Interactive Advertising Bureau

Digital audio is not a new concept but as it grows it is causing a shift-change in the advertising landscape. From streaming our favourite music to listening to the latest podcast , digital audio is a key part of media consumption. In this blog series, IAB Europe explores how the programmatic audio landscape is evolving across Europe.  In the second blog we spoke to Zarpana Kabir, Head of Northern Europe Advertising at Adobe, Matt Bennathan, Senior Director, Channel Partnerships International at Oracle Data Cloud and Hilary Umeh, Director Business Development at The Trade Desk to find out more about the challenges of supply and measurement in digital audio advertising. 

Find out more about about the developments, opportunities and challenges in Programmatic Audio Advertising in the first blog of this series here.

Question 1 - We hear that supply of audio inventory is a challenge, why is this?

Zarpana Kabir:

Audio is still a nascent format when it comes to buying inventory. The legacy, manual buying systems are still in place, and upfront deals are still very much a part of the audio industry. However, ad tech is gaining ground. We will continue to see this play out into the next year. Programmatic-enabled buying marketplaces for audio continue to make big strides in offering the industry an alternative, data driven way of buying audio ads.

Matt Bennathan:

There are several factors in play here, including the lack of transparency, limited technical integrations, and restricted measurability. Measurement plays the biggest role here, since brands continue to look for transparency, accuracy, and precision from their data partners to analyse ad effectiveness and inform their media buying strategy. Oracle Moat’s Audio Analytics solution is meant to bridge the gap between brands and publishers / content creators to help sustain the ecosystem of quality storytelling and creative process. Additionally, we’re part of the IAB working group for audio measurement collaborating across what will eventually count as an “Audible Ad.” But even so, there is currently no standard that exists for brands to use as a baseline metric to know an opportunity to engage with audiences was created.

Hilary Umeh:

The challenge stems from the simple fact that demand is currently outstripping supply. And the increasing shift to programmatic has magnified this issue – as, instead of the direct buy model that audio publishers have traditionally been accustomed to, programmatic encourages brands to think about their media purchases in a more fluid, adaptable way.

On top of this, finding inventory that is GDPR-compliant is of course crucial. However, this supply is scarce as most audio publishers don’t have a clear way of collecting consent – meaning that it’s currently impossible for the industry to use audience data in EMEA. 

The demand/supply dynamic becomes particularly unbalanced at certain times of year – think Black Friday, Christmas – when brands naturally want to up their advertising. However, some publishers and SSPs aren’t currently set up to deal with this fluctuating demand, making the lack of inventory more noticeable – and problematic. 

Question 2 - How can the supply challenge be overcome?


The industry will naturally shift to make it easier to purchase audio, especially with programmatic marketplaces. 

We saw a wave of consolidation in the last year, proving that Programmatic Audio is becoming more mainstream. Pandora purchased AdSwizz, iHearMedia acquired Jelli. This trend will continue as spending and demand continue to increase for the format. Another area where we will be able to unlock inventory is Podcasts, and we should see this trend taking shape with multiple inventory sources offering in-podcast. 

This level of supply democratization is going to make it easier to access audio inventory, from music to Podcasts.


Overcoming the supply challenge begins with the shift in consumer behavior. Studies have shown consumers are changing their content consumption to audio platforms to fit their always-on, on-the-go lifestyles. Because concentration levels are much higher across audio, programmatic audio offers greater intimacy with boosted loyalty. Marketers see this as a way to interact in a profound way with users, where they can almost have a conversation with the end listener.

Once we have measurement of programmatic audio available in ways to perceive and recognise value for the media dollars being invested, brands will look to invest additional revenue and resources towards that audio. In time, the audio ecosystem naturally will evolve, alongside new technology and creative assets and more demand being built in the supply chain.


The solution to this problem is the same as it is for many such problems – allowing programmatic to truly compete with direct buys, in turn revealing what we all know: programmatic can allow buyers to select impressions in an efficient and effective way, and allow publishers to sell impressions more effectively too. This minimises wastage for buyers and maximises yield for sellers – a win-win situation.

We’re actually already seeing some key players make moves towards addressing this issue by offering programmatic packages over key periods - like Black Friday – for the first time this year. Such moves are great news for the industry as a whole, and a sign that we’re moving in the right direction.

Furthermore, audio, much like any other channel, shouldn’t be treated in isolation, but as part of a broader cross-channel strategy. When all parts of the ecosystem are working in a unified, programmatic way, the see-saw between demand and supply will naturally balance out. 

And the thing is programmatic won’t just solve issues around supply, but will also enable brands to unify their strategies, consolidate campaign reporting and overlay data insights onto media planning and activation – the utopia of advertising! 

Question 3 - Moving onto measurement, how does the measurement of programmatic audio advertising differ from programmatic display or video?


Measurement is still pretty challenging. Obviously, the measurement logic that we have been using for standard digital ads will not apply in this instance. When we think of audio, we’re talking about having a virtual discussion with the audience. There are unique factors that go into these formats that need to be looked at – audio ads are telling a story, there are no visuals, and it’s not inherently interactive (from a direct action perspective). You’re really going to be looking at reach, frequency and its impact on behaviours. You can begin to look at brand surveys that measure propensity to purchase, favorability, and ultimately attribution to really understand audio’s role in driving behaviors and action.


We believe there are currently three differences. First, there aren’t standards for what an “audible” ad is, like there are for viewable display ads, or viewable and audible video ads. Second, there is not yet second-by-second measurement on the delivery of audio ads, on the audible duration, or on variables like the playback speed. Finally, given the prevalence of live reads, there is not always a clear way to distinguish an ad vs. the audio content, itself.


Measurement of audio doesn’t currently differ enough from other types of programmatic advertising – this is something that needs to change. Currently, measurement of audio focuses on similar, standard metrics to other types of advertising, like completion rates, device type, location etc. Now, this is partly due to an inherent limitation of the channel in that it doesn’t have as many consumer touch points as other channels.

But it also relates to the lack of data currently used in planning and executing audio campaigns. The more data that’s used, the more detailed and insightful the resulting metrics are.

It’s also important for brands to measure audio as one element of a broader campaign. For example, companion ads – where a banner ad is displayed at the same time that the audio is playing – add another dimension to measurement, as well as making the campaign itself more powerful. 

Question 4 - Which key metrics brands should look for?


Aside from the baseline metrics of knowing that an ad reached a human and was audible at start, attention metrics such as audible quartiles, completion rate, when an ad was muted / unmuted, or at which point a user skipped will help provide marketers with valuable data to determine ad effectiveness in audio environments, conduct tests to improve creatives, and find unique and innovative ways to reach their audiences. The data and insights provide publishers with valuable analysis on how to strengthen strategy across editorial planning, best monetize premium content to sustain quality storytelling and creative process, and enhance the overall listening experience for their audience.


Currently brands are able to track, and report on, the following metrics: Start, Midpoint, First Quartile, Third Quartile, Completions, Impressions, Clicks. These are certainly all important and will help contribute to a thorough understanding of a campaign’s performance.

But if brands are to increase cost efficiencies in advertising (including audio), then moving to cost-based goals is a logical next step. The are several benefits to this approach. Not only does it mean brands will pay the right price based on performance, they’ll also reduce costs for better overall performance. On top of this, it also enables them to optimise more deliberately. In other words, making more cost-effective ad purchases enables brands to achieve more impressions – in turn, increasing reach and sales, if optimised correctly.

Blog contributors:

Zarpana Kabir, Head of Northern Europe Advertising, Adobe

Experienced Digital Marketer delivering seamless advertising experiences across multi-channel media platforms. Over fifteen years of experience developing Advertising Strategies across Branded Video and Performance ad campaigns for Global Brands & Customers.

Zarpana has spent the last five years as a Programmatic Advertising expert, leading Demand & Delivery teams across the US and EMEA. Currently residing in the UK, she leads the Advertising Business at Adobe, for Northern Europe (UK, Ireland, Nordics).

Matt Bennathan, Senior Director, Channel Partnerships, International, Oracle Data Cloud

With 20 years of experience in marketing to consumers, Matt strongly believes in leveraging data-driven insights to make more informed advertising decisions. Specialising in programmatic with leadership roles at eXelate, Nielsen Marketing Cloud, and Oracle, Matt pioneered the UK market. He was recognised with prestigious awards including The Drum Digital Trading Awards “Most Effective Use of Data” in 2016. The Drum independently voted Matt as a “Digerati” within the top 100 UK Digital Advertising leaders in 2017. Matt earned an MBA from Warwick Business School and speaks regularly at industry events.

Hilary Umeh, Director, Business Development, The Trade Desk

Hilary is currently Director of Business Development at The Trade Desk, where he works collectively with client services and trading teams to cultivate accounts, build relationships with senior leadership teams client-side, and identify strategic upselling opportunities. Hilary also oversees the laydown of client roadmaps based on individual client needs, working closely with product, marketing and revenue teams to constantly optimise efforts in line with company goals.

First published here.


Following an inclement few months, which included the Information Commissioner’s Office (ICO) releasing its Update Report into Ad Tech and Real-Time Bidding, IAB Europe has released the second iteration of the Transparency & Consent Framework (TCF).

Notably, Google has announced that it will be integrating with the framework, with completion expected by the close of Q1 2020. To determine the potential impact of the updated policies, ExchangeWire spoke to various stakeholders to ascertain the benefits associated with adopting TCF v2.0, how the framework helps to protect consumer privacy, and what future steps can be taken to champion user rights whilst maintaining income from advertising spend.

TCF v2.0 demonstrates that we can achieve cross-industry change

Jon Mew

The latest iteration of the Transparency and Consent Framework will deliver greater consumer control, while also evolving the industry’s compliance with privacy principles. This could not be more timely given the recent ‘Adtech Update Report’ released by the ICO.

With the ICO expressing concerns about knowledge and understanding of GDPR and ePrivacy requirements by companies involved in RTB, it is crucial that UK digital ad players review their current practice to ensure that they are operating in line with the law.

The TCF v2.0 is central to this. It’s the only cross-industry initiative of its kind and the most likely approach to effect real change across the digital ad ecosystem when it comes to meeting transparency and consent requirements. With the ICO making clear that it will not hesitate to take regulatory action if its concerns are not satisfactorily addressed, TCF v2.0 has a key role to play in helping to demonstrate that we can deliver cross-industry change.

The latest TCF release includes significant improvements for consumers – for example, people will have more granular control over the processing of their data and can exercise their ‘right to object’ – but it’s important to point out that it is not a silver bullet when it comes to privacy concerns; the issues in the ICO’s report go beyond what is covered by the TCF. The framework will, however, continue to evolve and adapt based on feedback from the ICO and other regulators, allowing it to change with our dynamic industry.

It’s in all of our interests for companies in the digital advertising sector that process personal data to implement TCF v2.0 – from advertisers and media owners to agencies and ad tech companies. Not only does it help to ensure that individual companies are functioning on the right side of the law, it also helps to build a responsible, self-regulated and sustainable digital ad industry.

Jon Mew, CEO, IAB UK

Consent can be established for the European digital supply chain

Colin O'Malley

TCF v2.0 represents a mature and good faith effort to reconcile the often conflicting requirements of GDPR and ePrivacy and has placed the industry at the discussion table with regulators. It appears that consent CAN be established for the digital media supply chain in Europe. Going forward, the industry will need to establish consistency for consent implementations, and will also need to address related areas of regulatory concern that TCF v2.0 has not been chartered with solving, including the handling of special category data, an over-reliance on legitimate interest, and the safeguarding of personal data across the programmatic exchange environment.

These are significant challenges and further changes will no doubt be necessary. But rapid and consistent adoption of TCF v2.0 will be an essential part of any good news story the industry is able to tell in 2020.

Colin O’Malley, founder, The Lucid Privacy Group

Clarification, flexibility, and control

Romain Gauthier

In general, TCF v2.0 better serves each stakeholder by clarifying key aspects of the framework that had been criticised in v1 (purposes, features and stacks). It gives more flexibility and control to publishers which can now determine for each vendor that they select what legal basis are authorised on their websites. TCF v2.0 is a technically nimbler way to circulate consent information between vendors by giving more depth to the information that can be passed along the chain via the Transparency and Consent string.

TCF v2.0 gives internet users a better picture of what is going to happen with their personal data. End users will have the ability to access more and better information in a way that is more understandable: the notion of stacks corresponds to a more progressive access to the information which ensures that most users will not be interrupted with massive amount of legal jargon while other interested users are always able to access granular information. TCF v2.0 also reinforces user control over their data by facilitating the ability to oppose to specific vendors regardless of the legal basis they’re using.

TCF v2.0 also incorporates feedback received from various data protection authorities. In particular it establishes more specific purposes for advertising data processing. This allows for a clearer description of purposes that will be easier to understand. All in all it is a good step towards a valid GDPR consent for the industry.

The advertising ecosystem cannot operate without a standard way to communicate user choices between stakeholder. The TCF is already the most widely adopted consent standard out there. If Consent Management Platforms correctly do their work product-wise, TCF v2.0 will definitely become the best way forward for any stakeholder belonging to the advertising ecosystem, from advertisers to publishers.

There are still a lot of things that can be improved. An ideal future version of the TCF would allow sufficient and revocable cryptographic protection to user personal data. This would effectively guarantee that no personal data is accessed by a third party without a valid consent.

Romain Gauthier, CEO & co-founder, Didomi

Making a compelling case for advertising’s benefit to consumers

Alice Lincoln

As an industry, we need to make a compelling case for the benefits we bring to consumers. To do this, we need to show we are working together to address their concerns about data protection, and this is why robust, industry-wide standards are so important.

Consumers and regulators are concerned about accountability, and the Transparency and Consent Framework gives us an important way to deliver a key piece of that accountability: the ability to demonstrate that the consumer was given appropriate notice and choice with respect to the various purposes for which their personal data may be processed, and by whom.

TCF v2.0 has taken on board regulatory and consumer feedback and improved on V1 in several key ways to give consumers more control over their data. Importantly, it also helps encourage as many companies as possible to align around a single standard and is now gaining critical mass in the industry.

We want to work with regulators to address their concerns and we believe TCF v2.0 is well placed to play a central role in this.

Alice Lincoln, SVP data policy & governance, MediaMath

New framework marks an important milestone for the industry

Scott Menzer

The TCF v2.0 is an important milestone for the digital advertising industry. The new version includes several much-needed features that improve control for publishers and enhance transparency to users. These improvements include more clearly defined purposes, publisher vendor restrictions, the ability to define legitimate interest as a legal basis, and support for out-of-band legal basis (which is when consent is achieved outside of the TCF). There are also a number of technical enhancements that make the TCF v2.0 more robust to integrate with.

As an industry, it’s important that we all support the new version and take advantage of its improvements. By coming together and adopting the same framework for managing user consent, we ensure that digital advertising respects users’ privacy and remains a viable way to support publishers’ businesses.

Scott Menzer, co-founder and VP, product & operations, ID5

Broad collaborative approach supporting business and consumers

Ari Levenfeld

Eighteen months is a long time in today’s fast-changing data privacy landscape. Since the introduction of GDPR on May 25 of 2018, we’ve benefited from the perspectives of consumers, regulators, the courts, and the industry. That’s why version two of the IAB Europe’s Transparency and Consent Framework (TCF) provides even greater control for publishers over vendors and data processing purposes, transparency requirements and legitimate interest, and more granular disclosures to consumers. In addition, consent management platforms (CMPs) now have the ability to capture, store and signal a user’s right to object in addition to consent choices.

The TCF v2.0 was created with input from all corners of the digital ecosystem. This broad, collaborative approach has generated a framework that supports a wide range of publisher business models while benefiting consumer data protection through more transparency and choice.

Ari Levenfeld, chief privacy officer, Quantcast

Industry needs to continue showing transparency

Arndt Groth

There is a range of benefits for all parties within the advertising ecosystem. For consumers, the biggest benefits of TCF v2.0 are increased transparency and more detailed choices for how companies use and share their data. From a high level, it provides publishers with greater control, while also providing them a technical solution for how to collect and transfer personal data for digital advertising.

The implementation of the framework does not guarantee that the processing procedures of the participants are compliant. It’s a standardised, technical solution that makes it easier for participants to comply with the first steps of data collection for certain advertising activities (and signal that information to partners approved by the consumer). In terms of the benefits to consumers, it offers a unified solution (Google will also join) in which they will receive full transparency and choice across the ecosystem.

Once the framework is implemented across supply, demand, and ad tech vendors, everyone can get back to focusing on their business and providing privacy-compliant solutions, as opposed to juggling different standards. This is motivation enough.

It’s important to stay in communication with the data protection authorities and other industry players, in order to continue developing technical solutions that fit not only the EEA but other privacy regulations around the world. But as an industry, we also need to continue to show transparency with regards to how digital advertising works, so we can continue to gain (and keep) the trust of consumers. Lastly, it’s important to continue educating consumers on the value of personalised advertising.

Arndt Groth, CEO, Smaato

Speaking the same language

Stevan Randjelovic

The primary benefit of the TCF v2.0 is that it is the only industry framework which allows, to those who have adopted it, to speak the same ‘GDPR language’ by adhering to the standard signals and TCF policies. Furthermore, it helps publishers and advertisers, as owners of digital properties, to build user trust by being transparent about their relationship with third party vendors, users to exercise their choice over data processing purposes and vendors, and vendors to have legal certainty as the data processing purpose language is standardised across many digital properties implementing the TCF. Without frameworks such as the TCF, every company, publisher, vendor or advertiser, would be left to fend for itself, and would have to invest even more resources to reconcile different purposes and obligations across many websites.

TCF v2.0 is rightfully considered to be a user and publisher version. Users will now be able to exercise very granular choices over 10 data processing purposes AND they will have specific control over how they are sharing their precise geolocation data and if they are allowing active fingerprinting of their devices. They will also be able to object to data processing in case vendors are relying on legitimate interest. Publishers, on the other hand, will have more control over how their partner vendors process data as TCF v2.0 allows publishers to signal their permissions, per purpose, to vendors.

Main challenge of the TCF v2.0, and generally speaking of any privacy-related effort, is communicating complex terms to users, and complying with the transparency requirements of the law in a limited space of a mobile phone screen. GDPR is supposed to raise awareness about privacy among users, and not numb them. Hence, designing effective and good user interfaces is of paramount importance, and our current and future greatest challenge.

Stevan Randjelovic, brand safety manager, GroupM EMEA

Building a sustainable and efficient solution for best practice operators

Stuart Wilkinson

Several of Comscore’s publisher clients have opted to build their own, or contract with, a Consent Management Platform that integrates with the TCF. The TCF v2.0 therefore facilitates the collection of privacy signals for Comscore’s Audience and Advertising Measurement services.

This means that publishers now have a choice to use the TCF, or use our specifically adapted javascript tags for the collection of consent signal for syndicated measurement services.

For Comscore’s Audience and Advertising Measurement solutions TCF v2.0 enables a standardized and distributed network solution for a variety of Consent Management interfaces that European consumers can be shown when accessing online services. The TCF v2.0 provides a granular level of controls so the consumer can manage their privacy choices as they surf online.

Several publishers, consent management platforms and digital services vendors have aligned already to use the TCF v2.0 as a key solution for helping users manage privacy choices. The early adopters have demonstrated that the technical framework is functional to the design which should encourage more publishers that the solution is scalable. Further discussions with national privacy authorities to reassure the market that the framework is an appropriate and efficient solution to managing privacy compliance would encourage more publishers to adopt the framework over the long term.

The framework will continue to evolve, adding additional functionality in future versions to help manage privacy compliance on additional use cases. Cross-industry support for the roadmap, as well as support for governance of the framework, will help build a long term, sustainable and efficient solution for the best practice operators in the industry.

Stuart Wilkinson, head of industry relations EMEA, Comscore

Establishing user trust is a condition for the industry to survive

Andrea Giannangelo

All the learnings from TCF v1.0 contributed to making v2.0 a much more mature framework, including feedback from the authorities. Thanks to these improvements, Google has committed to join, which is by far the most significant news coming with v2.0.

The TCF v2.0 iterates on the same principles of transparency and standardisation that inspired v1.0. It does it by introducing more granular purposes that users can customize their data processing from and makes the requirements for consent collection stricter, to the user’s benefit.

Pressure from advertisers to comply with the GDPR is leading vendors to request publishers to adopt the TCF. With Google joining, the TCF v2.0 is going to be the standard, meaning that publishers not adopting it will definitely have repercussions on their ad serving.

What’s even more important, though, is correct application of the TCF, as often websites that don’t work with any of the vendors adhering to the TCF wrongly adopt it. Other websites adopt it, but don’t follow the guidelines. This seriously undermines the trust of the framework – particularly when these deviations to the guidelines are sanctioned by the authorities – and is something the whole industry should vigilate over.

Right now the TCF only applies to the EU, causing a disparity both on user rights and on the capability for publishers to monetize their traffic. With Safari and Firefox banning third party trackers and the increased penetration of ad blockers, establishing user trust is becoming not just a requirement from regulators, but a condition for the industry to survive. And it might even be too late.

Andrea Giannangelo, CEO and head of product, iubenda

We have to go beyond simply complying with given standards and regulations

Ben Barokas

“The development of TCF v2.0 is a positive step towards providing greater transparency to consumers. The IAB has incorporated publisher feedback and the increased flexibility of the framework will surely encourage its adoption.

“To ensure user privacy and an enhanced consumer experience, however, the industry will need to take steps beyond simply complying with a given standard or regulation. It’s a matter of ensuring consumer preferences are preserved across media environments and geographies, and integrating those consent signals into a technology solution.

“Data with consent attached is simply better data, and not just from a privacy point of view. It’s inherently more effective when used to buy and sell advertising inventory. Media sellers and media buyers understand this, and the industry should come together to leverage consent to create better deals for all players.”

Ben Barokas, founder & CEO, Sourcepoint

With the plethora of benefits available under TCF v2.0 as outlined above, Google set to adopt the framework by Q1 2020, and the ICO looking for meaningful engagement from the industry, this is the opportune time to adopt the framework. Registrations to join the TCF v2.0 are now being accepted and can be submitted here.

First published here.


The industry needs to work together to convert the promises of online audio advertising into reality, writes IAB Europe's Marie-Clare Puffett

The audio advertising market is enjoying a renaissance. The traditional FM/AM, analogue and DAB advertising market alone is now worth €6 billion in Europe, and these formats are being supplemented by a new range of digital audio options – from IP radio to music streaming services to podcasts.

The growth of these new audio services is exponential: there are now around 700,000 podcasts, comprising 29 million episodes, up 27 percent from last year. This explosion in content shows little sign of slowing; and new channels, such as connected cars and radio apps in smart speakers, will help increase the opportunities for advertisers to reach listeners.

As a result of new audio services, and the increase in opportunities for such services to be consumed, IAB Europe has forecast that the European digital audio advertising market will grow to around €1.5 billion by 2023 – up from €471 million today.

The foundations for a renaissance

However, audio advertising is still a nascent market. The monetisation of the audio market has not kept pace with the growth in consumption of audio services, while challenges around measurement and attribution have limited its appeal to advertisers. The industry needs to work together to convert the promises of audio advertising into reality.

The foundations are already in place - several core characteristics make digital audio highly attractive for advertisers:

  1. Quality and trust. Audio offers premium inventory closely associated with the editorial content and high transparency of where the ad is shown.
  2. Control. Private marketplaces are a common model for programmatic audio, giving sellers the necessary control they need.
  3. High share of voice. Most audio environments, particularly on mobile devices, offer brands an unbeatable share of voice in a one-to-one audience setting. Ad loads in podcasts are low, and narrator-read ads generate additional connection between advertising and content.
  4. Data-driven creative. Audio provides huge opportunities for creative optimisation at low incremental cost of personalisation due to moderate production costs and seamless combination of audio elements from a ‘toolkit’ into a storyline.

Digital audio currently only accounts for around 3 percent of the total display market excluding social, and the programmatic audio market is still too small to measure with any degree of accuracy. But it is early days and the foundations are strong.

Overcoming the barriers to programmatic audio

For the audio market to fully realise its potential, scale is key. And for that, there will need to be rapid growth in programmatic audio.  However, until the barriers to unlocking programmatic audio are overcome, the audio advertising renaissance will be stuck in first gear. Some of the barriers are:

  1. Honing the data flow. At present, programmatic affords only limited return-path data, analytics and measurement for audio content – particularly when it comes to podcasts. It goes without saying that putting in place detailed data analytics is a critical factor for a strong programmatic market in audio.
  2. Sourcing a large audience. Despite the explosion of content, there’s still a lack of scale. Audience segmentation is already difficult enough on audio, but it will be even more challenging with narrow targeting through programmatic.
  3. Replacing real-time bidding for podcasts. The podcast market differentiates through native ads, where podcasts’ hosts read advertisements on behalf of brands. This approach clashes with the type of real-time bidding in the display and video world. Instead, what may be required is a different implementation of programmatic, from guaranteed deals over real-time auctioning, but not real-time delivery, and wider automation, such as workflow automation.
  4. Overcoming fragmented inventory. Outside of major streaming platforms, inventory in audio is highly fragmented, as it is dispersed among many local service providers – each with their own way of measuring reach. Getting all the inventory together and making it saleable is critical for long-term growth.
  5. Integrating with other media. The true power of audio is not as a stand-alone channel, but as a part of an integrated advertising approach that includes other programmatic channels, such as display and video. This underscores a real need to get the right professionals to manage the complexity that comes with adding audio into the advertising mix.
  6. Creating the right metrics. For programmatic audio to be really taken up at scale, the industry needs to identify and promote audio-specific metrics such as ‘listen through rates’ and ‘mute rates’ so buyers can truly understand the effectiveness of campaigns. This is an educational process that will take some time to complete.

The market heats up

While significant barriers remain to the realisation of the programmatic audio market, and therefore scaling the audio market as a whole, there are some indications that key industry players are beginning to make moves on this front. Recent M&A activity speaks to a heated market and suggests that the audio advertising market will reach maturity rapidly.

To give just one example: Spotify, a streaming platform, has recently purchased a podcast network (Gimlet), creator tools for podcasters to build and monetise content (Anchor) and a production agency (Parcast).

The renaissance requires work

The boom in audio content, along with the emergence of new technologies that will give people more time to engage with audio content, is a huge opportunity for advertisers. However, the promised renaissance of the audio advertising market will only occur if the industry works together to define new measurement standards, puts in place the requisite pipes and data analytics tools, and finds a way of uniting fragmented inventory while integrating audio with other programmatic channels.

There’s much work to be done, but from the example of video streaming the industry has a good template for how to achieve these goals. The market is already heating up and when end-to-end audio streaming giants start to breakdown the barriers currently holding the market back, the sky's the limit.

On the 10th & 11th October, IAB Europe hosted its second Network Next event of 2019. Exclusively for leaders of National IABs from across Europe, the aim of the event is to share best practices, discuss the latest industry trends and challenges and collaborate on future European-level initiatives and projects. 

Representatives from 24 National IABs met in Berlin for an agenda packed two days. Kicking off with IAB Europe’s Chief Economist Daniel Knapp, delegates were given an insight into industry growth areas. The first headline of ‘New growth does not come from hype and obscure language’ set the session up well to show Daniel’s predictions that future growth will be unlocked from old and new media, notably ‘new’ TV, Audio and Out-of-Home’. 

Case studies, new standards and code of conducts from different National IABs were presented throughout the two days, with accompanying working group sessions so delegates could discuss and debate new initiatives including IAB Poland’s Programmatic Code of Conduct, IAB Italy’s Quality & Transparency Initiative and IAB UK’s DTC member engagement. IAB Europe’s CEO Townsend Feehan and team gave updates on the Transparency & Consent Framework, the latest policy developments, committee activities and upcoming events and membership activities. 

A big thank you to BVDW for hosting all delegates in Berlin. They presented a fantastic opportunity to see both old and new Berlin and the schnitzel dinner and German beer were welcomed by all!

IAB Europe
Rond-Point Robert
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