Influencers Are Winning Share Of Ear Metrics; Kroger Advertising Looks Outside Advertising

TikTok is a dancing fly in the FTC’s argument ointment.

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An Influx Of In-Ear Influencer Inventory

Outside of hard news and true crime, podcasting has come to be dominated by influencers.

Advertisers are increasingly trying to capitalize on internet celebrities’ and reality TV stars’ massive followings through the tried-and-true podcast marketing method of host-read ads, according to Marketing Brew.

The growing popularity of influencer-led podcast advertising has led to the proliferation of ad networks that specialize in selling influencer inventory, like Kast Media and Ramble (a joint venture between podcast company Cadence13 and the global talent agency UTA). These ad networks specialize in connecting influencers with the brands they claim to be passionate about, then help them tailor ad creative to fit the tone and feel of the podcast itself. That way, the ads come off as endorsements from influencers to their rabid fan followings.

And some podcast networks like Acast and Studio71 actively court influencers to create ad-supported podcasts.

Influencer-read ads can command big spends from marketers. A host-read ad on the LadyGang podcast, which boasts more than 100 million downloads since its 2015 premiere, can pull CPMs of up to $100, according to the show’s podcast network PodcastOne.


It seems like every store chain is getting into the ad platform business. 

Retailers are charting their own courses between third-party programmatic pipes or following the likes of Amazon, Meta and Google into full-on walled gardenhood. For now, most retailers don’t split apart their data from the ads they serve. 

Kroger is the main counterexample. Via its deal with Roku, for instance, CPG brands can attribute streaming campaigns based on Kroger loyalty sales data. The ads don’t go through Kroger Precision Marketing (KPM), the supermarket chain’s ad platform. Roku just wants to create metrics like “store sales lift in Detroit” that could be useful (and lucrative) alternatives to Nielsen ratings or other old-school metrics. 

Kroger struck a similar deal with Pinterest for its audience network. And last October, KPM released a private marketplace product so outside DSPs can layer in its sales data – again, splicing out its data to monetize separately from ad serving through tightly controlled channels (like Walmart’s arrangement with The Trade Desk) or limited to targeting ads on their own sites and apps. 

Cara Pratt, who leads the KPM segment, spoke with Ad Age about the retail ad business. 

YouTube’s Q2 Blues

YouTube fell short of expectations when Alphabet reported earnings this week. Its revenue grew a meager 14% to $6.9 billion. In Q1 last year, YouTube recorded almost 50% growth. 

Setting aside Wall Street’s overreliance on percent-based metrics (Google can add serious revenue without growing by a high percent), Alphabet still pitched YouTube as a driver of other important metrics. 

One big focus is Shorts. YouTube’s TikTok video clone has a $100 million creator fund to spur users to load more quick, trendy (which is to say, TikTok-ish) videos. Two out of five accounts paid out by the fund last year weren’t previously in the YouTube Partner Program. In other words, TikTokers opened YouTube accounts to re-list the same videos. 

YouTube’s other revenue driver is subscriptions. The subscription revenue isn’t broken out, but YouTube Music, YouTube Premium (the ad-free YouTube experience) and YouTube TV are delivering strong growth, per CFO Ruth Porat. 

Porat also warned investors to expect tougher reports in Q2, when the evaporation of commercial activity in Russia will materialize on the bottom line (since people in Russia can only easily access its clone, RUTUBE). The growth rate comparison will also be rough, she said, because Q2 2021 had a crazy-high growth rate compared to Q2 2020, the deepest quarantine quarter. 

But Wait, There’s More!

Twitch plans to revamp creator pay, focusing on ad load, ad rev-share and a smaller cut of subscriptions. [Bloomberg

Young influencers are being offered cheap cosmetic procedures in return for promotion. [NBC News]

Accenture: Consumer interest in virtual purchases and experiences intensifies. [release]

Comcast and Charter launch joint streaming venture on branded hardware and devices. [THR]

You’re Hired!

Doceree, a programmatic healthcare marketing startup, hires Anil Dobhal as global CTO. [release]

OOH agency Talon America appoints Chris Greene as CRO. [release]

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