The ABA (Audit Bureau of Australia) has launched its Web Audit Service, which will verify the correct placement and number of tags per page by online publishers and ensure that the web measurement system is capturing web traffic data accurately and reporting in accordance to industry agreed standards.

The service is the outcome of industry-wide consultation and collaboration between the ABA, their media provider members, the Media Federation of Australia, Australian Association of National Advertisers and IAB Australia.

It is aimed be a step toward reaching media industry standards for the reporting of web traffic statistics, therefore increasing advertiser and media buyer confidence.

Gordon Towell, CEO ABA believes that its involvement in the delivery of audited website traffic metrics is an important milestone providing an industry benchmark that will give advertisers and media buyers directly comparable data when making their marketing decisions.

“Interestingly, these are the same driving forces within the print media that created the original Audit Bureau of Circulations (ABC) back in 1932!” says Towell.

This is the first time the ABC and Circulations Audit Board (CAB) have joined forces to deliver a service across their memberships. By partnering with Nielsen Online, ABA members will have access to a cost-effective and auditable web measurement solution which has currency among media buyers and will increase visibility of the ‘long tail’ to media buyers.

Megan Clarken, managing director of Nielsen Online, says that they, along with the ABC and CAB, share a common goal of driving transparency and accountability with the online industry, and we are delighted to be working together to support this important initiative.

“We are confident the new audited metrics will be welcomed by ABA members and give them greater confidence in circulation data,” explains Clarken.

The audit service will be a key component of the ABA’s joint offering with Nielsen Online, which will be available to ABA members who are not currently using SiteCensus or Market Intelligence services. Existing Nielsen Online customers will also have access to ABA Web Audits.

Audited Nielsen Online data will be identified by either an ABC or CAB logo on the Market Intelligence service. This arrangement will also apply as Nielsen Online roll-out their new hybrid system.

Audited print circulation data will be published alongside audited online data through the ABA’s eData portal, providing ABA publisher members with an opportunity to showcase the key elements of the audiences they service.

ABA members participating in the service will have access to website traffic information – including daily unique browsers, monthly page impressions, total sessions, page duration and session duration. The first reporting of audited data will begin in June 2009.

IAB Australia has also invited the ABA to join its own Web Measurement Council, bringing over 10-years experience and involvement in the setting of international web standards.