metric is being retired as it is no longer in line with the active online population or even total population. Monthly UBs now total over 90 million in Australia – outnumbering the actual human online population by a factor of more than five. The decision to retire the metric was made by the IAB Measurement Council with the MFA and has the support of AANA.

Gai Le Roy, IAB Australia’s Director of Research, commented: “The Monthly UB metric has been used in the Australian market for more than 15 years but now that it no longer equals a person, it has outlived its usefulness as a proxy for monthly visitation to website figures and should not be used.

“As an industry we are looking for more accurate and meaningful data and it’s clear that the Monthly UB metric is become increasingly inaccurate, less useful and even misleading. Indeed with the proliferation of devices and browsers in use by consumers, the disparity between browsers and actual people will only accelerate,” said Le Roy.

While the Monthly UB metric is being retired, the Average Daily UB metric may still be used as the IAB Measurement Council has determined that the active online population in Australia is aligned with the Average Daily UB numbers.

In conducting its review, the Measurement Council found that while the Monthly Unique Browsers inflation is most noticeable at a Market Aggregate level, the top five Publishers in Nielsen’s Market Intelligence (MI) often have a greater number of Monthly Unique Browsers than total Australian Active Online universe of 16.1 million people – an impossible and implausible amount.

Source: IAB press release



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