Measuring Devices is No Substitute for Measuring People

Measuring Devices is No Substitute for Measuring People


The most elusive and valuable of all media measurement is an independent, reliable understanding of the people who consumed a piece of content – whether it be video, audio or text.

There are a host of amazing analytics technologies and platforms that help publishers, media planners and advertisers measure the number of devices that view their content. However, the ability to provide an accurate view of how many actual people those viewing and readership metrics represent – is rare.

This is an important distinction. According to PWC and IAB Australia, $4.6 billion of advertiser budgets were invested in the digital space in 2014 – an increase of 16%. Mobile ad expenditure alone represented $762 million of this, up by 118% on the previous year.

While this kind of shift makes it perfectly natural to reconsider your own ad investment decisions– the story of consumer behaviour is vastly different to what traffic metrics reveal.

The shift in spend is certainly in line with device measurement and analytics. The total number of unique browsers accessing digital content from within Australia grew by 29% in the year to April 2015. This figure climbs to 39% when looking at the average daily unique browsers metric. This is not from a replacement or substitution of desktops and laptops; it’s driven by the addition of smartphones to the consumers’ media consumption repertoire. Session counts from desktops and laptops climbed only marginally during this period (up by 5%) while sessions from smartphones increased by 84% and tablets by 50%. Total audiences to digital content however remained relatively stable, with only a 4.7% shift in the total number of Australians online over the 12 months to April 2015.

It’s for reasons such as these that increased focus on measurement of audiences from smartphones and tablets is a critical enhancement to Nielsen capability in 2015. It’s critical to informing the ad investment decisions of an entire industry. We’re thrilled to have the green-light from IAB Australia and its members to fund and deploy this much needed evolution.

Analytics tools will always serve an important purpose in helping content owners, media agencies and advertisers understand how digital content is consumed by screens and devices in Australia. Understanding how best to invest the advertising dollar however, comes with a need to understand how the people behind those screens and devices behave, and what content they consume.