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CBC Listen - Short

What’s Your Next Audio Obsession?

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Insights & Ideas

As Canada’s national public broadcaster CBC/Radio-Canada is a leader in reaching Canadians on new platforms. As part of their mission they launched the audio streaming service, CBC Listen, offering best-in-class Canadian content including award-winning podcasts, music playlists, and live radio. CBC wanted a campaign to increase awareness of their large collection of audio products.

With people’s attention spans dwindling, it’s harder to capture this valuable resource. Research shows that viewability is not enough as memory only kicks in after 2 seconds of active attention (Source: The Attention Economy and How Media Works: Simple Truths for Marketers). For a global streaming service looking to drive site engagement, an experimental study was conducted across Mobile and Desktop. It found that high-attention placements generated 16.37X more site engagements and 2.49X more subscription sign-ups than low attention placements.(Source: The Attention Council). For this reason CBC saw an opportunity to focus on attention.

But current digital pricing models do not value attention and quality impressions. With this in mind the CBC looked for a partner willing to shift to an accountable model and activate on attention.

Media Execution

The strategy was designed to maximize attention and engagement with a 4 pillared approach. Firstly they partnered with a media partner that not only offered them premium environments across their network but also offered a time guarantee. The time guarantee ensured that the campaign received quality in-view time vs simply serving impressions, with a guaranteed 3,200 hours of time in-view per a million impressions. If the guarantee was not hit, bonus impressions would be served until it was.

Secondly, strategic targeting (including both deterministic and contextual) was used to reach Movie & TV Buffs, Millennials, and Lifestyle enthusiasts to see which audiences engaged most. Thirdly, they used experience driven ad creative that provided a high impact experience and a quiz to help users find the best content for them. The quiz made it simple for users to explore the wide variety of audio products in a digestible way, based on their personal preferences.

Finally, the campaign used attention metrics beyond time in-view, such as dwell rate and engagement time. In addition, four new metrics were created and piloted in this campaign. Attention metrics provide a glimpse into what is happening between the impression and the click, helping brands reveal the attention journey from exposure, to interest, to engagement, to action, to better optimize a campaign. In addition, the media partner analyzed billions of impressions to create attention benchmarks to help measure campaign success.


The campaign’s Time Guarantee was a first-to-market for CBC and the publisher network. In addition to using traditional attention metrics four new metrics were developed for the Time Guarantee program and debuted during this campaign. These metrics are defined as follows:

  • Average Attention Time per Million Impressions (expressed in hours) = Total In-View Time / (Total Impressions / 1,000,000)

  • Interest Conversion Rate: Dwelled Impressions / Viewable Impressions

  • Engagement Conversion Rate: Engagements / Dwelled Impressions

  • Action Conversion Rate: Clicks / Engagements

The first metric in the list allowed for measuring and optimizing to the time guarantee. Since time in-view only measures in-view impressions a metric was needed to take into account the impact of non-viewable impressions on the overall time in-view.

The other three metrics are used to show the user journey through the attention funnel. By having them relate to only the level they are embedded in, they are a valuable tool for judging the impact of creative as well as determining which targeting groups are performing the best on a level playing field. All these metrics were added to an engagement platform and were trackable in real-time.


The campaign outperformed the time guarantee by 61% and reached 15% of Canadians aged 18-34 (Source: ComScore Plan Metrix® Multi-Platform). On average users spent 26 seconds with the CBC campaign, exceeding the publisher's benchmark by 11% and the global benchmark by 43% (Source: Double Verify). More than a quarter of people that expressed interest in the ad, engaged with it resulting in a 20% increase in engagement rate over their 2020 campaign.

With a whopping 90% of engaged users taking the quiz, CBC was able to gain insights about their content such as podcasts, inspired more action, and The Block was their most popular product. These insights will help the CBC fuel future campaigns.

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