Video Essentials

Podcast Ad Targeting Is Here and it Works, Say Wondery, Panoply

Forget what you think you know about podcast advertising—assuming, that is, you think it’s nothing but scattershot low-impact reads for audiobooks and mattresses.

Dr. Phil podcast

Dr. Phil at the 2018 Podcast Upfront

At today IAB-sponsored fourth annual Podcast Upfront in New York City, the ad community learned that podcast ads can be targeted at scale. And even though it’s easy to skip the ads, surprisingly few listeners do.

Podcast network Wondery hit the targeting topic the hardest, with founder and CEO Hernan Lopez explaining that his company’s new Bullseye by Wondery tool “closes the loop” by offering browser retargeting after listeners have been exposed to an audio ad. A second tool, Direct Attribution by Wondery, uses cookies to match individual listeners. Both tools have been in testing for a month. Podcast listeners are sensitive about how their information is used, Lopez cautioned.

Host-read ads are actually extremely effective, Lopez said, noting that using that style of break lets Wondery avoid ad types that are more annoying to listeners. He showed a graph of audience attention for one program, illustrating how listeners stayed tuned in for the entire show with barely a dip during commercial breaks.

Network Panoply also talked targeting, explaining that its Megaphone Targeted Marketplace technology works with Nielsen to offer over 60,000 audience demos. The podcasting marketplace is worth $400 million now, but Panoply CRO Matt Turck sees that growing. Megaphone offers dynamic ad insertion, he said, and allows advertisers to remove wasted impressions by focusing on the audience segments they care about most.

Panoply’s audience frequency testing shows the effectiveness of podcast ads diminishes after the third or fourth exposure. That’s why Megaphone lets advertisers set frequency caps. The tool also delivers listener IDs to the advertiser for retargeting.

The Upfront saw a few big names from the world of daytime TV join in. Wondery announced that on Monday it’s launching a new podcast with Ellen DeGeneres called “Ellen on the Go.” And Dr. Phil McGraw dropped by in person to plug his upcoming video podcast “Phil in the Blank,” which premieres in January. McGraw will have long conversations with interesting people, including Jay Leno, Vivica A. Fox, and Kathy Bates. McGraw promised that it won’t duplicate the content of his TV show, but will gain exposure from TV mentions.

The podcast movement is part of an overall shift in the economy, explained IAB CEO Randall Rothenberg, one where brands can talk and sell directly to their customers. Many brands are riding this wave, and are sustained by podcast ads. Using podcasting successfully means harnessing its one-to-one connection.

“You have to think direct,” Rothenberg said. “You have to think about creating direct connections to your consumer.”


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