By Suzi Kuban, CMO at Next Broadcast Media
Digital audio’s strong targeting capabilities, expansive reach, and intimate nature mean it can absolutely support both upper and lower funnel marketing goals, including:
Brand lift - Nielsen Media Lab data shows audio ads have a 24% higher recall rate than traditional display ads
Engagement - Midroll Media data shows 60% of podcast listeners made a purchase after listening to an audio ad.
Conversions - A 2021 audio performance study found that on average e-commerce brands were generating 6 incremental conversions for every 1,000 impressions.
Before launching your podcast, streaming, or in-game audio campaign, knowing your goal and the key performance indicators will quantify the success of the campaign. This is why understanding key audio metrics and their benchmarks is crucial.
The key audio measurement metrics
First things first - what are audio measurement metrics? There will be a familiar comfort to digital audio measurement, as the metrics are very similar to digital and social. The standard key performance indicators used in audio campaigns are:
Impressions: As you'd expect audio impressions are the number of times your ad is heard in total.
Reach: The audio reach metric is the number of unique listeners who heard your ad.
Listen Through Rate: This represents the percentage of listeners that heard your audio ads entirely. The nature of audio means a high LTR is standard. If your LTR is 95%, then 95% of listeners out of all ads that started. Audio Listen Through Rate (LTR) is calculated by dividing impressions by the number of completions.
Completion: The 100% completed metric is used in the LTR calculation. It shows the number of times your ad was heard in its entirety.
CTR: When using banners alongside your audio file (which we highly suggest) makes it trackable. As you'd expect CTR is the number of clicks your banner got divided by the number of impressions.
Using all the data sets will give you a solid understanding of your campaign, but certain metrics used as KPIs will give you the concrete proof you've achieved your objective and support future investment in audio.
Reach campaign KPIs
A good reach campaign will get as many unique listens as possible. This is great news as audio advertising is amazing at achieving reach.
KPI metrics and benchmarks:
Impressions and Reach: There is no industry benchmark for these metrics, as it depends on how narrow or broad your targeting is. For a reach campaign, you'll want to be broader. Naturally, impression numbers will always outweigh reach numbers - but you'll want to aim for a lower ratio between the two. We suggest a good reach campaign will have listeners hearing your ad between 1- 3 times.
Listen Through Rate: IAB’s “Digital Audio Buyer’s Guide 2.0” has guided using LTR can quantify effective reach. We like to work with a benchmark of 94% which is achievable with a quality audio file and targeting.
How to optimize a reach audio campaign?
If your reach campaign is not achieving the impressions, reach and LTR mentioned above, we suggest broadening your audience or increasing your budget.
Awareness campaign KPIs
A well-executed awareness campaign will put your brand, service, or product in the mind of your target audience.
KPI metrics and benchmarks:
Impressions and Reach: Again, there is no industry benchmark. You will want listeners to hear your ad 3-5 times. Your targeting should be narrower than a reach campaign, so your specific target audience hears your ad more frequently over a shorter period of time.
Completion Rate: If ads were played to the end you've then communicated your entire message to your audience (a few times), embedding your brand in the mind of your audience. Audio completion rate will be high, our benchmark is 94%.
How to optimize an awareness audio campaign?
If your awareness campaign is not achieving good completion rates it indicates listeners are skipping the ad or the whole podcast, which could be down to poor audio ad quality or targeting. Revisit your message and ensure it is clear, high quality, and resonates with your target audience. For low impression numbers, we suggest reassing your audience or increasing your budget.
Conversion campaign KPIs
At the bottom of the marketing funnel, you're looking to prove your audio ad has converted listeners and driven action. Audio is highly engaging, and if your message and targeting are right you'll realize audio can make a huge impact on leads, sales, visits, etc.
KPI metrics and benchmarks:
CTR: Using banners to accompany your audio campaign creates a click-through rate. A good audio CTR benchmark is between 0.20% - 0.25%. To increase the chances of a listener taking action we suggest including a call to action in your audio ad.
Alternate audio conversion metrics
While CTR is a good measurement tool when it comes to audio we recommend using other data sources to prove conversion. Audio is mismatched with viewing because by nature listeners are most commonly engaged in activities away from their device. Therefore to further quantify digital audio conversions we suggest some of the following:
Post listener surveys: measure brand recall and purchase intent with listener surveys
Sales impact: observing the direct change to sales, visitors, and leads after implementing the audio campaign
Promo codes and vanity URLs: Calling out unique codes and URLs within the audio ad will segment audio leads/sales
Audio Ad Attribution: If you partner with professional specialized agencies or networks they will offer ad attribution, which is a tool that can accurately attribute audio campaigns to purchases as well as the path to conversion. This is an important tool because it can account for the lag between being heard and action - plus the change between the device you were heard to the device the action is taken. At Next Broadcast Media, we use technology to combine cross-device audio ad tracking with attribution reporting in the same platform. With our setup, you can accurately measure audio return on ad spend with data for actions such as app downloads, website visits, sign-ups, add to cart, and purchase confirmations.
How to optimize an awareness campaign
If your conversion numbers are low our first suggestion would be to revisit your audio file - make sure it is clear, consistent, and resonates with your network/platform and audience targeting. Try a different call to action and assess barriers stopping people from going to or finding your destination.