Our team just got back from spending 4 days at this year’s Podcast Movement conference that was held August 21st – 24th  in Denver, CO – and they have lots to share! As the world’s largest podcast conference, Podcast Movement brings together podcasters and a number of other industry professionals from agencies, technology providers and networks. Each year gets bigger and better and this year was certainly no different.  Here is the Ad Results Media team’s roundup of top trends, topics and innovations.

Programmatic Adoption is Growing

No surprise, programmatic podcast buying was one of the most discussed topics at this year’s event. There was a lot of thoughtful programming around the role that programmatic podcast buying should play in the overall media mix as well as who and what is driving the adoption. 

During the Understanding & Capitalizing on ALL Forms of Podcast Advertising panel that featured our very own Adam Perlow, the experts discussed how programmatic should coexist with host endorsed ads. Because there is no one-size-fits-all campaign, it is essential to take a number of factors into consideration when determining each advertiser’s use of direct and programmatic ad buys.  For most marketers, it is a good strategy to use both as they complement each other well. In fact some advertisers take a waterfall approach to prioritizing inventory where direct buys take the top priority and then each programmatic provider is utilized in a set ranked order to round out the buy. 

Per Adam, benefits of DAI include:

  • Pixel tracking and customization
  • Geo targeting and F capping
  • Impression goals
  • Ability to target specific episodes
  • Rotating creative and creative testing
  • Ability to start and stop campaigns instantaneously 
  • Remonetize on ad units after a host campaign is done
  • Reporting can be more granular 

Considerations for driving Programmatic Revenue Include:

  • Open ad markers mean natural fluctuations in revenue generated month over month
  • Show profits off less work - decreased mental load (pre-recorded audio)
  • Advertisers can count on relevance via targeting specific customers based on IP address info
  • Not all hosting platforms are created the same in terms of frequency capping & programmatic offerings

During The Early Adopter Mentality, How Podcast Publishers and Advertisers are Making Programmatic Work session featuring Gretchen Smith from Ad Results Media along with experts from Uforia, AdsWizz and Locked On Podcast Network – the panel outlined the top 3 types of clients who are driving the growth of programmatic:

  1. Current large digital programmatic spenders who are looking to expand into podcast advertising
  2. Clients who are eager to learn and scale but don’t have the larger budgets required to scale host-endorsed ads
  3. Clients who already love and trust podcast advertising but want to place larger emphasis on performance media

We Need More Transparency & Standardization

As much as programmatic podcast advertising adoption is on the rise – so are the calls for greater transparency and industry standardization. 

During The Future is Hear: Pioneering Technology in Podcasts, Lisa Jacobs of Ad Results Media and her fellow panelists from Magnite, AudioHook and iHeart discussed the latest technological advancements happening in the industry. This discussion inevitably included the levels of transparency that need to come along with these advancements. Top transparency topics were:

  • What inventory is being bought?
  • Which spots ultimately ran?
  • What data can the buyer have access to?
  • What is performing?  And how do we optimize better?

Along with a pretty universal desire for improved transparency across the board, there was also a desire for better industry standardization.  While the IAB has made great strides in creating industry guidelines, most agreed that there is still work to do.  It’s an exciting time to be in podcast advertising as we drive the maturation of our industry and work together to solve current and future challenges.

YouTube is a Sleeping Giant

The week’s final Keynote address, American’s Habits and Attitudes around Podcasts: Findings from a Pew Research Center Podcast Study, presented by Elisa Shearer from Pew Research Institute discussed the results of the Center’s first research project wholly focused on Americans’ podcast listening.  Jen Dalton of Ad Results Media said that one of her key takeaways of this keynote was that we are just scratching the surface of potential that YouTube has for podcast advertisers.  89% of people surveyed say they prefer YouTube as their method of consuming podcasts – making YouTube the #1 platform for podcast consumption followed by Spotify and Apple respectively. Jen also revealed some very surprising data on which age groups are listening to podcasts on YouTube.

US Adults 25+

  • YouTube – 59%
  • Spotify – 49%
  • Apple - 31%

US Adults Under 25

  • Spotify – 71%
  • YouTube - 64%
  • Apple - 23%

And based upon the research, the main reasons that people prefer YouTube over other platforms are:

  1. It’s free
  2. The experience includes video
  3. They are already frequent users of the platform for other types of content consumption

It’s fair to say that even though YouTube has been a key part of our podcast buying strategies for years – we will see it play an even larger role in the near future.

Measurement is Key to Unlocking Industry Growth

Patty Mertes of Ad Results Media discussed the importance of measurement on her panel hosted by Tom Webster.  Throughout the conference the prevailing sentiment was that measurement tech is still in the early innings for the industry, but the importance of it has a World Series feel.  Right now, the industry is operating in a fractured state with numerous vendors all racing to build similar produces, but there is a material lack of consistency in standards, methodologies and approaches.  Additionally, networks are forming varied and inconsistent preferred partnerships with across measurement vendors creating further complexity to a topic that should be table stakes for the medium.  If we want to achieve industry growth and revenue goals that rival CTV, and eventually digital, then the industry needs to continue to work to address these problems to create easy pathways for brands to understand their performance translating into growth for the medium.

Well folks, that’s a wrap on this wrap-up!  We look forward to Podcast Movement every year as it gives us an opportunity to share our insights, learn from our friends and raise a glass to the most exciting industry to be a part of.