By Lindsay Shelton Strategic Partnerships Manager at A Million Ads
For publishers and advertisers alike, podcasts have grown in importance over the past twelve months to become one of the most exciting and effective market channels available today.
When the world was forced to work from home last year both the number of podcast creators and the size of the global listening audience grew rapidly. Recent figures from IAB UK show that the digital audio ad market grew by 17% year-on-year, while media spending on podcasts alone rocketed by a massive 43%.
Podcasts offer a variety of attractive qualities from an advertiser’s perspective. Firstly, people tend to listen to podcasts in a fully engaged way, at a time of their choosing and when they are free from other distractions. As podcast listeners have made an active choice to be there, we can also reasonably assume that they are interested in the subject or theme of the podcast, providing advertisers with valuable contextual clues they can use to feed into their ad creative. What’s more, there is content out there for everybody – whether listeners are interested in true crime, sport, wellness, finance, or any other niche.
Podcasts also tend to develop a loyal following with podcast hosts often becoming key influencers to their listener base. For this reason, host-read ads have become a common feature of the podcast experience. Podcast hosts are able to serve their audience with a tone of voice they’re familiar with and not break up the podcast experience like a standard ad might. As a result, more people continue to listen and engage with podcasts as it is such a strong ‘lean in’ environment.
Trusted host + dynamic personalised ads = engaged listeners
As with other audio channels, one of the biggest mistakes brands can make with podcast advertising is the over-repetition of boring, generic, repetitive ads or similarly annoying people by interrupting them with an irrelevant ad. Studies have shown consistently that the thing consumers dislike most in relation to advertising is the constant, repetitive use of the same ad.
A Million Ads recently conducted consumer research* for its latest report The Power of Personalisation which revealed that more than three-quarters of consumers are turned off by repetitive ads. In addition, more than half (51.9%) of respondents told us they are more likely to purchase a product or service after having seen or heard a personalised ad.
Dynamic advertising is capable of drawing on a wide range of current data points, including location, time of day, audience demographics, local weather conditions and any other relevant campaign information to personalise podcast ads for listeners. By using this information for advertising, brands can create closer connections with consumers based on their current needs and contexts. Dynamic enables brands to adapt their creative in real-time to things that consumers are experiencing.
For this reason, we believe that dynamic host-read ads are the future for podcast advertising. Not only can these immersive ads adapt to match the content of the listener’s podcast, they can detect the listener’s preferences and other real-time contextual information to instantly create and serve a tailor-made ad to each listener. This gives advertisers the chance to create ads that listeners actually enjoy while simultaneously combating ad fatigue.
Advertising in context
In simple terms, dynamic host-read podcast ads can be automatically personalised and made highly relevant to the listener. For example, if someone is listening on a Monday morning, they’re going to hear a different ad from the one they would hear on a Thursday afternoon.
This format allows complete alignment of a brand’s message and the content of the podcast or the interests of the host. Alongside dynamic host-read ads, there is the possibility of doing Dynamic Host Contribution: ‘blended host-read ads’, where a branded voiceover interacts with the host. This capability offers the same opportunities to scale as dynamic ads and is able to combine the host’s personality with the sonic branding while ensuring consistent ad experiences across platforms.
At A Million Ads, for example, we just launched a dynamic host-read ad campaign with a leading financial brand, media agency PHD and Acast, the world’s largest podcast company. The campaign uses two different hosts and taps into location and other contextual data points to deliver a truly localised feel depending on the area where the user is listening.
While it’s still early days for dynamic host-read ads, we expect to see more and more brands jump on the dynamic host-read ads bandwagon. If your brand is considering the use of host-read podcast ads, it’s time to go one step further and unlock the power of personalisation.
*In collaboration with research company Attest, A Million Ads interviewed 300 marketers (150 in the UK and 150 in the US) on their current perceptions and use of personalization and dynamic advertising. We also interviewed 2,000 consumers across the UK (1,000) and US (1,000) on their preference and use of personalized advertising. The stats referenced in the body of the report are aggregate numbers of UK & US responses.