The Audio Council of the Australian Interactive Advertising Bureau (IAB Australia) today released an update to its podcast audience measurement guidelines. The released document is mainly influenced by the guidelines issued by the U.S. IAB Podcast Technical Working Group. The Australian document was produced by the IAB Australia Audio Council, whose members include the major radio groups down under, plus podcast and technology companies.
In the suggested standard for counting podcast downloads, three main points hold for both documents:
- No pre-loads: this refers to online pages which initiate a podcast download when the user arrives, independent of the user’s actions.
- 24-hour filtering window: This is a signal requirement for compliance with the U.S. standard (informally called “IAB 2.0”). It means that multiple file requests from one IP address within a 24-hour window are counted as one request. This eliminates multiple counts when a single listener starts and stops a progressive download during interrupted listening. (More on this below.)
- Download threshold level: to count as a playable download of a podcast episode, one minute of the show must be acquired by the listener.
About the 24-hour window. The U.S. guidelines stipulate a calendar day window, e.g. midnight to midnight. In that technical setup, the window gets shorter as it proceeds — for example, a download started at 11pm, then resumed at a minute past midnight, could be counted as two downloads. IAB 2.0 does recognize the validity of “rolling windows,” which would initiate a 24-hour non-duplicate window per IP address which starts at the first request. That is a more pure and accurate implementation of the 24-hour concept, but is technically more difficult and therefore not mandated by the IAB 2.0 in the U.S.
One more point on the 24-hour business. The Australian group makes this note: “IAB Australia reinforces the warning within the guidelines that a 24 hour window for IP filtering may undercount legitimate downloads as listening coming from devices sharing IP not being counted.” The U.S. guidelines do not issue that warning. The U.S. document does say this: “No window is perfect, but shorter windows open up a risk of double counting requests and so should be done with care. Conversely, longer windows risk undercounting delivery via recycled mobile IPs and true multiple listens.” (Bold emphasis added by RAIN.)
Interestingly, IAB Australia advocates for a standard that would measure a listener’s time spent across a podcast series. It’s easy to see how that could be valuable to advertisers considering a series sponsorship.