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Why enhanced segment targeting is important in any podcast advertising strategy

February 22, 2022

By Garrison Dua, VP of Demand at AdsWizz

As of December 2021, over two million podcasts were available globally for listening and downloading. With the growth of podcasts, more content creators are finding unique ways to create a dialogue with their audience, however niche the topic. The stellar growth of podcast listenership is equaled in terms of ad spend—AA/WARC predicted global audio advertising spend on podcasts will reach $1.6bn by end of 2022. But in order for advertisers to successfully tap into this huge market, podcast advertising needs to become more targeted at the episode level, rather than on a general genre basis.

Targeting has traditionally been tricky in the podcast space as podcasts are divided into broad categories based on genre (e.g. comedy, music, sports, etc.), which don’t fully reflect the niche topics covered across each show and even each episode.

As more podcast categories are created, fewer opportunities become available for advertisers to identify general podcasts, hence why podcasts need to be categorized at the episode level to be precisely targeted.

For instance, the widely popular podcast 'Stuff You Should Know', hosted by Josh Clark and Chuck Bryant appears in the broad category “society and culture”, but each episode covers different topics from Christmas cards to the Nobel Peace Prize. With this type of podcast, advertisers could be missing valuable opportunities targeting by genre instead of by episode, which would be more accurate.

Context is king in audio advertising

For advertisers, finding the right information on podcasts for targeting is crucial to ensure there is a match between the content and the ad. This helps, not only to offer a seamless and relevant listening experience for podcast aficionados, but also by preventing the brand from being associated with controversial content, causing listeners to shift away, not just from the podcast, but worse - the brand itself.

Advertisers are used to not being able to reach podcast listeners at scale, often having to create campaigns on a show-by-show basis, which does not take into account each component of the podcast. The category matter isn't the only thing that matters; the tone and guests, along with the time, place, and mood of the listener determine the likeliness of an ad receiving its due attention and active engagement.

However, with the current contextual targeting solutions, brands now have the ability to access precise, accurate, and extensive information on podcast and context, enhancing both targeting and brand safety at scale.

How does enhanced targeting work?

Listening to each podcast, let alone each episode, is not a viable option; but with AI transcription technology and automated categorization, solutions have been created to transcribe these conversations from audio to text, giving advertisers the capacity to target listeners by keywords, concepts, topics, and interests within podcasts. This way, advertisers can now ensure they are aware of the essence of the content, and the overall tone of the conversation held during each episode. The in-depth analysis leveraged from the targeting solutions empowers advertisers to pick the most fit-to-purpose ads, in a transparent way.

If used correctly, targeted segmentation means that there is no more frustration from listeners hearing an ad that is completely irrelevant to them or the podcast they are listening to. For the brand, having access to insights from several episodes will give them a better opportunity to target their preferred audience more precisely to deliver ads that are tailored to them, giving listeners the feeling that the ad content is as personal to them as the show they enjoy.

When listeners feel like the ad content is targeted specifically to them, engagement and response rates go up. According to the Super Listeners 2021 report, 76% of podcast listeners stated they’ve taken action after hearing a podcast ad, which could include visiting a site, making a purchase, or taking out a subscription.

Being able to identify which device your audience is listening on, the time, date, and location where the listening is taking place, among other key metrics, are major assets that advertisers can use to personalize their audio ads. Technology can also assist in analyzing the moods that influence purchase interest. With these details on your listener, you do not only present an ad tailored to your audience, making them more inclined to respond and engage, but you also offer a prolongation of the content they came for–content that is perceived as informative, non-intrusive, and ideally as a discoverability tool.

To achieve such great results with podcast ads, advertising professionals must go beyond traditional targeting parameters to make decisions not only upon the insights on podcast listeners, but also on enhanced targeting metrics based on podcast niche categories.

Activating brand safety with granular information

Podcasts have been in the limelight recently, with major headlines related to the controversy surrounding Joe Rogan, famous host of the podcast 'The Joe Rogan Experience', who has been accused of spreading misinformation on Covid-19 vaccines in a recent episode. Despite the controversial episode, the Joe Rogan saga is the perfect example of a podcast series that would normally be seen as unsafe, but actually covers a wide variety of topics at the episode level, covering everything from politics to criticism of the media to cage fighting, psychedelics, and even quantum mechanics. With a show format like Rogan’s, ample episode opportunities are created that brands may want to target.

Once advertisers gain access to insights on the contextual and content parameters, they are at an advantage to ensure brand safety at show and episode level, with the content of the show being transcribed and analyzed for red flags that the advertisers can tap into in a brand-safe manner.

Targeting solutions exist today that have the capability to generate show level transparency reports, putting safety one step ahead for brands for whom transparency is a tipping point, especially those who are hesitant to enter the podcasting space.

Podcast targeting segments that are powered by AI transcription technology allow advertisers to target to or away from specific content to ensure brand safety and allow for a more contextual understanding of the content’s mood and sentiment.

As podcast advertising is set to grow in the next four to five years, it is critical for advertisers to reach efficiency to scale in a brand-safe environment. Advertisers have the capacity to develop a better understanding of this unique market and take advantage of its opportunities, provided they arm themselves with fit-to-purpose technology solutions harnessing the power of audio.

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