IAB launches Digital Ratings (Monthly)

IAB Australia and Nielsen have released the industry’s new digital audience measurement currency – Digital Ratings (Monthly).

IAB Australia and Nielsen have released the industry’s new digital audience measurement currency, Digital Ratings (Monthly). The digital measurement solution gives the market a first look at Australia’s total digital audience, unduplicated, across PC, smartphone and tablet for both web browsers and apps.

Digital Ratings (Monthly) fuses together Nielsen’s pre-existing PC panel for home and work with nationally representative panels of Australian smartphone and tablet internet users, as well as census tagged data for PC and mobile web. It provides an independent, cross-device view of the total digital audience.

The data allows publishers, who are already investing significantly in mobile, to see how their audiences have grown across all digital devices. It also enables agencies and advertisers to make more accurate decisions and gauge the reach of their digital investment – giving a true picture of their total audience across key digital devices.

Key Highlights from Digital Ratings (Monthly):

  • Total active digital universe in Australia for February 2016 is close to 19.6 million people across computers, smartphones and tablets.
  • While computers are still the prevalent device for going online, with almost 18 million Australians actively using in February 2016, over 13 million people also actively browse websites / apps on smartphones and 7.5 million people on tablets.
  • Australians spend more time browsing websites / apps on their smartphones than any other device (more than 28 hours per person per month).
  • Photography, travel, special occasions and automotive sectors show the largest incremental growth from desktop only to total audience.
  • Search Engines, Portals and Social Networking category, Communication, Entertainment and Family & Lifestyle categories have the largest incremental growth in time spent from desktop only to total

The release of Digital Ratings (Monthly) is the second of three planned major upgrades to the digital audience measurement system in Australia. Stage one saw IAB Australia and Nielsen release the market’s first view of Australians’ mobile and tablet audience data.

The third stage on the IAB Australia and Nielsen roadmap is Digital Content Ratings which will leverage the scale of third-party providers.

“This will be the holy grail of digital total audience measurement,” said Monique Perry, Nielsen’s Head of Media. “It will see the Australian market transition to daily delivery of digital audience data, across sites big and small. It’s a very exciting time for the digital industry and we (at Nielsen) are thrilled to walk alongside the industry and have their incredible support as we pioneer digital audience measurement.”

In February 2016, close to 19.6 million Australians accessed digital content across computers, smartphones and tablets

At a total market level, Digital Ratings (Monthly) adds over one million Australians to the active digital universe. Australians engaging via mobile devices, and particularly via apps, are the primary driver of this growth; Nielsen is now able to include them in the universe estimate via fusion of their smartphone and tablet panels. The total active digital universe in Australia for February 2016 is close to 19.6 million people across computers, smartphones and tablets.

“We also see a significant increase in total time online per person from 32 hours to 49 hours,” added Perry. “During February 2016, Australians spent more than 28 hours just on their smartphone, higher than any other digital device.

“The advancement in our methodology means better measurement and reporting of time spent engaging via mobile devices which is incredibly important for our clients who have invested heavily in mobile content and strategies. I expect to see continuing growth in mobile investment in the coming months now that the industry can trade with increased transparency, measurability and confidence,” Perry predicted.


The Nielsen data reveals the true size and relativity of the different device-level universes. While computers are unsurprisingly still the device of choice for most Australians (approx. 18 million people), the data shows how previously uncaptured mobile audiences compare in scale and engagement. Smartphones saw over 13 million people actively browsing websites / apps in February 2016, and tablets saw 7.5 million people doing the same.


From an audience perspective, the photography category experienced the largest increase from the fusion of smartphone and tablet devices and more than doubling in size. Widespread adoption of applications in this category, including Google Photo and Samsung Photo Editor are key drivers. Special occasions were almost exclusively driven by Australia Post and its mobile app service – lending itself well to the on-the-go nature of mobile engagement.

The automotive category lift was driven by Carsales’ mobile app, a locally developed ad supported app driving significant audiences on mobile screens.

The travel category rounds out the largest growers of unique audiences, admittedly off an already large desktop audience. Google Maps, Apple Maps and Uber are all key contributors.


From a time metric perspective, the search engines, portals & social networking category was the clear leader reporting a 205% increase in total minutes from desktop only to total audience. This is driven by Facebook, Google Search and Instagram audiences, especially from apps.

The Communication category also reported large increases in time spent, driven by Facebook Messenger, Gmail, Snapchat and Whatsapp.

Entertainment and Family & Lifestyle also saw notable rises, jumping their total minutes across all key digital devices by 177% and 174% respectively.


Source: IAB/Nielsen

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