Press Room

Enhancements Announced to Nielsen’s Online Audience Measurement

SYDNEY: APRIL 15, 2014: Industry heads for the Interactive Advertising Bureau (IAB) Measurement Council and Nielsen, have announced major enhancements to the platform and panel management of the IAB endorsed Nielsen Online Ratings service. Local and global multi-million dollar investments by Nielsen in the engine that runs Nielsen Online Ratings, as well as improvements in rules around panel activity rates and eligibility will further advance online audience measurement in the Australian market.

These enhancements by Nielsen lay the groundwork for a future move toward both daily and cross-platform audience measurement, while further stabilising the measurement of the total number of Australians accessing the Internet each month. When compared to historical data, the estimate of the ‘online universe’ (the total number of Australians accessing the internet each month) increased by an average of 1.3 million people over a five month testing period.

Two key enhancements to Nielsen’s online audience measurement are:

  1. Deployment of a new, scalable data processing platform, enabling daily quality control and processing of audience measurement data.
  2. Tightening of eligibility rules for the panel of people that Nielsen Online Ratings uses to put audience metrics around the traffic data it collects. The updated rules will more rigorously monitor the activity levels and compliance of panelists, while also shifting the focus to managing individual panelist compliance rather than at a household level. Nielsen will also remove any ‘inactive’ panelists or anyone that hasn’t consistently provided data for an extended period of time. Nielsen will track and remove these ‘inactive users’ on a daily bases unless they are genuinely people who just don’t use the Internet.

Dr Stuart Pike, Nielsen’s Executive Director of Digital Audience Measurement for the region stated: “These enhancements are important to ensure we can deliver monthly Nielsen Online Ratings data to the market quicker and be ready over time to move towards daily unique audience data and include panel data for mobile and tablet web consumption. The panel makeup has not changed, but the way Nielsen collects and interprets this data has been enhanced to account for the change in consumer behaviour – away from just computers and towards mobile devices. “

“The digital landscape has changed dramatically in just the last year” said Monique Perry, Head of Media for Nielsen Australia. “We need to allow for the future of audience measurement across devices, and to stabilise the digital industry’s measurement of the total online population. This move takes us a step closer toward achieving both things.”

“As consumers engage with online content in different ways, we can now ensure that these audiences are captured in the figures.  Simply put – the consumer is changing and we have to change and adapt to ensure we are always improving and reflecting the true online audience.”

Perry added, “There is strong collaboration here with the industry – and we are matching our know how with major global infrastructure investments to support improvements to the information that advertisers, agencies and publishers use to inform their business decisions. What the industry has built here is globally best in class, and Nielsen is deploying it here in Australia first.”

During testing, while active reach percentage for most publishers remains relatively unchanged, publishers saw audience gains of five to 10 percent in most cases.

Gai Le Roy Director of Research at the IAB said, “The IAB is pleased to see a more accurate picture of the digital audience figures being launched in the market. The IAB’s Measurement Council is heavily involved in reviewing the methodology behind the IAB endorsed digital currency through regular meetings, setting KPIs for Nielsen and via an annual independent audit. The combination of improving the rules around panelists eligibility and an improved, more flexible processing system is a positive move for the market”

IAB Australia’s Measurement Council, which includes two industry bodies, 14 digital publishers, and two major media agency groups has been reviewing these enhancements over the last year and this month undertook its final testing and consultation of data that has been piloted in parallel for the past three months.

Enhancements to the measurement of online audiences within Nielsen’s Online Ratings panel are to be released on April 16, 2014 and will constitute a trend break for audience metrics.


Nielsen Holdings N.V. (NYSE: NLSN) is a global information and measurement company with leading market positions in marketing and consumer information, television and other media measurement, online intelligence and mobile measurement. Nielsen has a presence in approximately 100 countries, with headquarters in New York, USA and Diemen, the Netherlands. For more information, visit

Media Enquiries: Jackie Helliker, Nielsen
Tel: + 61 403 074 864
Twitter: @Jackie_Helliker