New to podcast advertising? Five things you should know

Adam King, group sales head at Acast AUNZ
By Adam King, group sales head at Acast AUNZ | 29 June 2020
Adam King

It’s well known that advertisers typically follow audiences, and that’s certainly true of podcasting.

The industry has experienced incredible audience growth year-on-year – this has skyrocketed further due to the recent lockdowns and social isolation measures. Acast alone has hit a record 25 million Australian listens in one month, cementing its position as the biggest podcast player in Australia.

We’re now seeing record demand for podcast advertising locally and are encouraged by how many brands are spending on podcasting for the first time. If the momentum continues, we expect the Australian podcast market will exceed PwC’s forecast and grow far beyond $110 million by 2022.

As new podcast advertising players enter the market, we’re getting more and more questions from brands.

Based on our discussions with local brands, here are the five things to consider when advertising via podcasts for the first time.

1. Question the metrics
The quickly evolving and fragmented nature of the podcast industry brought challenges in defining and agreeing upon standardised metrics. But that’s no longer the case.

In 2017 the IAB released the IAB Podcast Measurement Technical Guidelines 2.0 to provide clarity within the marketplace.

The guide developed a common language around measurement and defined standard metrics around downloads, listens, ad delivery, and client-confirmed ad play. The following year IAB developed a certification program which allowed vendors to ensure they were compliant with these metrics.

Although IAB provides clear guidelines and metrics, not all podcast players are IAB compliant.

For those starting out in podcast advertising, it’s important to ensure the podcast inventory you’re investing in has been vetted and that the vendor is transparent. So, be sure to ask the question, ‘are you IAB 2.0 compliant and certified?’.

2. Consider going big with small podcasts
It’s easy to be attracted to blockbuster podcasts, and of course big podcasts can be highly effective, but don’t just limit yourself to podcasts with hundreds of thousands of listeners.

Niche yet highly loyal audiences await and scale can be achieved via a podcast marketplace, allowing you to buy across thousands of quality titles, perhaps titles you’ve never heard, but which are held in very high regard by their respective listeners.

The longtail within podcasting provides such an exciting opportunity, but buying small podcasts at scale has been almost impossible until now, so don’t be afraid to go big with small podcasts.

3. View podcasting as its own unique audio format
One of the most common conversations we have with new podcast advertisers is about the unique nature of podcasting compared to other audio formats.

Whilst all audio formats have their benefits, it’s important to distinguish between them.

When it comes to attention, podcasts stand top of the podium. We know big tech companies trade in the attention economy – it’s the most valuable resource they command, using techniques like no end cues and variable reward systems to keep people engaged.

Yet sometimes not all media buys give the attention scale enough merit and with pressures to chase cost efficiencies it can mean sacrificing effectiveness.

Podcasts aren’t background noise; they’re sought out stories or conversations with a highly engaged listener. With 1:1 listening and low ad mintage, podcasts really are one of the most mindful environments a brand can be gifted.

It’s important for brands to use this to their advantage. So ask yourself if you’re really considering podcasting as its own audio medium (if you’re not then you’re probably not harnessing the format to its greatest potential).

4. Drive frequency with daily podcasts
Daily podcasts are a rising trend and leading the charge in this category is news, both from global publishers and independent Australian media houses.

For publishers this a welcomed uplift as the format provides an audience who are willing to go deeper than the headlines and offer their undivided attention. In an increasingly audio first world, it’s an audience they’ve been craving. Premium news podcasts are perhaps the perfect antidote to some of the click-bait journalism from questionable sources which plagues our social feeds.

For advertisers, this trend presents an opportunity to become part of a listener's daily ritual and drive frequency of your brand’s message within premium content.

5. Trust the host with your brand
The ability to leverage hosts and their influence has always been a draw for advertisers, but when it comes to the ad itself, many find it difficult to hand over creative reigns to a podcast host. Give it a go.

Hosts understand their audience and deliver the message in a way that will resonate, whilst staying true to the personality of the podcast & the brand. Give them some creative rope, I guarantee you’ll be rewarded, there are countless amazing examples of how this can be done

Final thoughts
Podcasts are one of the fastest-growing mediums in Australia, so have fun with the format and take advantage of the opportunity at hand. Hopefully, these pointers will have you jumping in the deep end in no time.

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