Finding people

The vast array of podcasts means advertisers have more options than ever before to reach their listeners. And for a growing number of clients, the goal has become targeting an audience, not just those who listen to a specific show.

Brett Robinson, VP of Ad Operations at National Public Media, told the IAB Reach Conference this month this means letting podcasting’s audience targeting capabilities do more of the work for advertisers. “We are encouraging brands to buy across our entire network, run of network NPR, and then layer in audience targeting to hone-in on their target customer and cut out some of the waste,” he explained. “With that approach, I think it’s been really effective because we’re able to hit the right person with the message and do so with really efficient, competitive CPMs.”

Jami Oetting, Director of Editorial Strategy for the software company Hubspot said they initially came to podcast advertising with the sponsorship of NPR’s How I Built This seeing it as a way to reach business-minded listeners. But she said they soon realized that opening up to other shows still allowed them to reach their target.

“When people are listening to something they care about, whether that’s sports or travel, music or politics, that doesn’t mean that they stop being a business professional decision-maker and we could actually reach people when they are in that frame of mind of listening to something that they really care about and introduce them to our brand then,” said Oetting. She said the move allowed Hubspot to hold its conversion rate for people who heard their spots, but by expanding to run-of-network advertising with a targeting overlay they could secure a “more efficient” CPM. “We could scale our efforts much more quickly,” said Oetting.

Elliott Woodruff, Manager of Integrated Media Planning at OMD, said for buyers, there is a growing realization that podcasts offer a “scalability” that some clients require. “You want your host-reads – you want that engagement and that authenticity – but you also need to leverage it with scale,” she said.

OMD announced in July that it will spend $20 million on podcast ads this year. “Podcasts started as a direct-to-consumer platform, and has evolved into this place where no matter whether you are a high consideration vertical like banking, insurance or tech – you can still find your niche within it, and now you can measure it,” said Woodruff. She said the ability to use pixels to tell clients how their ad performed is one of the big reasons that more marketers have embraced podcasting this year.

Other marketers are looking to podcasts for their ability to motivate their audience. “Investing in audio advertising is part of finding our overall media mix,” said Oetting. “Audio has been a way for us to reach new audiences who are active and engaged listeners – and we can do that and remove some of the levels of influence that you had to guess at in the past with podcast attribution tools. We’re now able to understand that reach and also how our ads are driving visitors to our website.”