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BizReport : Advertising archives : February 01, 2018

Audibility measurement continues to thwart MRC

The audio element of digital advertising has become an increasingly attractive one for measurement purposes. However, it is not as easy to measure audibility as it is viewability. This poses a problem for advertisers on non-visual digital channels, such as radio or podcasts, but the Media Rating Council (MRC) continues to search for a definition.

by Helen Leggatt

To accurately determine whether a person has listened to an ad, and for how long, requires very different measurements as well as checks - such as whether a device's volume was turned on, or if earbuds are plugged in.

The MRC's current standard for viewability for static and video ads is that at least half of an ad must be in view in a browser or app for at least one second for static and two seconds for video ads yet does not consider audibility.

So, what about ads that have no visual element, such as those on music streaming platforms, digital radio, or in podcasts? In their 'Digital Audio Measurement Standards - Final Version 1.0' (January, 2018),' the MRC explains that "audibility is considered to be an imperfect analogy to the 'opportunity to see' proxy that viewability is in other digital measurements."

Indeed, cognizant of the increasing demand for audibility metrics, the MRC has proposed a future project to research and define it but, in the meantime, the industry self-regulatory watchdog has settled on a temporary measurement. Therefore, an "Audible Ad Impression" (audibility) requires that an ad must be played for a minimum duration of two continuous seconds while also satisfying the definition of an "Audio Ad Impression" in that the ad must be played with the player in a non-muted state and at a non-zero volume.

"These new standards will advance the state of digital audio measurement, and make it more comparable with measurement of other media types," said George W. Ivie, Executive Director and CEO of the MRC.

"As measurers step forward to be audited and ultimately accredited against these standards, buyers of digital audio advertising will be able to gain assurance that the measurements on which they evaluate their digital ad investments - whether those ads appear in streaming audio, audio podcasts, or other relevant digital audio environment
- serve as a true reflection of the exposure of these ads to audiences," added Ivie.

Tags: advertising, audibility, audio, metrics, viewability

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