Tricks of the marketing trade

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Tapping into podcasting's programmatic potential

Streaming audio is quickly becoming one of the most popular mediums for consuming media, making it a key advertising opportunity. More than three-quarters of US internet users stream music and podcasts at least once a month, according to eMarketer’s projections.

Podcast listeners account for a much smaller portion of the US internet population (26.9%), but this audience is growing the fastest. Publishers and providers like Spotify, iHeartRadio, Pandora, Audioboom, Blogtalkradio, Cox, HowStuffWorks, LibriVox, CBS play.it, PodWaves and PodcastOne all offer deals that can be brokered through private marketplace deals.

Major acquisitions in 2019 between key players like EW Scripps, Spotify, iHeartMedia and Pandora have opened the doors for automated buying of podcast inventory alongside streaming music. Advertisers should note that inventory is relatively new to the programmatic space and should expect continued growth and changes to the buying process in 2020 and beyond.

There are a number of options for using your podcast inventory, based on the parameters of your campaign. We've compiled some general notes and best practices below for your consideration.

Podcast inventory is limited – treat it as such:

It is recommended not to target smaller than state-level at this time, though bid-factoring of specific DMAs or zip codes is available to push performance to the most relevant areas.

Frequency capping is not recommended and is largely unnecessary given low scale.

Approach targeting with a traditional media mindset

In other words,  think 'Who is the general audience for this podcast?' not 'Layer on A25-45 with In Market > Auto data'.

As a blanket rule, retargeting or first party data can be targeted, but is unlikely to serve.

Reporting is limited to impressions or downloads-by-podcast

Performance measurement available on streaming music, like completions or clicks, is not currently available with podcast buys.

Expect longer turnaround times for podcast inventory

The requirements to successful execution for each inventory provider will lead to higher turnaround times for campaign launch – expect a minimum of three weeks lead time for each request.

What’s the hold up? Inventory forecasting, CPM agreements, Deal negotiations, Deal ID creation, platform synchronization, and standard setup and QA each carry their own turnaround times from a variety of external and internal teams.

As the podcast inventory market grows, advertisers can expect increasing capabilities in targeting, measurement, and opportunity just as we have seen for previously emerging channels like streaming audio, digital out-of-home, and connected TV channels.

The current market for podcast inventory presents opportunities for unique touchpoints in an environment with less competition than other channels. Now is a great time for advertisers to test channels like audio to expand reach and maintain awareness and connections with consumers.

Savannah Westbrock, associate director of client strategy, Coegi

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