Both publishers and advertisers should be paying close attention to the expanding world of podcasts. More and more content producers have adopted the format, and like any other form of content, advertisers are following.
For publishers, podcasts offer a new way to reach and grow their audience, while giving them new ad inventory to offer to brands. For advertisers, podcast ad space is a place to engage with consumers in a new way - a way that seems to be gaining popularity.
Consumers, on the other hand, like podcasts because they get the experience of radio, with the editing and listening flexibility of music. Not to mention the convenience that comes along with streaming.
The audio advertising landscape, in general, is growing. The best recent example of this is Pandora. In February of 2018, Pandora announced that it would, for the first time ever, offer a private marketplace for programmatic audio advertising. And as it turns out, it did not take long for them to see the value in programmatic audio advertising.
In March, less than a month from their original announcement, news broke that Pandora was acquiring AdsWizz, the digital audio ad tech company, for $145 million. While it seemed like a quick turn of events, Pandora's full adoption of programmatic shows an urgency on their part to dive deeper into audio advertising.
Even more recently, Pandora CEO, Roger Lynch, also expressed the company's intentions of expanding their podcast offerings. Why? First, to make it easier for their 75+ million monthly users to discover and listen to new podcasts, but also because there is revenue for Pandora to gain, as they simultaneously ramp up their advertising efforts.
It's clear that Pandora is hopping aboard the podcast advertising bandwagon. But what is it that makes podcast advertising so desirable for brands? In most cases, the direct response capabilities that the platform offers.
Moving Consumers to Action
Direct response advertising has been around for quite awhile, in the form of coupons, sales, promotional codes, call-now's, and more. The idea of the form is to make consumers move immediately from an advertisement to a purchasing action. The consumer is making a buying decision based directly on the ad that they were exposed to - hence the name.
Podcasts, however, have added a new layer of digital interaction for direct response advertising. Content consumers engage with podcasts in ways unlike almost any other form of content, and that has brought a new depth to what brands can achieve with direct response ads.
So, that got us thinking... What makes podcast direct response advertising so desirable for brands compared to other forms of direct response?
4 Reasons Why Brands Like Podcasts for Direct Response Advertising
As the podcast landscape continues to expand, more and more genres of podcasts have become available. There is also less censorship and more freedom when it comes to creating podcasts, compared to radio and other forms of audio content.
All of this paired with the do-it-yourself nature of the industry means that there are a ton of podcasts being created in a ton of genres.
From an advertiser's perspective, more genres of content simply means that there are more hyper-targeted audiences that they can reach. Different shows offer audiences of various sizes, age demographics, and so on. Advertisers can measure the likeliness of a direct response by the type of audience that consumes the podcast at-hand.
Podcast listeners tend to be very engaged, and very focused on the episode they choose to listen to. In fact, that matter of choice is a factor in its own right. Listeners have to go find the podcast episode that they want to listen to, leading them to be more patient with content. Compared to radio, for example, there's much less randomness when it comes to what podcast listeners consume.
Jason Cox, the CTO of Panoply, stated that listeners to their podcasts get through 80-90% of the content they choose to listen to.
The nature of podcasts leads listeners to do less skipping around, and more genuine listening, obviously presenting a terrific environment for direct response advertising, as more engaged listeners are much more likely to act immediately.
3. Listener Loyalty
Podcasts are like music, in the sense that listeners can become very connected to the host, and to the content (in the case of narrative-based podcasts). As listeners become more deeply connected with podcasts, they'll build better associations with the brands that advertise on that podcast.
Many podcasts have very loyal audiences, as well. They have listeners that will tune in, attentively, every episode. Often times, direct response advertisements will remain the same for multiple episodes, so, even if a listener is not drawn to action the first time they hear an ad, there will be later, repeated chances for them to do so.
Consider this: Let's say someone is listening to their favorite comedian's podcast. If that comedian endorses the same brand, for multiple episodes, pushing one promo code, there's a very high chance that the listener will at least research the promotion to see if they're truly interested.
In this case, the listener has a pre-built loyalty towards their favorite comedian, therefore, they'll be more willing to consider the brands that that comedian is endorsing, thinking, "If [Enter favorite comedian's name] likes MediaRadar, then maybe I should, too."
Podcast ads are a way for brands to have unofficial endorsements from semi-famous to very-famous content creators, who can be very influential in moving listeners to immediate action.
Most podcast direct response ads include some version of a promo-code. It's simple on the consumer-side, and gives advertisers a direct link to attribution. When consumers act on a direct response ad, there's a measurable interaction that takes place at the point of purchase - "Use the promo code MediaRadar2018 at checkout," for example.
When someone uses MediaRadar2018 at checkout, it's a data point for advertisers, of a successful direct response advertisement.
To expand and further hone direct advertising efforts, brands can use the data they gain from conversions to fuel their later podcast campaigns.