 ABA Web Audit Service builds momentum

ABA Audit verification tick now visible in Nielsen Online’s Market Intelligence

Niche publishers have raced to take advantage of the Audit Bureaux of Australia’s Web Audit Service, with the number of Australian online sites submitting for audit more than doubled in the last month with over three million unique browsers per month now audited.  In an industry first, sites that have met the stringent measurement rules prescribed by the ABA now appear in the Nielsen Market Intelligence screens with a green verification tick to indicate they are ABA compliant and their traffic is being accurately recorded.  

The ABA’s measurement rules cover which web properties can be included under a brand, site categorisation and tracking implementation, particularly in new rich media areas that attract the most risk.

During the recent Audit Bureau of Circulations AGM, Gordon Towell, ABC CEO said

“There’s no doubt that the ABA Web Audit Service is filling a void for online publishers who are seeking to increase credibility and have a say in shaping the local measurement scene.  For niche publishers it’s an opportunity to increase their visibility to media buyers and planners overall, while for larger publishers it’s a chance to display their commitment to accountability by having their current web traffic measurement processes validated by our audit.” 

Publishers who have recently signed up with ABA’s Web Audit Service include CBS Interactive, Sound Alliance, Top Gear Magazine and Haymarket Media, as well as specialty sites such as Westwick-Farrow Media, LexusNexus, Sydney Star Observer and The Monthly.  Together with the other participating online publishers including Fairfax Business Media, IDG Communications and Universal Magazines bringing the number of audited sites to 64.

The IT category is leading the way with almost half the sites now audited by ABA. Davy Adams, Managing Director of IDG Communications applauded the introduction of the ABA Web Audit noting “that for the first time ABA’s independent scrutiny will hold publishers to the same standard. We are proud to take a leadership role in the delivery of transparent, comparable figures about the web and encourage all online publishers to commit to the same level of accountability.” 

Carol Morris, Executive Director of the MFA said “ABA audited web data means media buyers can now focus on the planning process, rather than analysing data anomalies, knowing that the ABA Audit process has independently scrutinised and annotated any traffic discrepancies. The MFA encourages its media buyer members to give preference to audited media.”

Megan Clarken, Managing Director, Asia Pacific of Nielsen’s online division, stated:  “Nielsen certainly recognises the role of independent auditing and we are delighted the ABA has taken the lead in driving that process.  The number and quality of companies joining the ABA’s Web Audit Service is testament to the value of the service within the industry and the ABA Audit Symbol of Trust will no doubt continue to gain recognition amongst Nielsen’s Market Intelligence clients as a trusted source.”

Mr Towell, CEO also noted that the ABA will shortly be convening its first Digital Watchdog Committee meeting.

“As the Web Audit Service continues to expand its reach, it’s vital that we provide transparency to the ABA Audit process and provide an open forum regarding measurement rules compliance.  We’re delighted that representatives from both publishers and agencies, including the MFA, have agreed to participate and contribute to ongoing discussions about online auditing.  

“The inaugural meeting this month of the Digital Watchdog Committee will bring together senior representatives from agencies and publishers who will discuss topical measurement rules such as  auto-page inflation  and inclusion of interstitial ad pages.  The ABA welcomes greater input from members who are committed to the audit process,” said Mr Towell.


About the ABA, ABC and CAB – Founding Member of the IFABC

The Audit Bureau of Circulations (ABC), founded in 1932 and Circulations Audit Board (CAB) founded in 1957 are non-profit industry organisations governed by tripartite groups of Publishers, Advertisers and Advertising Agency members created to ensure independent verification of media. ABC’s primary audit services verifies paid circulation while CAB provides audit services for the print media, exhibitions and many other forms of media advertising.  The Audit Bureaux of Australia (ABA) provides Web Audit Services for niche online publishers. For more information, please

visit www.auditbureau.org.au.