Podcast Advertising: It’s A Proven Model

In this five-part series I’m covering the five factors that are driving podcast advertising which Midroll’s head of sales Lex Friedman outlined on The Wolf Den podcast. The first factor–covered in the previous post–is an influx of new, “offline” advertisers.

The second factor is that podcast ads simply perform. As Lex explains, that’s why new companies, like “offline” advertisers, are coming to the medium. Evidence for this performance comes from the success of the pioneering advertisers in the space.

“We were very lucky that direct response advertisers—that’s advertisers who really want to see a direct attributable sale tied specifically to a given ad, typically tracked by an offer code or a vanity URL—they’ve really proven out the model for us ore than anybody else,” Lex says.

The names of these early adopters, like LegalZoom and Squarespace, should be familiar to any podcast listener. But tech companies like Smile Software and Igloo Software have also found a positive return-on-investment advertising with Midroll podcasts, as have consumer product brands like Sock Cardigan.

Still, as the medium matures there is a need to improve listener metrics.

“Right now, it’s hard to measure,” Lex says. “The only thing we can report to advertisers is how many times an episode of a show was downloaded. On Comedy Bang! Bang! I can guarantee you it’s going to get downloaded 200,000 times, but I can’t guarantee you it’s going to get heard by 200,000.”

Importantly, “The download number translates to listener numbers pretty formulaically, we just don’t know the formula. Even though we’re not selling a direct listen number, it’s comparable and proportional to the performance we’ll see,” with a campaign.

The proven success of companies like Squarespace and Igloo helps make new advertisers more comfortable with relying on download numbers. Nevertheless, new measurements will help broaden the market for podcast advertising. We’ll take that up in the next post of the series.

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