ADM Proposes Downloadable Media Audience Measurement Guidelines

Apr 21st, 2008 | By | Category: Audio Podcasting, General, Making Money with Podcasts, New Media Organizations, Video Podcasts

The Association for Downloadable Media, a recently-formed industry association “focused on creating standards and guidelines to support the continued and increasing monetization of downloadable media,” last week unveiled proposed guidelines for audience measurement at the ad:tech conference in San Francisco. The draft proposal is open for public discussion and comment for the coming thirty days (through May 16).

Explaining the audience measurement guidelines and discussing the rationale behind their creation were three panelists who were among the several dozen committee members involved in the drafting process: Stephen Smyk, Performance Bridge; Angelo Mandato, CIO, Raw Voice (and Chairman of the ADM Measurement Committee); and Daniel Rioux, SVP, Media Director, Campbell-Ewald.

Here is a brief synopsis of their presentation:

Need for download measurement:
Throughout the downloadable media/podcast industry there is a need for download measurement. This need impacts us all, from veteran podcasters, to “amateur content producers,” to what we consider more traditional media.

Need for measurement standards:
Coming up with some standards for how we count/measure downloads would provide confidence for ad buyers (“so we’re all measuring apples-to-apples”). Committee members agreed to utilize existing measurement methods where possible, while also proposing and adapting standards for future measurement methods. For all of these, analysis of data is required.

Sources of measurement data:
“native server” (where the downloadable media is hosted) measurement, and
“third party” measurement (measurement by an intermediary server between the content creator and another third-party server). This third-party can uniformly measure across multiple native servers (from own server, from Libsyn, etc.).

Much of the data used for gauging audience size can be gleaned from server log files. Some things that can be measured include

From Third party and native servers
IP address
Time stamp
HTTP: status code
user agent (tells where download occurred: browser, podcatcher, web bot)
byte range

From Native servers only
Bytes served

Some Analysis Factors to Consider:
IP address (proper filtering based on IP address – so 1 person doesn’t download multiple times)
Time Stamp – when time frame of download occurred
HTTP: status code
Bytes Served
Byte Range

Analysis Methodologies
Methodologies Available to Buyers
ADM Compliant Publishers
Minimum Recommendations
IP Address Analysis
Methods that best fit the publishers’ situation

ADM Measurement Committee chair Mandato explained that the ADM Ad Council, comprised of seasoned veterans in the digital/online advertising industry, also reviewed the measurement guidelines document, “to make sure that we have a complete document. In weeks to come,” he said, “we are going to create a standards/terminology document, to further explain the terms.”

The draft audience measurement guidelines are open for public review and comment for the coming month.

More of the panel presentation, on case studies and the ad agency’s perspective on audience measurement, after the break —

Audience Measurement, from an agency point of view
Stephen Smyk, Performance Bridge and an appointed ADM Ad council member.

“Downloadable media is under-utilized by agencies at this point,” recounts Smyk. Ask ten different content creators about their audience size and reach, and you’ll get nearly as many kinds of (valid, but different) metrics. Terms and metrics are inconsistent at this point in time.

“We hear back from podcasters about their metrics in these terms:

downloads, listeners, requetsed downloads, completed downloads, hits, ranking (iTunes), site traffic, US listeners, impressions, unique downloads, US-unique downloads, ‘Internal Estimate’, “Log File Numbers”, Third Party Measurement, Demographic Data (age, gender, geography, etc).”

“We need to put these into an apples-to-apples unit of measurement in order to understand – and we need to know the % of people who are listening to that download. We are excited to be looking at some measurement standards that will help us greatly to meet our clients’ needs.”

According to Smyk, there are still plenty of challenges to widespread planning and buying podcast advertising, including various ad units, different terms and different meanings, different executions to carry out advertising campaign. Podcasters’ schedules always”subject to change” – many indie podcasters do not adhere to strict schedules, which does not fit well with the needs of traditional advertising.

Finally, Dan Rioux, Campbell-Ewald, gave an overview of one podcast advertising case study (interestingly, one I had also used in my presentation on advertising and podcasts at ad:tech)

US Navy/Wizzard Media podcast advertising campaign
Media Objectives -need to recruit 25,000 18 – 34yo
Need to generate awareness while cultivating a favorable image of the Navy
Facilitate decision making process

Rioux talked about what he called”The Current” (not the cool NPR network in Minnesota, but rather) “the rapid adoption of technology which aids in time shifting of media consumption and P2P sharing of content.”

Rioux explained that traditional media is not very interactive, it is very one-way (consider the broadcast media, vs. more conversational, interactive new media). New media and consumer-produced media are “the current”, more like a “media soup” swirling and constantly changing and expanding. As advertisers, “we need to get in the current and swim, or jump into the soup and stir things up,” said Rioux, mixing his metaphors.

Back to the specific case of the U.S. Navy’s advertising campaign with Wizzard Media, Rioux illustrated his agency’s “contact map” of prospective Navy recruits as a big bubble chart graph of interconnected media and interests.

Media Mix rationale – podcasting fits into growth and speculative media stocks – a self-selective audience listening/watching podcasts.

Navy podcast strategy
Radio has become more a “background” medium for 18-24yo target audience
Technology has altered their listening habits- satellite, streaming, podcasts
Following the listening habits of young people, we did an ad-sponsored audio podcast program in 2007

“Grabbing hold of the long tail”
Uses Wizzard Media to identify small and large ad-sponsored podcasts targeted to lifestyle and activity interests- Fitness (podrunner, ironman), Gaming, etc.

How’s it working out?
Doing ongoing testing and monitoring trends, using internal and external analytic tools

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