Podcasting ad network Podtrac has released a planning tool designed to aid marketers in raking together sensible buys from the sprawling universe of video and audio podcasts. The free Web-based service lets advertisers quickly research the audiences of 4,000 podcasts and compile lists of preferred shows on which they'd like to advertise.
The tool is indexed to MRI's "Survey of the American Consumer" and lets advertisers search podcasts by content, demographics or keyword, and sort by reach and demographic fit. They can also create lists of desired podcasts and, of course, buy media from those that are represented by Podtrac.
The data comes in part from surveys Podtrac has conducted with 70,000 podcast listeners and viewers.
Podtrac CEO and Co-founder Mark McCrery argues there's a need for accurate research tools to measure podcasts, not just because their audiences are little understood but also because ads are more closely aligned with content.
"Audio and video ads are by nature intrusive," he told ClickZ News. "An advertiser is closely associated with the content. There's a tacit endorsement; it has to be the right content."
And because podcasting is serialized by nature, he said it comes with a high level of predictability in pinning down the frequency and composition of the audience.
Podtrac places two ads in each user-streamed podcast. A :10 or :15 spot appears in the first 90 seconds of programming, after the show's introduction, and a :30 spot is placed near the end. In the year since its launch, advertisers including Dell, HBO, Honda and Visa have placed buys with the company.
"We see this as the next step in the maturation process [of podcasting]," said Paul Gold, VP of market solutions for indexing partner MRI. "As the planning becomes easier, people will gravitate to it."
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Until March 2012, Zach Rodgers was managing editor of ClickZ's award-winning coverage of news and trends in digital marketing. He reported on the rise of web companies, data markets, ad technologies, and government Internet policy, among other subjects.