Nielsen has switched on another major upgrade to Australia’s independent digital audience measurement system, Nielsen Digital Content Ratings.
This upgrade adds off-platform audiences and expands measurement coverage of mobile audiences to deliver a more precise and comprehensive independent view of total digital audiences.
Nielsen Digital Content Ratings will now provide both monthly and weekly reporting frequencies in addition to the existing daily data that has been in the market for 12 months.
It becomes the new IAB Australia-endorsed independent measurement for monthly digital audiences.
Digital Content Ratings monthly data directly addresses the IAB Australia and industry needs to include off-platform audiences and expand measurement of mobile audiences to provide better visibility of growth in total audiences who are consuming a publishers’ digital content.
Monique Perry, managing director of Nielsen Media, said the Australian media industry has a lot to be proud of.
“This is an incredibly competitive market and publishers in Australia are constantly evolving their content delivery strategies to win the hearts of Australian audiences,” she said.
“Now with the support of the IAB and their Measurement Council, we have the sophistication and depth of digital measurement to provide the most complete view of these highly-engaged digital audiences.”
However, Perry added that today’s milestone did not come easily.
“This was our hardest upgrade to date and has required incredible collaboration from publishers to tag all their content and to test our solutions, as well as off-platform providers to integrate with our measurement solution,” she said.
“This industry can be proud of its efforts, and in fact there are more publishers tagged for Nielsen’s digital measurement in Australia than in any other global Nielsen market.”
Gai Le Roy, acting chief executive at IAB Australia, said: “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 chair Cameron King said the role of independent, comparable measurement for digital audiences is more important than ever as the industry evolves.
“Having a ratings currency that can report on total audiences, no matter how they access content, is vital for publishers and gives much-needed confidence to agencies and marketers when making their media investments,” he said.
Demonstrating how important this coverage upgrade is, the new monthly data sees average growth in the top 10 news site audiences on smartphone devices of more than 197 per cent.
Additionally, when looking at publishers with strong social strategies, the new monthly data (which now captures off-platform audiences) saw more than fourfold the average audience increase on smartphones.
Alex Smith, Nielsen’s digital product lead for the Asia-Pacific region, said: “Digital Content Ratings now measures online Australians across text, video and audio content, consumed on or off-platform, de-duplicated across all devices.
“Throughout 2018 we have released coverage upgrades to Digital Content Ratings to enable publishers to layer in audiences consuming their content off-platform.
“We launched in 2017 with Facebook instant articles available, we added Google AMP in April 2018 and Facebook Video crediting in May 2018.
“This means when publishers opt in for Nielsen tags, we can now measure these audiences and add them back to the publishers overall total unique audience numbers.”
A critical component of Nielsen’s digital measurement is publisher participation. Digital Content Ratings has three key components:
- Nielsen’s Software Development Kit (SDK) or tag is able to light up all the publisher content both on and off-platform.
- This SDK acts as a beacon to Nielsen’s third-party data provider to determine who did the viewing, in age and gender terms as well as deduplication of audiences between devices and over time.
- Nielsen’s media quality panels are used to weight and balance any bias or attribution error.
Perry said it is only through the acceptance of the Nielsen SDK integration that the company is able to independently measure audiences consuming content off-platform, and this cooperation is enabling independent third-party audience verification.
“Nielsen will still deliver independent panel-only audience metrics for the many websites that do not integrate the SDK and this will deliver monthly audiences for content consumed on-platform only,” she said.
“Launching monthly Digital Content Ratings data is not the final destination. We still have work to do in building out the respondent level data for this coverage upgrade.
“We have a commitment to our partners to ensure the endorsed digital currency can live in other critical currency datasets like emma and Consumer & Media View. We are proud of this solution for its ability to pivot faster.
“If a publisher can light up their content with our tags, then we can adapt faster to accurately and independently measure their audience. We are effectively building the best possible measurement coverage together.”
From June 2018, Nielsen Digital Content Ratings Monthly data is the IAB-endorsed digital rankings. It will be released on the 4th of each following month.
A first look at the new data
The Digital Content Ratings monthly numbers are predominantly higher than Digital Ratings (Monthly), largely driven by increases in measurement of smartphone audiences.
The smartphone audience increases are due to the inclusion of off-platform content, in-app browsing behaviour and measuring under 18-year-olds on smartphone devices.
However, some publishers may kick up a stink that this new ratings data shouldn’t be taken on face value, arguing that it will not give an accurate perception of their actual footprint because reporting Digital Content Ratings is available at a brand/sub-brand level only.