IAB appointed Nielsen in May to provide an online audience measurement service, Nielsen Online Ratings, and has released the first results from the service. IAB chief executive officer, Paul Fisher, said the new service would ease comparisons across different media and also increase revenue allocated to online media.
'Online will now have the ability to offer 'apples with apples' media planning capabilities and it will streamline audience measurement for marketers, media planners and buyers, publishers, networks," Fisher said.
The new Nielsen rating is a hybrid service. It relies on a panel of about 7,000 individuals recruited across Australia, called NetView, that measures a site's audience size and profile; also, it meters usage through a piece of software that resides on panellists' computers to measure all web properties visited.
Also, in contrast to previous measurement attempts, the new service will keep track of people's Internet usage when at home, at work and 'in between': it will also include data gathered from mobile devices, or computers logged into university networks, internet cafÃ©s or corporate networks.
According to IAB, the hybrid service will also exclude the risk of providing duplicated data, generated by unique browsers (UB) figures. Fisher said that as Australians used more than one devices and often more than one browser per device, figures based on UB only did not reflect reality.
'The current NetView panel methodology has limitations in regards to measuring data from outside the home and work and for devices other than PCs,' IAB stated. 'The move to hybrid will help fill in gaps in the existing panel.'
Fisher added that although IAB's panel was neither the largest in the world nor in Australia, its composition made it crucial to the establishment of ratings that reflected real online behaviours.
The first online hybrid ratings report, for September 2011, showed that in Australia the online population increased by about 11 percent to an estimated 16.6 million users, and that the average user was online for 46 hours and 5 minutes during the month.
Among the most visited websites by brand, Google occupied first place, followed by Facebook and NineMSN; interestingly NetView also reported that users aged 50 or above represented 30 percent of the Australian online active population - by active IAB means people who are online at least once a month.
Search engines and online communities are the most visited websites, followed by entertainment sites, Internet services, electronics and news. The hybrid measurement shows that in September Australians spent 24.8 billion minutes online and consumed 43.9 billion page views.
Fisher said that the new rating system brought in standardisation and simplification of online usage figures that proved online would be the number one source of revenue for advertisers.