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IAB Tech Lab Releases Proposed Updates To Podcast Measurement Standards.

It has been nearly three years since the IAB Tech Lab last updated the podcast technical measurement guidelines. But as the podcasting landscape continues to evolve, the IAB says the need for enhanced metrics and improved filtering logic in server-side measurement has become crucial. And so, the IAB Tech Lab's Podcast Technical Working Group has released a draft of its v2.2 guidelines for public comment during the next 30 days.

The IAB says the update’s primary objective is to address the challenges faced in measuring downloads of the podcast audio file, where client-side confirmation of ad play is typically unavailable from the player apps that consumers use for listening to their favorite shows. It is a setup that is unique in digital advertising as measurement is based on server log data showing episode downloads, in contrast to other digital mediums that typically maintain an open connection between a consumer’s device and the content server.

“This nuance produces different metrics in podcast advertising,” the draft says. “The challenge for podcast producers and distributors is to offer buyers a set of metrics that is consistently defined and measured equally across the podcast medium.”

In the draft v2.2 update, the IAB Tech Lab includes new language, such as explicitly saying that an ad can only be counted as valid if it’s part of a valid download, as well as a clarification of the difference between measurement using a redirect for downloads and measurement based on complete server logs where downloads occur. It also describes how a “fixed” measurement window and a “rolling” measurement window impact results, and the need for a company to declare which method it is using.

The changes were drafted by the Podcast Technical Working Group, which includes leading industry players and key stakeholders. The IAB Tech Lab says its recommendations also help to define a “fair market for podcast inventory” by reducing “inflated counts” that result from duplicate downloads, invalid traffic such as known bots, and temporary anomalies in the data produced by changing technology or other significant events.

 "With the release of Podcast Technical Measurement Guidelines v2.2, IAB Tech Lab reaffirms its commitment to adapting to the dynamic technology and practices in the podcasting industry," said Anthony Katsur, CEO, of IAB Tech Lab. "We urge the entire podcast ecosystem to review the guidelines and actively participate in the feedback process. Your input is instrumental in shaping the future of podcast measurement and the growth of this valuable inventory for an audience that tends to be more deeply focused on the content."

The IAB Tech Lab is taking comments on its draft through March 23. Access the document and submit feedback HERE.

 “Audio makes up 31% of media consumption, but just 9% of ad spend. To help the medium reach its full potential in advertising and welcome more marketers into the space, we’re proud to work with the IAB Tech Lab to make podcast measurement easier, more transparent, and more standard,” said Brendan Kelly, Director, Ad Quality at SiriusXM Media. “We will wholeheartedly adopt these enhanced metrics and measurement practices to further advance this work.”

The IAB Tech Lab will also be revising the Podcast Measurement Compliance guidance by embracing these enhanced metrics and measurement practices. It says the compliance program allows podcast companies to compete fairly, ensuring that their inventory metrics align with industry standards certified by a third party. This certification fosters trust among buyers of podcast inventory, paving the way for more reliable and transparent advertising transactions.

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