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How to Use Audience Targeting in Podcast Advertising

From targeting and creative development to measurement, we offer the most advanced solutions to make your podcast campaign a success.

Simon Franklin, Digital Brand Marketing Manager
September 6, 2023

Podcast advertising has come a long way in targeting options for advertisers to reach their desired customers. If you’re a brand looking to speak directly to a niche audience of podcast listeners — say, people who are keen home DIYers, or those in the market for health insurance — one strategy stands out: audience targeting.

If you're trying to reach these specific podcast listeners, audience targeting transforms your podcast ad campaigns from mere shots in the dark to precise and effective maneuvers. In this article, we'll walk you through how to leverage audience targeting in your next podcast advertising campaign to create highly personalized and engaging ads.

What is audience targeting?

Essentially, audience targeting gives advertisers the ability to reach specific groups of listeners— also referred to as audience segments—based on their demographics, interests, and behaviors, and then personalize their ads to make them highly engaging for this audience. Now these targeting capabilities are available in the context-dependent world of audio advertising.

So instead of scattering your efforts across a broad spectrum, this approach hones in on the individuals most receptive to your offering, boosting your chances of engagement and conversion. Think of it like attending a party where all the guests are the type of people you want to speak to, so there’s no getting stuck in conversations that you don’t want to be in.

There’s a wealth of audience segments advertisers can use for targeting, including demographic data such as age groups, gender, location, and language. As well as more niche groups defined by their behaviors or interests—restaurant visitors, moms and dads, or video gamers, for example.

By understanding the unique characteristics of their target audience, advertisers can craft compelling and relevant ads that connect on a deeper level, fostering brand awareness and driving desired actions such as sign-ups or purchases. For example, a podcast audience who are sports fans might hear an ad for a sports TV package, or moviegoers might hear about the latest blockbuster in theatres.

Using Acast’s self-serve advertising platform allows brands to target these specific audiences and deliver audio ads for their products or services that are truly relevant and compelling for them.

Benefits of audience targeting in podcast advertising

To make things clear, here’s a rundown of the benefits of using audience targeting in your next podcast ad campaign.

  1. Relevance, Amplified: Audience targeting amps up the relevance of your ad campaigns, allowing you to drill down to the niche listeners that you’re looking to speak to.
  2. Resource-efficient: Although using audience targeting increases your CPM, you’re speaking to the exact audience you’re looking to reach. That means you can channel your ad spend toward the listeners who matter most.
  3. Engagement, Elevated: Crafting your podcast ads with your audience's interests and behaviors in mind grabs their attention—and attention equals engagement.
  4. Conversion-focused: When your personalized ad creative reaches an audience genuinely interested in your offering, conversions surge. This high-engagement approach converts listeners to take action—whether it's signing up, subscribing, or purchasing.

Best practices for audience targeting in podcast advertising

If you’re looking to laser-focus your podcast advertising using audience targeting, here are our top tips for making it a success.

  1. Know your target audience: Before even choosing your audience segment for targeting you’re going to need to have a very solid understanding of who your target audience is. Construct buyer personas by deep-diving into demographics, inclinations, behaviors, pain points, and motivations. You’ll then be able to pair your personas with audience segments in the advertising platform when setting up your campaign.
  2. Harmonize with the content: When podcast listeners press play on their favorite show, they’re in the mood for a certain experience—be that lighthearted humor or learning about what’s going on in the world. Harmonize your ads with the podcast's themes, as contextual advertising enhances relevance and listening experience.
  3. Own the moment: Podcast listening is habitual; it’s part of the listener’s daily lives and movements. Consider seasonal events—such as the holiday season—or routine behavior—such as doing the school run—to craft your ads so they tap into these moments and align directly with your audience’s reality, and your call to action has real meaning.
  4. Test, Learn, Optimize: A/B testing is your laboratory. Experiment with ad variations and targeting criteria. Learn from the results and fine-tune your approach.

Getting started with audience targeting with Acast

Unlock the power of audience targeting in podcast advertising is a keystone of a brand’s digital marketing strategy. At Acast, we offer a huge variety of audience segments to suit all types of businesses looking to reach their ideal customers.

At Acast, we use Nielsen Audience Segments, a turnkey data solution that provides comprehensive audience profiles. Acast combines its first-party data with Nielsen Audience Segments to offer curated data-driven audiences for advertisers to target.

When creating a campaign with Acast’s self-serve ad platform, audience segments are located in the 'Optional targeting' section of the campaign setup and are currently available for the US and Canada.

Acast recommends selecting 2-3 audience segments. These targeting capabilities are fairly specific, so you'll want to choose the audience segments that are the most relevant to your target audience. Audience segments add 25% to your CPM.

Frequently Asked Questions

What is audience targeting?

Audience targeting is a targeting capability for advertisers to reach specific groups of listeners— also referred to as audience segments—based on their demographics, interests, and behaviors, and then personalize their ads to make them highly engaging for this audience.

How does audience targeting work with Acast advertising?

Here's a step-by-step guide to how audience segment targeting works when advertising with Acast:

  1. Acast IPs - We pass our listenership IP addresses to Nielsen
  2. Nielsen Matching process - Acast IPs are matched to Nielsen IPs
  3. Analyze behaviors - Online behaviors and interests mapped from listener IPs
  4. Audience segments - Data-driven audience segments are created for advertiser targeting
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