Podcast Advertising Pokes Around in Programmatic

programmatic podcastsAdvertisers are waking up to the popularity of podcasts among their consumers.

PodWave, the first programmatic marketplace created exclusively for podcast advertisers, was launched Wednesday by digital audio vendor AdsWizz and National Public Media (NPM), National Public Radio’s sponsorship sales arm.

Despite the growing popularity of podcasts in recent years (Edison Research said in January that podcasts garner 56 million monthly listeners in the US), podcast advertising has been difficult to scale. That’s because most sponsorship deals are premium and private. It’s also tough to measure beyond the unrevealing download metric, as many listeners tune in on demand.

PodWave introduces that much-needed scale, however.

“Podcasters that use AdsWizz’s server-side solution are able to insert one-to-one targeted ads, regardless of the service or device,” said Alexis van de Wyer, CEO of AdsWizz. That includes podcasts syndicated to streaming platforms like Pandora and Spotify.

PodWave hooks into a number of third-party DSPs and houses inventory from premium publishers and aggregators. Publishers will provide inventory through AdsWizz’s SSP.

AdsWizz declined to name these partners.

Units in the PodWave marketplace will be produced by NPM and adhere to its audio ad guidelines, which were designed to enhance the podcast listening experience on NPR and its affiliates.

“Spots will be unique to each brand and [its] audience,” said Bryan Moffatt, general manager of NPM. “Our sales team will work directly with PodWave clients on language and we have established a pool of talented voice-over artists to make spots sound great for podcasts listeners.”

These spots will not be host-read, but rather pre-recorded segments that can fit easily into any podcast listening experience, Moffatt confirmed.

Using dynamic ad insertion, advertisers who buy on PodWave can target audiences based on first- and third-party data, as well as location, device, demos and podcast subject matter. Ads will be inserted in pre-, mid- and post-roll positions.

“The publishers themselves determine the best locations for mid-roll ad breaks to ensure a good listener experience,” van de Wyer said.

PodWave promises to provide marketers with detailed metrics on the success of their spots, including impressions delivered and listen-through rates for streaming podcasts, van de Wyer said.

NPR recently released a series of measurement guidelines to help advertisers better quantify how many people listened to a podcast post-download, including techniques to filter out bots and non-listeners and count unique downloads. It still needs to be adopted throughout the industry by major digital audio players, however.

While PodWave is the first podcast-only marketplace, Adswizz also has a programmatic digital audio exchange called Adwave. Triton Digital also has a digital audio ad exchange called a2x, and there’s a UK-based audio market called DAX.

Updated to include information on Adwave. 

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