Magellan AI recently released their updated “Podscape” - a map that outlines some of the major players across the podcast landscape. At first glance, this might seem overwhelming. This map showcases the ever-growing popularity of podcasts. As one of the only media channels that continues to see significant YOY growth - currently 15%+ downloads from 2019-2020 - it’s no wonder that so many companies are investing in expanding their podcast capabilities. To help you navigate, Code3 is breaking down the 3 most important sections of this chart.
Some clients think “if I want to buy a podcast ad, I just reach out to the podcast directly to coordinate this”. You could (for some titles) attempt this - but as you can see from this podscape, there are many different ways to advertise and have your brand show up in a podcast. The majority of podcasts with decent audience sizes (20k+ downloads per episode) are represented by a publisher or publisher network. That means while you can listen to the podcast on a variety of platforms like Apple, Spotify, Google Podcasts, etc., you can only purchase an ad through the publisher that represents or owns the content. Podcast-focused publishers are those that specialize in podcasts and creating content themselves while the Rep Firms section may just represent the podcast for advertising. This map also indicates broadcast and diversified publishers, meaning these companies have other main media platforms, with podcasts as an extension of their core media platform. Programmatic represents the audience-first approach, where advertisers select the desired target audience rather than the specific podcast to advertise in, and inventory can also be remnant inventory available for purchase on DSPs.
While this section has several partners that can assist with planning and buying podcasts - it is not all inclusive. Any of the agency partners listed (and more) or even the sales partners listed can work with you to plan and buy podcasts. This section does offer several partners where you could book everything directly online. Red Circle, for example, allows you to search for podcasts by filtering certain criteria (audience size, podcast topic or genre, CPM) and you can book directly on the site by selecting your desired flight dates. This does not allow you to negotiate CPMs, request competitive separation, or ask any additional questions before booking. Often we find (at Code3) that these are critical planning factors - and require more questions and clarity prior to booking an ad. If you’re looking for a quick way and easy to advertise, this is a suitable option for an initial test. However, if you’re looking for more in depth strategy, the right audience, negotiated rates, and podcast options across several publisher partners for a more robust campaign or initial test, it’s best to work with a planning and buying partner who can do it all and has experience across many different buying methods and partners (like us!).
One of the most exciting parts about podcast advertising is that we now have the ability to track and measure online activity post ad exposure. As you can see from the map, there are a lot of ways to get information about podcast data. Charts and Rankers are helpful when determining audience size of podcasts, popular genres, and established publisher partners. While competitive intelligence is important, brands can use a variety of free tools including Really Good Podcast Ads or even looking at podcast episode descriptions to find this information themselves. Arguably the most important sub-section of this is Attribution. These are the partners that can track impressions, households, spend, conversions, site traffic, CVR, and more. Knowing these metrics is critical for brands to see the direct impact of their advertising dollars in podcasts.
Podcast advertising is a jungle that continues to expand. As the channel grows in popularity, there are new publishers, new podcasts, and new data companies popping up and entering the space. As a marketer, it can be challenging to know the differences between these companies and how all of the pieces work together. At Code3, we have a dedicated audio team that has relationships with all of these partners, is up to date on industry trends, has best practices and extensive data and learnings from 2019-2020, and can help navigate this “podscape” for you and with you. We sort through each of these partners as well as through their podcasts to develop strategic, full-funnel audio proposals for our clients. We negotiate CPMs, provide rationale behind our title selections and work closely with our brand partners to create impactful plans that will drive the desired KPIs.
If your brand is interested in learning more about podcast advertising, Code3 would love to help you navigate the podscape. Get in touch to learn more about audio advertising opportunities.