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Not All Audio is Created Equal: Why Media Buyers Should Avoid Bundling Podcasts with Streaming in Programmatic Transactions

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

Elli Dimitroulakos, Michael Bayston, and Jeffrey Williams
March 6, 2023

In today’s fragmented and tumultuous media landscape, one thing remains constant: advertisers are under more pressure than ever to prove the return on every dollar they spend. With so many ways to connect with consumers, from digital to audio to CTV and more, media buyers are challenged to not only find the right medium for their message, but also the right path to purchase for their unique budget.

Podcasting offers advertisers the opportunity to reach the most highly engaged audiences of any other tested medium. In fact, SignalHill found podcast audiences to be 100% more attentive than those of digital video, 48% more than TV, and 88% more than online banner ads. Research conducted by Acast with Nielsen also supported the medium’s reign over the attention economy, finding 65% of US listeners are focused when listening to podcasts.

Media buyers around the world are continuing to recognize the value of these highly engaged audiences and in the US alone, the podcast advertising market is expected to eclipse $4 billion by next year. At the same time, recent Acast research discovered that 65% of US marketers expect to increase their spend on podcasts and, when considering marketers who have previously purchased podcast ads, 83% expect to increase their spend on the medium year-on-year.

However, many advertisers still lack the important knowledge of how to make these transactions to get the maximum return on their spending. This is especially true when it comes to buying podcasts programmatically.

In a recent study by Acast, only 39% of US marketers could correctly define programmatic ad buying. Of those respondents, only 42% said that they had a detailed understanding of programmatic ad buying, though nearly 60% had bought ads programmatically before. 

Most Common Mistakes that Media Buyers Do

At Acast we have found that media buyers struggle to transact programmatically in podcasting because many try to activate similarly to how they activate display or video by using DSP-side features not built for audio. This is detrimental to performance because it leads to blocking of inventory and overshadows the true power of podcasting. To solve for this, Acast provides best-practice for programmatic execution set up for podcasting, co-written with DSPs over five years of partnership.

Perhaps one of the most common mistakes that media buyers make when buying podcasts programmatically is bundling podcasts with streaming and audio. This often occurs because audio can appear more scalable and it saves media buyers time, but it causes the bidder to naturally exclude podcast inventory. 

One way podcast inventory is excluded in bundled buying is a result of different pricing structures. When bidders choose the lower pricing of streaming audio, that will automatically exclude the more premium aspect of podcasts.

When advertisers bundle their podcasts with audio and streaming, they also lack transparency into the podcast shows and their performance. As a result, they are unable to optimize specifically within podcasting and achieve scale, effectively missing out on the power of podcast audiences for their brand.

What is the Solution?

When transacted properly, podcast advertising is the most powerful tool in an advertiser’s toolbox. According to Annalect, podcasts deliver a 60% higher return on investment than any other tested channel. 

Being able to identify and communicate this return on investment for media buyers is key to driving programmatic buying and the entire podcast advertising industry forward, especially as the macroeconomic climate remains uncertain. According to Acast research, US marketers said they expect the share of podcast advertising bought programmatically to nearly triple by 2027, but 54% said better reporting is the key solution to driving their increased investments.

As the global pioneer in podcast advertising, Acast knows that reporting is integral to understanding the effectiveness of each campaign. As such, Acast partners with leading third party measurement and attribution platforms including Podsights, Charitable, Nielsen, KANTAR, Claritas, ArtsAI, Veritone and others to offer a full suite of measurement tools that can be catered to any media objectives. 

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