Measuring audibility

Ad buyers identify audibility as the paramount metric in digital audio advertising.

In a world where consumers are overwhelmed with information, it’s not enough for your message to merely exist. It must be heard, understood, and remembered.

A 2023 study by GroupM Nexus & IAB Europe:

  • Underscores the vital role of audio in amplifying broader media strategies (65%), heightening brand awareness (55%), and targeting specific audiences (48%).
  • Standardisation is crucial for buyers (35%) and publishers (28%) to foster future audio growth.
  • Audibility (33%) is identified as a pivotal metric, trailing closely behind campaign recall, brand awareness & affinity, and purchase intent. It’s seen as a foundational measure, crucial for accurate assessments.
  • With emerging audio advertising channels like CTV and in-game audio ads, the importance of audibility is poised to increase among buyers.

Digital Audio Measurement Standards and Open Measurement by IAB

The most extensive standardisation approach was led by the US Media Rating Council (MRC) with support from the Interactive Advertising Bureau (IAB), Radio Advertising Bureau (RAB) and NAB Committee on Local Radio Measurement (COLRAM). Their work resulted in the publishing of the Digital Audio Measurement Standards (DAMS) in 2018.

The New Audibility Definition

In summary, an ad to qualify as an „Audio Ad Impression” must be played on a digital audio player in an unmuted state with a nonzero volume, and it should not be flagged as invalid traffic (IVT).

This may spark debate among audio ad buyers, as the „just above 0” level could be as low as 0.01% of the device’s maximum volume.

What could be considered contentious in the MRC’s definition of ad audibility is using a fixed level that applies to all devices uniformly.