At the end of October, Acast launched a new feature allowing advertisers to use their first-party data to target audiences across the podcast company’s marketplace.
“Podcasting is one of the most powerful, impactful mediums for advertising,” Henrik Isaksson, Acast Australia managing director told B&T.
“Recent data from our ‘Sounds Smart” report found that 30 per cent of respondents considered buying or making purchases of a brand or product after hearing ads on podcasts, compared to an equal 23 per cent for both commercial radio and music streaming. Podcasts are a truly intimate medium — you’ll reach consumers on a much more personal level than traditional formats like TV or radio.”
To make the most of its more intimate setting, Acast created an industry-first identity graph which used a combination of IP address and other listening data to audience segments. From there, prospective advertisers could upload their own first-party data and match their high-value users segments with Acast’s identity graph to better target listeners with relevant ads.
“Frankly, I think our creators expect Acast to create this kind of technology,” said Isaksson.
“We are pioneers in this space, and we are constantly pushing the envelope so more money lands in the pockets of our creators. There are very few podcast-first brands, and advertisers come to us as we are specialists in this field. Our first-part data solution is just one of the many products that we’ve launched in the last 12 months to help our creators make more money off their trade.”
In fact, Isaksson believes that podcasting is so effective for advertising — and potentially lucrative for creators — because users are not only more engaged than they are with radio or TV, for example, but because they expect adverts and are not perturbed by their presence.
“Podcasting is a truly ‘lean-in’ medium,” he explained.
“Content is deliberately sought out by the listener and consumed whenever and wherever they choose, and podcasts reach both mainstream and niche consumer passions. Also, people don’t skip podcast ads. Ads in podcasts are part of the overall storytelling, they’re perceived as less intrusive, so listeners have less inclination to skip them compared to traditional media. Podcast advertising is so effective that Wall Street analysts have recently projected the podcast advertising market to triple in value, reaching US$6 billion by 2026.”
However, there is still a level of opacity around podcast advertising. Isaksson said that “generally speaking” most users don’t quite understand how adverts make it into their podcasts and why you might hear different adverts depending on when and where they downloaded the episode.
“Our tech has come so far that an average podcast listener won’t fully understand how a sponsored message has made its way into the podcast that they’re listening to,” said Isaksson.
“For example, Acast invented Dynamic Ad Insertion, which makes the ad experience seamless. A listener usually isn’t aware if an ad has been dynamically inserted. But listeners are smart. They appreciate ads that are relevant and tailored to them. When brands use their own first-party data, the ad becomes more engaging, making for a better listener experience.”
Isaksson said that Acast is “obsessed” with developing better advertising models to let brands invest in podcasting as a medium and to help pay its podcast creators.
“With brands now able to use their own first-party data, we’ve effectively ensured that brands serve more relevant ads. This creates a more enjoyable experience for listeners and ultimately increases the profit potential for our podcasters — which is at the heart of what we do at Acast,” he said.
With potentially uncertain futures ahead for many forms of adtech, with the decline of third-party cookies and increased scrutiny on ad spend budgets, Isaksson believes that advertising in podcasts would be a boon for businesses.
“The decline of cookies will have nothing but a positive effect on podcast advertising,” he said.
“As data privacy laws become stricter in Australia, it’s only natural to have an influx of advertising dollars poured into categories like podcasting. The general targeting options in podcast ads have always been contextual, which, again, as local restrictions get tighter, is beneficial to creators.”