IAB Member Q&A: Streaming Audio & Podcast Measurement

On October 21, 2020 Research & Resources

In this article IAB Audio Council members provide updates on measurement metrics and methods for assessing the effectiveness of streaming audio and podcast advertising as well as some advice on increasing impact through audio creative. 

Thanks to Triton Digital, The Trade Desk, SCA, Nova Entertainment and Eardrum for their contributions.


Sam Ward, Senior Business Development Manager, The Trade Desk

As investment in streaming audio & podcasting increases has the expectation of clients in relation to reporting metrics increased? How is the industry meeting these new expectations? 

Brands and marketers are making a broader shift to embrace a single view of the user, as opposed to one siloed by media channel. In response, agencies are increasingly asking about what role audio plays in a holistic buying strategy. They’re starting to shift spend away from traditional radio and including online audio in their broader digital buy. This enables them to optimise towards specific outcomes. In particular, they’re looking to move beyond media metrics and “traditional” digital success metrics towards business outcomes. On the creative side, dynamic ad insertion is a hot topic as clients opt to take advantage of technologies that allow them to use different creatives depending on variables such as weather, location, time of day, and audience.

At the same time, there’s a whole area of possibility opening around custom solutions – improving and customising reporting capabilities and automation, and tailoring it to specific brands. The goal is to tweak technology to meet brand needs rather than asking them to change their business to fit existing technology.

From an effectiveness POV, clients are using log level data to build models that provide a more holistic, omnichannel view of attribution and how each channel for a brand contributes to that final conversion – as opposed to the last touch. Being able to maintain an omni-channel view of consumers and households will continue to be critical for targeting and measurement.

What improvements are we seeing locally in assessing ad effectiveness for streaming audio activity? 

Advertisers want to reach the customers where they are and increasingly that means across multiple platforms and devices, which requires the measurement and attribution of digital. As a result, we’re seeing advertisers look holistically at more innovative and flexible campaigns that give them the ability to measure incrementality and better understand which tactics are having an impact. Many of the improvements we’re beginning to realise in online audio are shared with programmatic generally: programmatic breaks down media silos and allows different channels to take advantage of the same targeting, measurement and attribution capabilities

A lot of interesting work in this area is happening around online to offline. Here in AU, there are companies who can help understand and measure if people who’ve heard an ad have gone on to buy the product in a supermarket, for example. There are other possibilities when you layer audience data with measurement data (such as footfall). For example, you can use proximity data in drive-to-store campaigns and layer on footfall measurement to understand whether someone who heard an ad visited a physical store.


Richard Palmer, Director Market Development (APAC), Triton Digital

As investment in streaming audio & podcasting increases has the expectation of clients in relation to reporting metrics increased? How is the industry meeting these new expectations?

Yes.  As listeners consume an increasing amount of digital audio, the medium is commanding more attention from media buyers and brands.  One area where expectations have increased is the need for trusted and transparent measurement.  The industry has rallied behind the IAB Tech Lab’s Podcast Measurement Guidelines, helping to bring order and standards to this emerging medium. 

It is important for a media buyer to know that the measurement data from one network or podcast can be directly compared to another network or podcast, as the IAB Podcast Measurement Guidelines provide consistent standards across networks to ensure that only valid podcast downloads are counted.  Additionally, the IAB also deploys an audit and certification process to bring accountability to both podcast networks and their data providers.

Further, the podcast industry is now publishing monthly data in the Australian Podcast Ranker, in which participation continues to expand.  The Podcast Ranker increases transparency, comparability, and demonstrates the ongoing growth in consumption. 

These types of advancements are only possible due to collaboration and alignment across the podcast industry, which has made it easier for agencies and brands to buy podcast advertising with confidence, using trusted measurement data.

Are there any interesting innovations in measuring and assessing streaming audio or podcast activity in other markets that could be suitable for the Australian market?

As digital audio expands, we have seen the benefit of incorporating measurement data into existing agency software platforms.  Triton Digital’s streaming audio and podcast measurement services use the same methodology around the world.  However, the data has been used in additional ways in the United States, which could be suitable for the Australian market. 

In the case of streaming audio measurement, the data can be segmented by local market and made directly comparable to local radio audience measurement by applying similar crediting rules to radio ratings.  In addition, the data is fed into agency media planning and buying software platforms, which makes it easier to plan and buy streaming audio advertising alongside terrestrial radio advertising.  It also increases awareness and visibility to the streaming audio audiences that exists, and increases buying consideration.

Triton is taking a similar approach to podcast measurement data.  Through its Podcast Metrics user interface, publishers can now grant agencies and brands with access to aggregated consumption data which can be viewed in the same platform.  This improved, streamlined access will make it easier and less manual for media buyers to evaluate and buy podcast advertising.  Similarly, podcast data can also be fed into agency software platforms, enabling media buyers to use the same process and systems that are in place for other media, including traditional radio, display, and video.


Jonathan Mandel, Head of Streaming Sales & Operations, SCA

What improvements are we seeing locally in assessing ad effectiveness for streaming audio activity?

Over the last two years the most common feedback from brands and agencies in relation to digital audio has been demand for better education and understanding of the effectiveness of audio and the role it plays in a campaign.  We are now at a time where the audience has developed scale and publishers have developed better toolkits for both product and attribution. 

There have been a number major improvements across the industry to provide better insights and tangible learnings for agencies and brands in line with the broader digital media industry.  At SCA, we recently announced a range of attribution products specifically designed for audio, to provide those digital metrics that we all yearn to see in our dashboards…  Afterall, if it’s not in a dashboard, does it even exist?

 Footfall Attribution is now widely available for digital audio campaigns providing advertisers with rich insights from listeners who have heard the campaign and then gone to a specific location, retailer or precinct as a result within the measured timeframe. At SCA we offer this type of measurement through SCA Footsteps.  Linear broadcast radio has long been a tried and trusted medium to drive direct response through the high frequency and mobile nature of the channel.  The combination of addressable audio inventory and mobile technology now enables that direct, confident attribution between the ad and the customer.

 Campaign & Brand Effectiveness Studies are evolving in design and capability specifically for digital audio campaigns.  SCA has developed SCA Soundcheck to help audio advertisers with their campaign and brand impact assessment.  Addressable audio enables the tracking & retargeting of listeners to serve them with a campaign/brand questionnaire.  The responses are then compared to a control group of internet users who have not heard the audio ad, through exclusion-targeting.  This control vs exposed research methodology provides comprehensive results to inform advertisers of overall campaign effectiveness including increased consideration, creative recall, site visitation & purchase-intent.

These are just two evolving opportunities in addition to already founded measures including creative testing & optimisation which we offer through BrandSound and SCA Impact which measures website visitation and actions for both linear broadcast and connected audio.

There are now more publisher tools (and dashboards!) available than ever before to consistently learn from campaigns and improve the next. We’ve certainly come a long way and brands & agencies can absolutely feel confident that with collaborative planning, digital audio can achieve & exceed their desired objectives.


 Kane Reiken, Digital Commercial Director, Nova Entertainment

As investment in streaming audio & podcasting increases has the expectation of clients in relation to reporting metrics increased? How is the industry meeting these new expectations?

 As digital audio advertising adoption continues during this ‘golden period’, it’s important we continue to work together as an industry to build confidence and consistency in how digital audio products are defined, reported, and sold in the market to meet the increasing customer demands.

With many businesses navigating through challenging times, every media dollar is heavily scrutinised to ensure accountability against campaign KPIs. The ability to effectively measure and showcase the success of campaigns through strong performance metrics, is critical in helping clients to further unlock the value of digital audio through continued investment.

With obvious technical challenges present when building products across a number of platforms and technology standards, further industry-wide alignment can help to support continued advertiser growth through; clearer definitions on metrics and standards toward addressability and targeted advertising, measurement of consumption behaviour, and digital audio advertising properties.

The introduction of innovative attribution, insights, and reporting tools have also helped to provide further validation and measurement for clients in understanding the role and power of digital audio as part of their media mix.


Ralph van Dijk, Founding Creative Director, Eardrum

How can clients and agencies maximise the impactof a combined linear and streaming audio campaign?

As the range of quality audio content increases, audiences will grow but also fragment. This creates opportunity for targeting but makes it harder to achieve the desired reach. Clients and agencies have overcome this media challenge by combining their linear and streaming audio schedules. But in order to maximise impact, the creative needs to be optimised for each platform.

This requires a combination of consistent branding and tailored execution.


With no visual cues, the audience needs to know WHO is talking to them. Just as a brand’s corporate colour pallet, font and logo provides the consistency across all its visual advertising, an audio logo or brand anthem will also improve impact and attribution. It serves as audio shorthand to the brand and ensures the same personality is projected, regardless of whether it’s a host read, pre-recorded ad or sponsored feature.

Campaign Assets:

Using the same key audio assets across both video to audio creative will have a multiplying effect. The voice, music and even sound design of the visual creative will conjure images in the listener’s mind. This visual transference is an effective way to extend the life of a campaign and reach new audiences.

Listening Modes

Linear: Ad creative on linear platforms such as radio, require a greater degree of cut-through. To stand out within an ad-break, an ad needs to work hard to draw the listener into the brand’s ‘world’. This is achieved by intriguing the listener and piquing their curiosity with relevant cleverness.

Podcasts: With a higher degree of listeners engagement, it is more important the creative is sympathetic to the tone of the podcast. A more conversational tone is usually required but the writing still needs to be engaging.

Streaming: Listeners feel a certain amount of ownership to the playlists they have curated. Brands therefore need to acknowledge this interruption by adopting an understated, unobtrusive tone of voice.