Podcast ad standards get sorted

Podcasters now have advertising units to think about, and sponsors can count on more uniformity across the digital download universe.

The Washington, DC-based Association for Downloadable Media (ADM) has officially released best practices and advertising standards for audio and video podcasts, along with audience measurement guidelines. The ‘Download Measurement Guidelines and Advertising Unit Standards’ are available free online.

The association formed exactly one year ago, citing a need for standards in a market expected to grow from $80 million in 2006 to $400 million in 2011. The new ad unit standards offer podcasters a series of formats to monetize their shows in the online and mobile mediascapes. They also aim to give ad buyers the ability to run the same creative across individual shows and various networks.

The ad unit standards include three formats – insertions, content participation and collateral – identified as the most commonly used by sponsors and content producers.

Examples of insertions – separate audio or video edited into a podcast – include :10, :15, :30 and 60 second posts located pre-roll, mid-roll or post-roll. Content participation – when an advertiser’s message is part of the content – is described as unwritten sponsorships, scripted live reads, talking points, host endorsements, product placement/discussion, sponsored interstitials, special episodes and infomercials. Collaterals include all other real estate that a podcaster may include in a sponsorship package, such as show notes on the web, album art cards, overlays and underlays in video, banners, buttons, email sponsorships, etc.

The ADM plans to innovate with new formats in the future. These initial guidelines were ratified by the ADM Ad Council, a 14-member interactive advertising agency liaison group, which acts as a sounding board for the ADM committees. The Ad Council group insures the ADM standards and guidelines dovetail with prevailing digital advertising best practices. Two effective types of measurement techniques have been backed by the ADM: Native Server Measurement (NSM) or Third Party Measurement (TPM).