What are the KPIs for digital audio in 2021?

What are the KPIs for digital audio in 2020?

Digital audio advertising is one of the major trends for 2021. Lockdowns were clearly conducive to an increase in listening to digital audio. There is plentiful data to attest to this and brands are picking up on it. It’s time to look at the key performance indicators available.

The digital transformation continues to shake up the traditional linear radio codes. In 2021, the one billion USD threshold will be crossed in advertising investments in podcasts. And the reason for this: never has it been easier to reach a target audience and in a contextual way.

Nielsen estimates that 79% of audio is consumed while doing other activities, during which visual media are unable to target audiences. It has therefore become essential to integrate an audio component into marketing content strategy, but the measurement tools are completely different.

KPI audio: what are the measurement tools?

Digital audio is currently accessed via an app, installed on an IP terminal, of which there are a great many available: computer, smartphone, tablet, speaker, watch, smart TV, digital decoder, hybrid radio receiver and in-car infotainment system. In all cases, the behaviour of listeners can be tracked using different tracking technologies. To measure the results of digital audio advertising campaigns, we can refer to the latest edition of Buyer’s Guide to Digital Audio published by IAB in November 2020.

Audience measurement for digital audio advertising is first and foremost determined by the way in which the audio is consumed: streaming or downloading.  In this context, we should define who has listened to the advert, whether it is a human being and whether the message has been heard for long enough that the consumer is able to identify the audio footprint of the brand.

Apart from these databases, some metrics have proven to be indispensable for better defining the effectiveness of a campaign: audibility data, audibility quartiles, the listen-through-rate and invalid traffic measurement data.

Streaming (music, radio)

As for other digital media, audio stream editors must cover ad serving platforms and audio advertising tracking platforms. In this case, audio playback activates tracking pixels which provide data on impressions and events, according to the behaviour and activity of the listener.

San Francisco based company, Artsai, is a market leading third party verification company that specialise in the measurement of Audio KPI’s. Its Pixel Artsai is an identification system which cross references advertising impressions with conversion events by users. The cross-referenced attribution has become a key requirement in an environment where 90% of users move from one device to another over the course of the same day. This advanced machine learning technology forms part of the KPI product set deployed by Targetspot in the market.


With regard to podcasts, tracking largely depends on the podcast player used by the listener. Today, approximately half of all podcasts are listened to on Apple systems (iPhone, iPad, Mac), but without the ability to know whether a podcast file has been played, this represents a significant challenge. Google and Spotify operate a more open environment, offering analytical tools intended for podcast creators, facilitating close analysis of the listening behaviour and measuring engagement. Spotify also provides demographic data (age, gender), technical data (device used) and contextual information.

For downloaded audio, CPT pricing based on download should be considered and not based on listening. However, reporting and targeting are still limited, notably due to the fact that the file download server does not transmit the user ID to exchanges. To mitigate the absence of standardisation in the field, the sector has developed a set of standards that ouline podcast advertising campaign measures, set out in a specific guide.

Recently, innovations have been introduced to considerably improve performance measurement. This has been made possible because downloaded podcasts can use codes for offers, unique URLs and vouchers to measure the effectiveness of campaigns. In this way, granular responses can be added to campaign measurement, thanks to calls to action, making it possible to measure advertising impressions, the reach and other anonymised information. We must remember, podcasts are generally consumed without visual attention to a screen. Therefore, the call to action (CTA) must be integrated into the advertising messages.

How can you measure impact of a digital audio campaign?

A centralised dashboard is essential for effectively measuring the impact of a campaign on a digital audio medium.  The dashboard will contain all available information:

  • Impressions and distribution
  • Single listeners reached
  • Audience ratings
  • Demographic, geographic distribution
  • Device and format distributions
  • Network distributions

The platform developed by Targetspot provides agencies and advertisers with key indicators and real-time information to collate results, determine the impact and optimise a campaign.

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