As we’ve discussed before, digital audio advertising is an important and growing channel, one that continues to mature both from a content, inventory, reach, and technological standpoint. We’ve talked about streaming radio, but another interesting digital audio format that’s gained a lot of steam in recent years is podcasts.
In case you’re not familiar with them, podcasts are pre-recorded audio shows that are published episodically to a platform where users can either download or stream on demand. Shows cover nearly every topic or interest you can imagine—from news to comedy, from science to fiction, from sports to old-school radio dramas. Apple, ostensibly one of the largest podcast hosts, hit 50 billion all-time episodes downloads in early 2018. Consider that only five years ago, they only had seven billion downloads. Most recent stats indicate that there are “more than 500,000 active podcasts” in over 100 different languages!
As you might imagine, with content growth also comes ad revenue growth. The Interactive Advertising Bureau (IAB) and PricewaterhouseCoopers (PwC) predict that ad revenues in the U.S. will swell 110 percent to $659 million by 2020. That’s certainly nothing to sneeze at.
That said, measurement of podcast advertising is tricky. While it’s certainly possible for podcast creators and publishers to provide download data, it’s very difficult to count impressions or reach. For example, a user might download a podcast but never listen to it. Or, if an ad is placed towards the end of a program, it’s possible users might not hear it if they don’t listen to it all the way through.
Add to that the challenge of the two ad formats for podcasts—dynamic and embedded. Dynamic means an ad is dynamically inserted into pre-roll, mid-roll, and post-roll inventory slots. Embedded means an ad is packaged with the original recording, meaning it is permanent and can’t change. Both formats certainly have their advantages, and yet, both are still very difficult to track.
To help nurture this growing channel, the IAB recently introduced a podcast measurement compliance certification program, which will certify publishers’ metrics around downloads, listeners and ad delivery. It’s certainly a step in the right direction, ideally it’s a base upon which further measurement practices can flourish.
If you’re interested in exploring the world of podcast advertising, or you just want to see how to make your ad buys more efficient, contact us. We’re happy to help you determine what the best channels are to reach your customers.