The IAB just wrapped their #PodcastUpfront22 event – Hear and Now – that was held virtually on May 10th – May 12th. This year’s event, designed for brands, agencies, and media buyers, previewed the latest innovations, programming, and marketplace trends.  Ad Results Media got a look at the upcoming rosters of shows as well as new buying and measurement methods now available for advertisers.

The agenda for the 3-day event featured presentations from leading networks, technology providers, industry gurus, and content creators.  Not unlike the podcast marketplace itself, there was an incredible amount of content shared during the event and we will do our best to summarize the top 5 takeaways.

Takeaway #1: Man, it’s a great time to be in podcasting

It is no coincidence that Day 1 of the event started with a session that detailed the key findings of the 2021 IAB U.S. Podcast Advertising Revenue Study because they had some crazy numbers to share.  First and foremost, the podcast advertising industry surpassed $1B in 2021 for the first time ever.  This represents a 74% YOY increase in revenue; which is more than twice the 35% YOY increase the entire internet media industry experienced during what was heralded as a banner year. Equally astounding are the future projections.  It is estimated that podcast revenue will reach $2B by 2022 and $4.29B by 2024.  So, it’s worth repeating, it’s a great time to be in podcasting.

According to Gina Garrubo, President and CEO, National Public Media, and Diana Anderson, SVP Group Director, Carat USA, they are seeing more and more new advertisers entering the category than ever before and they are getting smarter. Garrubo mentioned she is seeing advertisers testing creatives, conducting attribution studies, refining their targeting, and being more strategic with media mix planning.

Takeaway #2: Consolidation is bringing more integrated buying opportunities

A common refrain from many of the larger podcast companies that have recently acquired or consolidated assets in the last few years, was their unique ability for advertisers to be able to conduct more integrated approaches to buying.  During the Walt Disney presentation, they discussed the potential for advertisers to buy podcast inventory across their top properties like ESPN, Nat Geo, and Dateline and have invested in their sales force and the “organizational expertise to leverage the power of the portfolio”.

During the Wondery presentation, they leaned heavily into highlighting their global expansion as a key selling point as well as the fact that 22 of their podcast properties also become TV programming – allowing for multi-market, multi-channel buying. They also discussed the strategic investments in ad tech that have been made by their parent company, Amazon.  Some of these investments included ART19, their targeted audience solution, and a recent partnership with Nielsen that studied the positive emotional impact that smart speakers and streaming music have on their listeners - Alexa, do listening to podcasts make me happy?

Takeaway: #3: There is no industry without diverse storytellers

It’s no secret that there is literally a podcast for everyone.  This would not be possible without all of the diverse voices that bring their unique perspective and viewpoints to the shows they create.  During The Power of the Spoken Word: Why Diverse Voices and Audiences Matter Now More Than Ever session, each panelist said they were inspired to create their podcasts because there was a lack of representation. They discussed how important it is for the industry to expand its support for diversity in podcasting by helping to bring podcasts from people of color, women, and the LGBTQ+ community to the forefront.  Sara Porritt, Hear Us Roar, Chief Diversity & Inclusion Officer, Omnicom Media Group noted that these valuable podcasts will not be able to grow without brand funding, but brands need to know that they are reaching eyeballs as scale.  The podcast industry itself can continue to attract more and more diverse audiences if they level the playing field for these shows.

Takeaway #4: Everyone’s got a new data marketplace and it’s a good thing

It didn’t matter which publisher’s presentation you were tuning into; everyone was touting a new data marketplace solution fueled by their 1st party data.  Normally, if every publisher was announcing the same thing – it would be considered nothing special. However, in this case, it is a great thing.  The targeting and measurement capabilities that the industry at large will be able to enjoy will help us all deliver better results with greater accountability.

During the Day 2 session, Podcasting’s Mainstream Moment, Andre Swanston, SVP, Media & Entertainment Vertical, TransUnion touted the importance having a “consistent data strategy using dynamic ad insertion (DAI)” because it allows advertisers to leverage “audience buys consistent with other channels”.

During that same session, Ken Lagana, EVP of Digital Sales, Audacy shared some of the new measurement capabilities that advertisers are clamoring for including: loyalty program, footfall and credit swipe attribution that are only possible through audience-based buys.

Takeaway #5: There are some really cool tech trends coming up!

One of the real highlights of Day 3 was the Advancements in Podcast Technology session with that introduced some amazing capabilities that we can all look forward to.

During the session they announced they are able to connect advertisers and creators without using personally identifiable information (PII) and still offer amazing targeting capabilities. They debuted some really incredible technology that will help advertisers to target people based upon their current activities including whether they are walking, running, sitting still, or riding in a car.  They also went into great detail on some of their measurement capabilities including audience engagement and retention on podcasts, streaming and digital radio.  Advertisers will be able to get reporting on ad-skipping, conversions, and the detailed performance of ads by host, device and episode.

For more insights on the IAB 2022 Podcast Upfront or to begin accessing the recently announced inventory, tools and technology, contact the Ad Results Media team.