Executing a podcast campaign involves lots of players, each with a different role and responsibility. Having the right partner can help you effectively navigate the “podscape,” or podcast landscape, so you can get the most value from a complex web of publishers, content creators, brands, agencies, platforms, and ad technologies. 

Given podcasts’ growing popularity, with more than 500 million people tuning in worldwide, finding the right way to manage the podscape’s nuanced demands—from length and volume to frequency and measurement—is well worth the investment. Below we’ve outlined the top four challenges facing brands this year and how a specialized agency like ARM can help. 

Navigating the Podscape: Top Challenges

One: Getting data and insights

Podcast advertising is newer than traditional display advertising, and its analytics and data capabilities have lagged behind those of its digital counterparts. For many investing in podcast advertising, a lack of audience measurement and mistrust in reported data could hold back spend. In a recent survey, nearly a third (31%) of advertisers indicated they had difficulties with measurement and reporting with podcast advertising.

But that is changing. New technology solutions, from attribution to cross-channel reporting, have emerged to help brands track the impact of their investment and make better, data-driven decisions about their campaigns. 

How ARM can help

Since audio is our bread and butter, measurement has always been one of our top priorities. We work hard to deliver a complete picture of performance to all of our partners by leveraging multiple attribution methodologies and choosing the right partner for each client’s campaign goals. After podcast metrics are defined, we use a variety of tactics to achieve full-funnel measurement. These strategies include pixel-based attribution, brand lift studies, promo codes, vanity URLs, and more.

Two: Staying brand safe

Brand safety has come a long way since the early days of podcast advertising. Brand safety is a catch-all term that refers to aligning an advertiser brand with content topics and themes that reflect its values. Brand reputation is important, and in podcast advertising, the ecosystem is diverse and ever-expanding, creating safety challenges. Naturally, suitability varies from brand to brand, which can make pairing advertisers and brands difficult. Historically, it has been hard for advertisers to develop intelligent, contextually targeted podcast advertising at scale while keeping brand safety at the fore. In the complex and fast-moving market, podcast content is often relatively unknown, which can give even the most performance-minded marketer pause. 

How ARM can help

ARM partners with innovators in brand safety and suitability technology to deliver next-level solutions for brands. With precision AI/ML models that understand both context and intent, updated constantly with trending topics, categories, and language, ARM can help you deliver your message in contextually relevant, resonant environments where they have real impact—at scale. Additionally, ARM has powerful relationships with creators and a breadth of industry knowledge that mitigates challenges with being paired with the right creators.

Three: Saturation

We all know that podcast creation—and therefore podcast advertising—is booming. Ad load increased by 7.66% between 2022 and 2023 alone, however, raising concerns about ad repetition and the risk of frustrating loyal listeners. Intimacy and a human touch are two of the main drivers of podcast advertising effectiveness; exhausting listeners with too many ads undermines impact. To navigate the 2024 landscape in a way that preserves authenticity, advertisers need in-depth industry knowledge and a balance between thoughtful and performance ads delivered at an optimal frequency. 

How ARM can help

Avoiding the pitfalls that arise as the industry grows requires thoughtful strategy and campaign deployment across a range of suitable podcasts. Agencies with specialized skills and connections help brands find untapped niche audiences in brand-safe content. We help brands identify these segments and optimize alongside other media investments. ARM’s vast network of partners, creators, and collaborators makes us well-equipped to help brands discover and buy the right mix across relevant interest areas while connecting with the right listeners and avoiding repetition. Additionally, with solutions like ARM PRO: Audience, advertisers can optimize programmatic ad frequency to deliver reach without exhaustion, making campaigns simple to execute while maximizing efficacy.

Four: Limited supply

Given the historical limitations of brand safety and targeting, the top 500 podcasts captured nearly 50% of ad budget throughout 2023 and 2024. Category exclusive clauses have also made it difficult to scale successful campaigns or for new entrants to break through. 

New technology that enables brand-safe, contextually targeted placements across long-tail podcast inventory has eased the supply challenge. But the savviest brands are starting to take a broader view of podcast advertising that expands to streaming and YouTube, given that audiences are, for the first time, “watching” podcasts more than they are listening to audio-only platforms. Integrating these adjacent channels into your podcast campaigns can provide much-needed incremental reach at competitive CPMs—for those who know how to do it.

How ARM can help

To help our clients meet their goals, we buy targeted audio placements across all channels, including podcast, YouTube, streaming, terrestrial broadcast, and more. Specialized agencies like ARM can get the best rates across channels, as well as manage and report on cross-channel campaigns in a single interface, which makes it easy to reconcile delivery reports or understand overall impact.

Capitalize on podcasting's momentum

Navigating the podscape can be challenging. With the right partner, you can be sure you’re getting the most out of the medium. Whether you’re placing ads directly or programmatically, ARM can work closely with your team to craft a strategy that delivers on key KPIs while future-proofing your audio efforts. 

Want to learn more about how we work? Reach out to one of our audio experts.