Unique Audience – how does it compare to Unique Users?

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Unique Audience Measurement - Nielsen Online Ratings
I really have not heard as much debate about Unique Audience as I thought I would and I suspect that many smaller publishers might not be aware of the new plans for online audience measurement at all.
The IAB Australia have recently started to work with Nielsen on ‘Nielsen Online Ratings’ and the idea of this new system is to measure people rather than browsers – the argument for this being that I currently count as 4 Unique Browsers as I use two computers, an iPad and an iPhone. My wife counts as 3 as she has two computers and an iPhone so together we count as 7 unique browsers. This explains why there are now many more ‘Unique Browers’ in Australia than there are people – clearly not a great measurement of websites audiences then.
The other argument for Nielsen Online Ratings is to make measurement consistent between different media such as digital, outdoor and print – thereby boosting digital spend by allowing those who have not yet fully committed to the medium to measure their ROI across all of their campaigns. This should be good for digital too.
The IAB have set up a panel of users who they are intending to monitor to produce this audience data – at a recent talk the exact details were still a little sketchy as to how they were monitoring their panels iPhone usage, for example. One thing that stuck in my mind was that some of the attendees considered that any given website’s ‘unique audience’ was closer to its daily unique browsers than its monthly uniques. If that is true, perhaps it is, then many publishers will be faced with a moment in the near future when they have to update their media kits and explain to existing advertisers that their unique audience is, say, 20,000 instead of the 600,000 unique browsers that they have always claimed. An interesting conversation.
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