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One Year of Innovation: How Acast Improved Podcast Ad Buying Efficiencies by 85% and Created First-Time Monetization Opportunities for Podcasters on its Self-Serve Advertising Platform

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

Milly Botes, Sr. Director of Product at Acast
December 5, 2023

Since its inception, podcasting has been celebrated for its low barrier to entry for creators of all kinds to explore their creativity in the space. In theory, all you really need to make a podcast is a microphone and an idea. And yes, while every podcaster will undoubtedly tell you that to make a good podcast it takes much more than that, it is a fact that our industry has thrived in many ways because of how easily accessible it is for creators.

But what about accessibility in podcasting for advertisers?

Last November, Acast launched its self-serve advertising platform as a major step in democratizing the global podcast advertising industry. For the first time, advertisers of any size and budget could connect with the highly engaged podcast audiences around the globe with their brand message.

A little more than 365 days later and we haven’t slowed down our efforts to make podcasting an accessible medium to advertisers of every size and budget. In fact, throughout the past year, the platform has grown to service organizations of various sizes and industries, from small and medium sized businesses, to household brand names, and even to podcasters themselves — and we’re proud to say that nearly 40% of these advertisers have booked repeat campaigns. 

Here’s a look behind the curtain at what we’ve been working on for the past year and a glimpse at the road ahead.

Making Podcast Advertising Buying More Accessible

In preparing to launch our self-serve podcast advertising platform, we knew that we had to replicate the same first-class experience that advertisers receive when working with our award-winning sales team. With this goal, it was clear that we needed to make Acast’s leading audience targeting, measurement, and attribution tools available to customers through the self-serve platform – and to continue to make them accessible as we innovate these offerings.

For example, since launch advertisers using Acast’s self-serve podcast advertising platform have had access to Acast’s audience targeting tools as well as Podchaser’s AI-powered contextual verticals, and Nielsen audience segments. This enables buyers on the platform to reach audiences based on their demographic data as well as contextual relevance of a podcast episode.

Additionally, when Acast announced a global attribution partnership with Podscribe earlier this year, these measurement and attribution tools were also made available to campaigns bought on the self-serve advertising platform in addition to buyers working with the Acast sales team. This ensured that advertisers of all sizes – and especially small buyers –  would not be forced to sacrifice on leading measurement and attribution solutions to determine the effectiveness of their campaigns. 

Immediately after launching our self-serve podcast advertising platform in November 2022, Acast saw an influx of media buyers engage with the platform. With such high demand, we knew we had to make the buying experience both accessible and seamless for advertisers to spend their media budgets and connect with new audiences.

Our first step in improving accessibility was to enable credit card transactions on the platform. This simple solution drastically reduced the barrier to entry for new podcast advertisers around the globe who were curious about investing in the medium for the first time. Notably, we saw more small and medium sized businesses invest in podcasting through the platform and we quickly began to see more podcasters begin to advertise through the platform as a method for growing their show.

Expanding Types of Campaigns Available

At launch, our self-serve advertising platform allowed for advertisers to buy pre-recorded audio ad spots that would then be dynamically inserted across podcasts that fit their indicated audience targeting goals and campaign price point. 

In June 2023, we expanded this offering to allow advertisers to buy host-read sponsorships on the platform. As a result, we unlocked the largest self-serve marketplace of podcast influencers for media buyers. 

Often seen as the genesis of podcast advertising, host-reads are a powerful advertising strategy in which podcast hosts read the ad themselves and often give personal anecdotes about their experience with the product or service. These ads are most often baked into the podcast episode and therefore live forever within the podcast content.

Crucially, this decision to expand our self-serve platform to enable host-read sponsorships speaks to the powerful role that podcasts play in influencer marketing campaigns. The global creator economy is slated to reach a $480 billion value by 2027 and podcasters play a vital role in that growth.

In fact, according to Acast research of US podcast listeners, podcasters are the most trusted personalities in media today and 75% of listeners have sought out a podcast for a product endorsement. This study also revealed that podcasters give quality product and brand endorsements. According to the research, 73% of US consumers who have acted on a podcast endorsement said the podcaster gave a good endorsement and they were happy with what they received.

Since launching this expansion, 15% of total revenue on the platform comes from host-read sponsorships.

Introducing Automation into the  Podcast Advertising Buying and Planning Processes

Shortly after expanding the platform to allow advertisers to buy host-read sponsorships, Acast introduced automation to the buying process..

Our first focus was to automate the discovery process for advertisers. With Acast’s catalog of more than 100,000 podcasts from around the world, automating the discovery process has reduced the media bias held by advertisers and enabled them to engage with more podcasts and their audiences than ever before. For podcasters, an automated discovery process makes their podcast accessible to relevant advertisers and effectively increases their monetization potential.

Through the release of our AdCollab product, we made it possible for advertisers to easily work with multiple podcasters from around the Acast network simultaneously to maximize their reach and impact. For podcasters, AdCollab greatly reduces the amount of back and forth with sales teams and advertisers, allowing them to focus their time on creating great content that grows their listenership and revenue. Since launch, AdCollab has reduced the time it takes to book a campaign by 85%.

Soon after, Acast released real-time campaign planning tools to improve efficiencies for both podcasters and advertisers using the self-serve podcast advertising platform. 

Through a new feature called the Availability Calendar, we made it possible for advertisers to see all of the host-read sponsorship inventory available across Acast’s entire marketplace at that exact moment as well as the price of each podcast to ensure that it fits their campaign budget. This increased transparency significantly reduced the time that it takes advertisers to plan and book host-read sponsorship campaigns as well as made it easier to distribute ad spend across multiple podcasts at the same time. 

These new tools also gave podcasters more control over their monetization potential. Within the AdCollab creator portal, podcasters can instantly see a list of all of the brands that are interested in working with them. The portal also enabled podcasters to instantly accept or reject brand proposals and allowed them to connect directly with advertisers to immediately begin planning the production. With this improved visibility, podcasters can easily identify and act on more opportunities to earn money and grow from their craft.

Improving Monetization Potential for Podcasters

Since launching in 2014, Acast has always been for the podcasters – for without podcasters there would be no podcasts. Everything we do is with the intent of discovering new innovative ways for podcasters to make more money from their craft. In fact, since 2014 we have paid $300 million directly into the pockets of our creators.

So just like everything else at Acast, the self-serve podcast advertising platform has been built with creators at the heart of it. It’s a simple fact of supply and demand that by creating more opportunities for more new advertisers to engage with the medium and more ways for more long time buyers to invest, Acast is in turn making it possible for more podcasters to earn more money. 

In fact, since expanding the platform to allow advertisers to buy host-read sponsorships, nearly 40% of podcasters who have been requested to work with had never previously worked with advertisers before.

Looking Ahead

With one year of Acast’s self-serve podcast advertising platform squarely in the rearview, we have many learnings to carry with us on the road ahead. As we look to 2024 and beyond, discovering more ways to improve buying and planning efficiencies for advertisers while also increasing scale remains top of mind. 

Additionally, we’re continuing to unlock new ways to leverage AI and improve our tech capabilities that allow more podcasters to be discovered by advertisers and media buyers. By continuing to automate the discovery process, Acast will lead the industry in reducing media bias and therefore create more potential for more niche podcasts to earn more money from their craft.

To learn more about how to reach podcast audiences with your brand message through Acast’s self-serve advertising platform, please visit:

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