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The Benefits of Dynamic Ad Insertion 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
July 27, 2023

Dynamic ad insertion (or DAI) is fast becoming the standard in the podcast industry for delivering advertising messages within podcast episodes. And for good reason: DAI is a win-win-win for podcast advertisers, podcasters and listeners.

In this article, we will explore what dynamic ad insertion is and the advantages it brings to the table.

What is Dynamic Ad Insertion for Podcasts?

The old fashioned way of advertising in podcasts was something called "baked-in ads", meaning the audio for the advert is an inseparable part of the podcast episode audio. Baked-in ads are therefore static and can’t easily be removed or changed once the episode has published.

You’ll see where this becomes a problem for advertisers, creators and listeners; because if you clicked play on a episode from five years ago and there was a baked-in ad for Squarespace with a discount code that’s now expired, that’s not helpful for anyone. The ad is no longer relevant for the listener, the podcaster isn’t getting paid for that old ad, and the advertiser doesn’t get the sale, or worse, frustrates the customer.

Dynamic ad insertion changes all that. The word “Dynamic” is characterized by change, activity, or progress. And when we apply that to podcast ads, we can quickly and easily change audio files to suit the requirements of the advertiser and podcaster.

With dynamic ad insertion, podcasters have the flexibility to choose exactly where ads play in their podcast content, which means advertisers’ ads can be placed in the right podcasts, at the right time, across a show’s entire back catalogue. Thinking back to our example of listening to a five year old episode, if dynamically inserted ads were in action, you’d instead hear a relevant ad from a current live campaign — making for a better experience for all parties.

Once a campaign finishes, ads will be removed or new podcast ads can be inserted which keeps the content fresh and an improved listening experience for the listener.

Dynamic ad insertion works for both host-read ads, pre-recorded ads, and even some branded content ad products like Sponsored Stories available through Acast.

A good analogy for baked-in ads vs dynamic ad insertion is comparing a print newspaper ad to an ad you see on a news website. Ads in newspapers can’t change and remain in place, whereas ads on a news website change all the time and are specifically tailored to the person visiting the website.

For podcasters, Acast also offers podcasters the ability to add dynamic content that’s editorial, for example an intro or outro that will play across all their episodes — perfect for situations such as promoting a live show and they want people listening to old episodes to know about.

The Benefits of Dynamic Ad Insertion

Even by the definition of dynamic ad insertion you should be getting an idea of the advantages the technology offers advertisers, but let’s unpack it further to really drive home why DAI reigns supreme in podcast advertising

1. Reach a Podcast’s Full Audience

One advantage of dynamic ad insertion is that advertisers can reach a podcast’s full audience, no matter what episode the listener hits play on. Having your ad play across a show’s entire back catalog is important because consumption of podcasts isn’t just listening to the latest episode. Many popular podcasts have rich catalogs of episode content that new and old listeners will keep returning to, so you won’t want to leave impressions on the table if someone is having a relisten of Sweet Bobby.

2. Scalable and Targeted Advertising

Dynamic insertion also paves the way for scalable and targeted podcast advertising. With baked-in podcast ads, it was essentially impossible to run large campaigns across mulitple shows or buy audience segments at scale, but this now happens hundreds of thousands times a day thanks to DAI. Advertisers can target their ideal audience through ad networks like Acast, and deliver targeted advertising to those specific groups of listeners.

3. Ad Flexibility

When something is dynamic, it’s also flexible. For podcasters on Aacst, Dynamic ad insertion allows them to define the specific points (called ‘ad slots’ or 'ad spots’) in the episode where ads will play, defining the pre-roll, mid-roll, and post-roll ads. No more surprises for listeners when an ad suddenly interrupts their show, as the podcaster can signal there’s an ad break coming up.

Ad networks like Acast also allow advertisers to buy audio ads at scale through programmatic advertising, something only possible with the power of dynamic ad insertion. A programmatic ad is served exactly the same way as a pre-recorded for podcasters and listeners, the only difference is the buying route; advertisers bid on ad inventory through ‘demand-side platforms’ (DSPs) and ‘supply-side platforms’ (SSPs).

4. Real-Time Budget and Creative Control

Dynamic ad insertion provides real-time ad management capabilities. This means that podcasters can easily monitor the performance of their ads and make adjustments as needed. If an ad is not resonating with listeners, podcasters can quickly replace it with a more effective one, resulting in a higher return on investment for advertisers.

There’s also greater transparency of costs and budgets. CPM (cost per thousand) pricing for podcast ads usually falls between $15 and $50 or even higher. However, the cost of dynamic ad insertion can vary, depending on your targeting and ad products. Despite this, using dynamic ad insertion technology allows advertisers to forecast their impressions and costs to manage their budgets. At Acast, we’re able to more accurately track campaign performance aligned with IAB podcast measurement guidelines.

5. Seamless User Experience

Dynamically inserted ads ensure a seamless user experience for podcast listeners. By updating ads without altering the entire episode, listeners will not be subjected to repetitive or outdated content. This enhances the overall listening experience and increases the likelihood of engagement with the ads.

Dynamic Ad Insertion with Acast

As pioneers of dynamic ad insertion in podcasting, you won’t be surprised to hear that we’re devoted evangelists to this clever technology, precisely because of the benefits it offers advertisers, podcasters, and listeners as outlined above. That’s why almost all of our advertising products (with the exception of some branded content/episodes) are dynamically inserted into content on our podcast network.

Both of the main podcast ad formats — pre-recorded ads and host-read sponsorships — are dynamically inserted when you advertise through Acast. That means when you set up your podcast ad campaign through our self-serve ad platform or directly through our ad sales team, your commercial messages will be served in the relevant podcasts, at the right time and across the podcast’s entire catalog of episodes.

As we’re platform agnostic and support the open podcast ecosystem, advertising with Acast allows you to reach listeners on whatever listening app they’re using, including Spotify, Apple Podcasts, Amazon Music, and every other app.

Start a Podcast Ad Campaign with Acast today

You can start advertising on podcasts with Acast today building your ad campaign using our self-serve platform — where you can create campaigns for both pre-recorded ads and host-read sponsorships.

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