Maria Breza, Vice President of Ad Quality Measurement and Audience Data Operations at SiriusXM Media and AdsWizz, delivered a presentation about redefining measurement in programmatic audio. Her talk illuminated the industry’s challenges and opportunities, focusing on brand safety, suitability, and the ever-changing world of audio content.
For access to Maria’s presentation, click here.
Digital Audio’s Extensive Reach and Unique Appeal
Maria started her presentation by highlighting the extensive reach of audio, with 214 million monthly digital audio listeners in the US, constituting 75% of the total US population aged 12 and above.¹ Audio’s versatility, a medium consumed almost anywhere and anytime, makes it a perfect companion for various activities, including driving, cooking, and exercising. This adaptability allows advertisers to engage consumers in ways that video cannot match.
Challenges and Opportunities in Audio Advertising Spending
Despite the significant consumer attention audio garners, ad spend in this domain lags. Consumers spend 31% of their media time with audio, but audio advertising accounts for only 9% of media budgets. Additionally, programmatic audio transactions accounted for approximately 20% of total ad spend in 2022.² Maria underscored the need for new measurement capabilities and industry solutions to enhance transparency in digital audio advertising and boost spending.
Audibility in Digital Audio Advertising
Maria brought up the concept of audibility, which can be known as the opportunity to hear an ad. The Media Rating Council (MRC) specifies that an audible ad must play for two continuous seconds with the sound on and be free from invalid traffic. To determine the validity of this definition, Pandora had previously conducted a study in partnership with a neurology professor from UCSF, concluding that two seconds is sufficient for the human brain to recognize an ad. This research laid the foundation for independent, third-party verification solutions that enhance transparency in audio advertising, such as those enabled by the IAB’s Open Measurement SDK.
Combatting Invalid Traffic in Digital Audio Advertising
As digital audio consumption grows, it attracts advertisers, bots, and bad actors. Maria emphasized the importance of monitoring campaigns for invalid traffic and partnering with high-quality inventory providers. SiriusXM Media and AdsWizz have implemented solutions, such as pre-bid traffic validation, to enhance the effectiveness of audio advertising campaigns by minimizing bot interference.
Unique Challenges and Innovations in Podcast Advertising
Maria discussed the distinctive challenges of podcast advertising, given its distributed consumption on multiple players and the dominance of a single seller and ad-serving stack. The industry has made significant progress in transacting podcast inventory programmatically, especially with the growing interest from brand advertisers. Innovations in measurement are essential to verify the brand suitability of individual podcast impressions, as the breadth and conversational nature of podcast content require nuanced brand safety and suitability targeting.
History of AdsWizz AI Transcription Targeting
AdsWizz recognizes the need for transcription targeting tools in the podcasting industry that convert podcast content into text and help enable audience targeting and ad placement.
- Transcription Using A.I. Technology – AdsWizz employed artificial intelligence (A.I.) technology to perform transcription. High-quality transcription technology was essential because inaccurate transcriptions could lead to misinterpretations of content, potentially harming brand reputation.
- Content Analysis for Advertisers – AdsWizz went beyond just transcribing words once the transcription was generated. They aimed to provide advertisers with a deeper understanding of the content, which involved analyzing the context around specific keywords or phrases, ensuring that advertisers could make informed decisions about brand safety.
- Partnership with Third-Party Content Analysis Providers – AdsWizz partnered with third-party companies specializing in content analysis. These partners helped AdsWizz assess explicit content and the broader context of podcast episodes, ensuring advertisers had a comprehensive view of whether the content suited their brand.
- Integration into the Bitstream – When the transcriptions and content analysis results were available, this data could be accessed by advertisers, either programmatically or through direct interactions. This allowed for more effective and targeted ad placements.
- Continued Emphasis on Verification – AdsWizz acknowledges that transcription targeting encompasses more than just the initial ad placement; it also involves ongoing verification, which entails monitoring content continuously to ensure it remains in line with advertisers’ brand guidelines. This verification process is crucial for upholding brand safety and ensuring a positive advertising experience.
Launching a Brand Safety and Suitability Verification Solution for Podcast Advertising
In partnership with Barometer and ArtsAI, SiriusXM Media recently introduced a brand safety and suitability verification solution for podcast advertising. This marks the first time podcast advertisers can access third-party measurement and verification to enhance transparency. Advertisers can use ArtsAI pixels to measure targeting suitability and safety, receive mid-campaign reporting, and gain insights for post-campaign analysis. Maria emphasized that this solution begins a conversation, aiming to guide brands in navigating brand suitability in podcasting’s unique medium.
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- For access to Maria’s presentation, click here.
¹ Edison Research, The Infinite Dial 2023.
² WARC The Investment Gap: Understanding the Value of Audio, 2021.