Ad Tech Will Shape the Future of Podcasts

AdMonsters Wrapper: The weekly ad tech news wrap up
This Week
March 02, 2021
Podcasts' Future Depends On AdTech
Nielsen Releases Cookieless ID
What Else We're Reading
Ad Tech Will Shape the Future of Podcasts
While having a podcast host read ads on air has long been standard promotional practice in the industry, podcast networks are increasingly buying ad tech companies and incorporating programmatic platforms into their strategies.

In July, SiriusXM Holdings Inc. acquired podcast ad sales company Midroll Media. In November, Spotify Technology SA purchased podcasting/ad tech company Megaphone. Spotify’s Audience Network, meanwhile, ensures advertisers that “The future of podcast advertising is addressable, scalable, and insights-rich.”

And just last week, iHeartMedia announced its acquisition of Triton Digital, an audio ad tech that they hope will attract more buyers who are used to advanced targeting and measurement capabilities that podcasting has long lacked, for $230 mil.
Why This Matters
All of this news is enough to ask: is content really still king?

Consider Spotify’s acquisition of Megaphone, which both hosts podcasts and provides programmatic solutions, as the future of podcasting. The Spotify Ad Studio will also offer podcasts, including many Spotify originals, and is still beta testing.

But the allure of originals and exclusive content isn’t so much the content itself, chief data officer and president of revenue strategies at iHeart Brian Kaminsky told Verge. He said that iHeart’s acquisition of Triton Digital will allow iHeart to create what is essentially Google Ad Manager for audio, “where advertisers can be paired with all kinds of audio programming to meet their goals.”

Monetizing podcasts with ad tech is not without its challenges — fragmentation issues similar to those being faced by CTV remain to be solved, and it remains unclear how consent-based identity solutions like Apple’s IDFA will affect programmatic's ability to scale in the audio realm.

NYT also notes that corporate acquisitions, and incentivization for platforms to prioritize their exclusive podcasts, “has intensified concerns that podcasts from underrepresented groups could enjoy less promotion, find fewer listeners and collect less advertising revenue — a vicious cycle that would repeat many of the failings of the old media model.”

Ultimately this boom could be good news for pubs, many of whom saw greater revenue increases selling podcasts directly to advertisers than platforms during the height of the pandemic.
Nielsen Releases Its Cookieless ID for Cross-Platform Integration
Last month, Nielsen released Identity Sync, its cross-platform ID solution for measuring campaigns across platforms. Ad Exchanger notes that the ID, which uses first-party context acquired directly from publishers and advertisers “serves the function of a pixel without actually being a pixel.”

The solution allows Neilsen to make use of multiple non-cookie IDs across devices and platforms, then merge them together to create a unified audience snapshot for pubs and advertisers hoping to convert prospects.
Why This Matters
Identity Sync’s cross-platform application is enticing but likely won’t give Neilsen the dominance in the space that its announcement suggests.

As LiveIntent’s CMO Kerel Cooper told Ad Monster’s Lynne d Johnson late last month, it’s likely that there will not just be one ID to rule them all. While he professed to being a big fan of Unified ID 2.0, he also acknowledged that brands and publishers will only thrive in a privacy-first landscape by adopting, and experimenting with, different solutions “in order to land on a framework that allows them to bring targeting, attribution, measurement, and optimization to their campaigns irrespective of device, channel or platform.”

All told, we wholeheartedly embrace this “Portfolio Vision” approach — weighing your ID options is good. Not all universal IDs are created equally. What’s more, not every pub is able to scale its first-party data strategy to the point where advertisers will be satisfied. And even when they do provide that data, it might not prove as rich and revelatory to the user as pubs and brands might hope.
What Else We're Reading
  • TV data and measurement company Alphonso is rebranding to LG, creating CTV media and measurement platform (AdWeek)
  • Is CTV losing share to mobile? (AdvancedTVInsider)
  • US District Judge Lucy Koh is terribly disturbed by Google's tracking practices on Chrome Incognito (yahoo!news)
  • Comscore and Omnicom expand partnership to provide privacy-safe e-commerce and audience behavioral data to Omni, the marketing operating system that supports Omnicom's global network of agencies (Press Release)
  • Gannet has NY Times-sized subscriber aspirations, going after 10 milli in 5 years (USA Today)
Sweet Tweet
I have a probabilistic identifier for you and that’s okay because it’s totally pinky-promise not a fingerprint (cc @slayser8).
Worth a Listen
Clubhouse and the Social Audio Movement: The Good, the Bad and the Others
eMarketer principal analysts Debra Aho Williamson and Jeremy Goldman, and forecasting analyst at Insider Intelligence Peter Vahle discuss the audio social network movement: the advantages, disadvantages, key players, and what marketers should consider.
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