Second, a major improvement—the ability to insert ads dynamically—became a major hit with marketers during the pandemic. Where other media had longer production and lead times, podcasting was perfect for marketers who needed to shift messaging and more timely control of ad delivery.
Lastly, listener behavior expanded to not only include the daily work commute but also to multiple listening contexts at home during COVID quarantine. A busy 2020 news cycle, typically Podcast’s top content genre, also drove increases in listenership.
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With podcasting poised for a monetization boost, experts expect the industry will pursue the following three things in earnest:
More and better tools for advertisers
While buying and measurement tools have made great strides, there’s still work to be done. Even now, there’s still too much manual work for buyers when making podcast investments at scale—things such as buying across disparate player platforms, aggregating hundreds of podcasts to achieve scale and then listening to see if the ads actually played. To streamline buying, publishers and platforms will continue to build out self-serve ad platforms and cross-platform dynamic ad insertion tools, enable the automation of audience targeting and contextualization and provide the ability to digitally insert host-read ads.
A more holistic, standardized, third-party, cross-player measurement framework
As buyers place more ad dollars in podcasting—particularly when going beyond performance campaigns and into branding—they’ll demand better measurement tools that help prove return on ad spend. New pixel-based attribution capabilities from some vendors are a good start. IAB Tech Lab’s Podcast Measurement Technical Guidelines (v2.1) offer a common language the industry can use to establish measurement standards that go beyond server-side downloads and provide a transparent, audience-based, real-time view of content, ad interaction and attribution.
A bigger and better consumer listening experience
Great strides are already being made in the development of scripted dramas, video-enabled podcasts and 3D audio podcasts. Progress is also happening with Podcast ads which are becoming more shoppable and convenient for consumers as the industry experiments with voice-activated ads that shorten the path to purchase. Experiences like these will be more appealing to listeners looking for a reprieve from staring at screens all day.
The rise of podcasting is a great example of what’s possible when the industry pulls together to set smart standards, build the right tools to make buying and measurement easier and focuses on giving consumers what they can’t get anywhere else.
Big things are ahead for podcasting. Stay tuned.