IAB clarifies its market position on Nielsen’s new Digital Media Ratings


• “The IAB is currently unable to support the tagged monthly audience data being provided”

The IAB Australia Board, executive and measurement council believe having a robust, transparent, standardised currency from an independent measurement vendor is 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.

The retirement of third-party cookies and the increasing emphasis on digital privacy from regulatory, consumer and platform perspectives require changes to how Nielsen measure digital audiences. Nielsen are in the process of developing a new product to measure digital audiences for content environments visited by Australians. The IAB see the new Digital Media Ratings, to be released by Nielsen in soft launch on Thursday 22nd April, as an interim step in a longer-term transformation needed to adjust to new market conditions.

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. This audience data includes monthly unique audience, reach % and rankings for tagged entities.

There have been no changes to methodology for volumetric data measured from media owner tagging and the IAB continues to support market usage and reliance on this overnight traffic data (e.g., page views, time spent, sessions metrics).

The IAB Board and IAB Measurement Council (representing 15 media & agency organisations) take the endorsement of ratings currency data very seriously. The most recent iteration of data produced under the new methodology was provided to the Measurement Council in early April and this has been reviewed in parallel with data produced under the previous Digital Content Ratings methodology. 

The methodology change has resulted in significantly different data under this new interim step audience measurement solution. 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. During the soft launch period, Nielsen will not be releasing audience rankings using Digital Media Ratings data in press releases. 

As the measurement solution evolves and support status changes the IAB will revisit this market guidance statement.

With regard to endorsed digital audience data in the longer term future, the IAB has previously announced it will issue an RFP for online audience measurement services in May 2021, inviting measurement vendors to submit their services for tender evaluation.  The invitation will culminate in vendor/s being endorsed as the preferred supplier/s for the planning, buying, and reporting of online audience measurement.

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