IAB to bring in podcast advertising standards following US guidelines

The peak body for the digital publishing industry in Australia is set to create a set of guidelines for measurement of podcasts as advertisers increasingly look to exploit the burgeoning medium, Mumbrella can reveal.


It follows on from a move last week by the US arm of the Interactive Advertising Bureau to bring in a set of standards defining things like downloads and delivered ads, in a bid to bring rigour to the measurement of the medium.

Asked if it was looking at similar guidelines a spokesperson for the IAB Australia said the Audio Council had been briefed to come up with a set of guidelines, with an update on progress expected in October.

While podcasts have been around for more than a decade the last two years has seen a resurgence for them led by hit shows like Serial and This American Life, with content creators increasingly keen to monetise the increased listenership.

TAL creator and Serial content editor Ira Glass told the SXSW conference this year that podcasts were currently in “a bubble, and we’re going to ride out this bubble,” saying CPMs were “$50 or $60” for their shows, far outstripping the traditional radio model.

Glass: Podcasting is in a bubble which we will have to ride out.

Glass: Podcasting is in a bubble which we will have to ride out.

He added: “Really serious journalism people are having such trouble surviving and we happen to be holding the winning ticket, and because of podcasting we have all this money, suddenly.”

However one thing that has made advertisers reluctant to funnel cash towards podcasts has been a lack of clear definition of how ad delivery should be measured, given not every downloaded podcast will be listened to, and the technology limits the advertiser’s ability to measure whether the ad has been served.

The US document recognises these legacy issues which limit the ability for clients to measure the ads, but states: “Much like the Average Quarter Hour (AQH) measurement standard created over 50 years ago to measure radio programs of the day, podcasting too must define standardized metrics to bring advertising diversity to the medium.”

Publishers including Slate and NPR collaborated with the IAB to create the guidelines.

The US guidelines define a download as a “unique file request” with the number of downloads able to be counted by counting “the number of file requests for a single file originating from a single user or client within a specific time frame.”

A “complete file download” is a file request that was fully downloaded, while “partial file download” refers to one that was not completed.

In terms of ad types it defines two broad types: those read by presenters as part of the content which are “baked in” o the downloaded file; dynamically inserted ads which are downloaded with the file at designated ad breaks.

However it says both can be measured in the same way by verifying the server logs from the host to make sure that part of the file was downloaded by the listener.

In the 3% of podcast services which currently enable client-side tracking the IAB recommended “client confirmed ad play”, where a tracking beacon is triggered when the ad was played, and tracks how much of it was played.

Last week the US IAB held its second podcast Upfront event, giving content creators a chance to pitch and showcase their wares to media agencies.

Podcasts as an opportunity for publishers will be discussed at the Publish conference this Thursday with a panel including Slate president Keith Hernandez. Click the link to check out the program and get tickets.



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