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An Ad Age Original VIDEO NEWS Feature

AD:TECH LOOKS AT PODCAST ADVERTISING

Despite Small Audience, Major Marketers Are Already Buying

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NEW YORK (AdAge.com) -- Podcasting, last year so nascent a technology that few marketers had even heard about it, is this year a topic of avid interest, being tested by marketers as mainstream as Volvo, General Motors Corp. and Warner Bros.
Dave Goodman, president of marketing at Infinity Broadcasting was one of three panels discussing podcast advertising. See a five minute video excerpt of the session.
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The new medium that combines the audio format of radio with the download and global distributon capabilities of the Internet and iPod/MP3 players was the subject of an Ad:Tech session entitled "Podcasting's Future in the Marketing Mix."

Infant field
Podcast content ranges from slick programs developed by professional radio stations to kitchen table banter recorded by individuals. The use of advertising in podcasts is a field in its infancy, but it's marked by one clear tactic: Avoid being intrusive so as not to upset what is generally a small but very targeted audience, said panelists.

“People like ads, they don’t like interruptions,” said David Goodman, president-marketing at Infinity Broadcasting.

One ad technique that seems to work well is the solo sponsorship, said Anna Papadopoulos, interactive media director at Euro RSCG. Her client, Volvo, uses the tactic. What seems to work best is the “PBS-type model” of mentioning the sponsor at the beginning and/or at the end of the podcast, she said.

30-second ads
Cailin Pitcher, senior marketing manager of Web-based software firm Citrix Online, said she seeks out podcasting networks, like Odio, to place ads on podcasts with an audience that would be interested in Citrix’s online meeting software. “You want ads to be relevant to your audience,” she said. Ms. Pitcher runs 30-second ads.

How to measure effectiveness? Ms. Pitcher uses a direct-marketing offer, using the 30 seconds to make a pitch and offer a code for a special promotion that the consumer can key into a Web site. Then, using the code, she can follow the consumer through to conversion.

Another method of measuring is to look at what percent of total audience on a Web site downloaded the podcast. A third way is buzz, said Mr. Goodman. “It’s a very vocal audience.”

Testing is key
What ever method is used, “testing is key,” Ms. Pitcher said.

The pricing model for podcasts is “really up in the air” right now and “that’s an issue,” Mr. Goodman said. His company produces podcasting radio station KYOU in San Francisco, which offers package deals across radio and podcast channels. Most deals are flat rates, not CPMs, panelists said.

Still, the mass reach is nearly impossible to come by with podcasts. “Reach is pretty limited right now, but you’re reaching an enthusiast audience,” Ms. Papadopoulos said. She said the Volvo sponsorship on Autoblog.com reached about 120,000 people a month. Ms. Pitcher’s reach ranges from 10,000 to 100,000 monthly.

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