ADM Annouces Ad and Audience Standards for Downloadable Media

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Association for Downloadable MediaThe Association for Downloadable Media, an organization whose purpose is to help provide advertising and audience measurement standards for episodic and downloadable media, announced today a proposal for advertising standards at Ad:Tech San Francisco.

A cross section of podcasters, agencies, device manufacturers and others interested in monetizing downloadable media have developed the proposed standards.

Why do we need standards for downloadable media?

  • Lots of podcasts, lots of sponsors, lots of options and confusion
  • Like IAB display ad unit guidelines for podcasts
  • Allow sponsors to create 1 advertisement for multiple podcasts

The panel believed that the standards should be

  • Simple
  • Inclusive
  • Acceptable

The group is proposing three types of ad standards: Insertions, Content Participation, and Collaterals

Insertions (as provided by advertisers)

  • Definition: pre-recorded file provided by sponsor
  • Time up to :10, ;15, :30, or :60 seconds
  • Location: Pre-roll, post roll mid roll
  • Frequency: Variable or time period
  • Audio: 128k stereo/64k mono mp3, Sample Rate: 44.1 khz
  • Video: H.264 MP$, Aspect 4×3 or 16×9 SD and HD

Content participation

  • Definition: When an advertiser’s message is included as part of the audio or video podcast content.
  • Time: Variable from :1 second to full episode
  • Location: Pre-roll; mid-roll; post-roll; or integrated within one or a series of episodes
  • Frequency: Variable by number of episodes per month; variable by number of insertions per user per month; or fixed per channel/feed per month.

All the other real estate that a podcaster has that may be included as part of an advertising or sponsorship package, or as separate items a lá carte.

  • Show notes on podcast website
  • ID3 tags in podcast episode file
  • Album Art Cards
  • Link and banner in enhanced audio podcasts
  • Overlays, underlays in video podcasts
  • Web banners, buttons, text links, hyperlinks (using IAB standards)
  • Email sponsorships
  • Press Releases
  • Product sales (CDs, DVDs, merchandise)
  • Signage/Outdoor (for retail)
  • Brochures, flyers

The second area that the ADM focused on is developing a set of proposed measurement guidelines for audience traffic.

The Association of Downloadable Media is recommending compliance with one of two proposed methods to determine true download measurement. These two methods are Native Server Measurement or Third Party Measurement.

In order to comply with these guidelines, publishers would clearly state their download measurement methodologies to interested buyers. Buyers seeking to work with ADM-compliant publishers would be entitled to request and receive these download methodologies. The goal is to achieve high levels of confidence around the metrics for both parties.

Third Party Measurement (TPM)
A Third Party server is the intermediary between the Native Server and another Third Party Server. Third Party Measurement refers to the files measuring the initial download requests as received by a third party server to be delivered to the requester. Because the Third Party server is a constant, it may uniformly measure download statistics across multiple hosting services.

Data logged by third party servers include request information about the media being downloaded. Each request contains the following data that may be utilized for analysis.

  • IP Address – Unique Internet address of the user consuming the media file.
  • Time Stamp – Time at which the request was made for the media file.
  • Request – The request specifies the media file requested and provides the method at which the request should be handled.
  • HTTP Status Code – A technical code defined by the HTTP protocol that determines the status of the request.
  • Referrer – Location where the request came from.
  • User Agent – A unique value that identifies the service or application making the request. e.g. web browser such as Internet Explorer, podcatching agent such as iTunes, a web bot such as Google.
  • Byte Range – This is the range of start and end bytes requested by the media consumer.

Native Server Measurement (NSM)
The Native Server is the actual end point where the media is hosted. Native Server
Measurement refers to the log files derived from the Native Server. It may include
the amount of data that was transferred in each log entry, and therefore may provide information to derive more than simple download statistics.

Data logged by native servers include request information about the media being downloaded as well as the amount of bytes transferred during the download transaction. All the data listed above (available to third party servers) applies to Native Servers. In addition, the following data may be utilized for analysis.

  • Bytes Served - This is the amount of bytes that have been transferred to the media consumer in a given request. Depending on the type of request made, the bytes served may be less than or equal to the size of media file.

The data contained in either native or third party server log files does not necessarily mean that the data is analyzed. The method of analysis used varies.

Analysis Techniques and Factors

Both types of measurement include analysis techniques, in order to calculate download measurement. These analytic techniques are used to determine the validity of actual downloads (versus duplicated or aborted download attempts)

There are a number of factors used in any given technique to analyze log files.

  • IP Address – The IP address may be used to determine if the request is unique or a duplicate. It may also be used to determine geographical information of the media consumer.
  • Time Stamp – The date and time may be used to determine if the request should be counted.
  • HTTP Status Code – The appropriate HTTP status code is examined to determine if the request should be counted.
  • Bytes Served – The value may be used to determine if the media was completely downloaded. (Note: This information is only available from native server log files.)
  • Referrer – The origin of the download may be used to determine if the request should be counted. e.g. media that is auto played upon loading a web page may be removed or reported.
  • User Agent – The identifier of the application or service consuming the media may be analyzed to determine if the request is unique.
  • Byte Range – The range of bytes requested in a given request may be used to determine what portion of the media is requested. When analyzed across multiple requests, the information may provide an accurate assessment to determine if the media was completely downloaded.

The ADM does not require a specific combination of factors or techniques, instead requires that you use analysis that’s appropriate to the business at hand in a way that provides high confidence data and you can explain the process used to create the data. It is left to any company following these guidelines to create techniques that fit their situation. However, it is strongly recommended to include the IP Address in analysis.

These types of measurements can be provided by services like Wizzard Media or PodTrac. UPDATE: ADM members RawVoice and Volomedia are also providing this kind of measurement service.

The proposed standards are open for public review and comment through May 16, 2008. Send to comments and feed back to

Once ratified will be reviewed bi-annually by ADM.

[tags]downloadable media, ADM, Association for Downloadable Media, Advertising, Standards[/tags]

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2 thoughts on “ADM Annouces Ad and Audience Standards for Downloadable Media

  1. Hi Alex,

    Good post. Our company, VoloMedia is a founding member of ADM. We are following the development of this quite closely as we offer solutions for dynamic and rotatable ad insertion anywhere within downloadable media all the way to the device. We also have metrics reporting solutions that captures not only downloads but plays from the browser to the device. Since the proposed standards are still up for public review, I’m wondering what your thoughts are and if you’d like to further discuss some of your ideas/thoughts with one of our founders as a follow-up post?

  2. RawVoice also provides independent analyzed download statistics, Angelo Mandato the CIO of RawVoice is the chair of the ADM committee that came up with these standards. I think it is important to mention that most of the companies that are in the Podcast Advertising business, that are members of the ADM have been providing analyzed statistics for a long time.