Interviews, insight & analysis on digital media & marketing

The power of podcast advertising

In 2023, UK podcast advertising spend grew by 23% to reach £83 million, as it edged closer to parity in spend with streaming. Moreover, research from digital audio industry resource Sounds Profitable found that 71% of podcast listeners are keen to learn more about the brands they hear advertising on podcasts, which represents a higher number of consumers than any other medium.

However, while the platform is highly effective and experiencing rapid growth, many within the podcasting space may not be fully aware of what is possible when it comes to advertising, and just how aligned the channel has become to the wider digital media industry.

“The targeting options in podcast advertising have evolved a lot, thanks to improvements in data analytics and programmatic tools. Nowadays, I’d say that the targeting options that we’ve got available matches up with the targeting options that we’ve got in all of digital media in general,” said Frank Corsi, Business Development Manager at iHeartMedia-owned podcasting platform Spreaker, speaking at The Podcast Show.

He presented examples of how advertisers are able to target specific demographics and listeners with specific interests, as well as utilising contextual and geolocation targeting.

Rob Timony, Head of audioXi at Bauer Media Audio Ireland, continued the point, highlighting what being able to segment the audience for the advertiser means for creativity and media effectiveness.

“The opportunities from there can lead into the creative options that are available that could be through 3D and binaural audio, it could be through dynamic audio, it could be just creative that is specific to the podcast in question. From there, with an effective and well-segmented audience, there’s less media wastage. And then also you can really, as an advertiser, then buy that reach and scale,” said Timony.

“If you’re looking for a sports audience, you can buy that across a number of different podcasts rather than just buying on a specific single podcast or publisher so you can really drive the reach and scale available within the medium.”

As with any medium, the creative aspects are the driving force behind the effectiveness of the ads but, within podcasting, according to Esther Mason, Commercial Director at AudioPlus, this doesn’t just mean replicating the types of creative used on radio.

“It’s so important that, for us, advertisers aren’t coming in and replicating the audio that they use across radio and running that across podcasts. We know now that the need states and the mindsets of listeners hearing a podcast are going to be very different to when listening to radio. So, we need to make sure that those ads are tailored and personalised to that listening experience,” said Mason.

Mason explained that this was key, because of how high the attention and engagement levels are in podcasting. She added: “With your creative, you’re not trying to capture a distracted listener in the way you might be across another channel. You’re trying to excite them, inform them, you’re trying to create an ad seamless to the content they’re listening to. You want to create a memorable ad experience as opposed to jerking them into wanting to skip an ad. So, a lot of it is about just thinking of that listener content and trying to align your creative with that, not just replicating ads that you’ve already got in use, because you’re running across other channels.”

Overall, the biggest selling point of programmatic advertising in podcasting, while being the “ultimate expression of supply and demand,” is how it’s perfectly placed for the present and future of digital advertising, in the mind of Lance Paterson, Vice President, Research at Audioboom.

“If you’re a regular ad buyer, you might notice that everything’s having to go cookieless now and also that Apple is starting to cut off access to things like device ID,” said Paterson. “We’ve never had that. We can’t set cookies, and we don’t get device IDs, so we’ve already worked around it. We’re ahead of the game.”

The Podcast Show, the biggest international gathering of the podcast industry, ran at The Business Design Centre in Islington from 22 to 23 May 2024.

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