Two new podcasting ad networks — Kiptronic and Podtrac — launched this week, leading what’s expected to be a growing field of entrants into the space this year.
Podtrac developed its network with a focus on making advertising on podcasts easy and familiar, Mark McCrery, Podtrac’s co-founder and CEO, told ClickZ News. To do this, the company began in November by introducing a third-party audience measurement service for podcasts. Podtrac continued developing its infrastructure in December with the addition of demographic profiles and media kits, developed in partnership with custom research firms TNS Global and MediaMark, familiar to many advertisers for their work with print and broadcast media.
This week, Podtrac began selling ad space on individual podcasts in its network, and across multiple podcasts in a category. It also launched an auction for three top podcasts, including technology-focused This Week in Technology and entertainment-oriented MuggleCast and Josh & Japan.
“Advertisers need predictability to plan their media costs, and podcasters need predictability on the revenue side,” McCrery said. “Both Podtrac’s individual podcast advertising buys and podcast advertising auction will assist the market in determining the ad rates for podcasting, which is a market barrier to date, because podcasters and advertisers can not plan advertising, revenues, or expenses without rates.”
McCrery said Podtrac has signed hundreds of top-ranked podcasts to its network, and has made deals to sell ads on podcasts belonging to the Association of Music Podcasting, Technology Podcast Network, and the Teen Podcast Network.
Advertisers can opt to upload pre-recorded 10-second spots, or a script for a host-read spot, which will appear within the first 90 seconds of the podcast. A longer, 30-second spot could be inserted at the end of the podcast. For video podcasts, Podtrac is also offering some product-placement opportunities. Podcasters have veto power over any ad submitted for their content.
“Advertisers are looking at podcasting as a way to reach consumers that are difficult to reach with traditional media,” McCrery said. “To find the right podcast for an advertiser provides a compelling messaging environment for an advertiser’s brand.”
Kiptronic this week also unveiled its podcast ad marketplace, with an auction-based model. The centralized exchange allows marketers to place and manage multiple ads across podcasts in Kiptronic’s network, with targeting by podcast topics, or geography.
Advertisers can upload pre-recorded audio spots, or upload a script to be read by the podcaster. The system provides a workflow for advertisers and podcasters to mutually approve of these spoken-word endorsements before they air. The ads are inserted dynamically, so ads can be sold on a CPM basis, or for a flat fee per week, and then replaced once an advertiser’s campaign is fulfilled.
“Kiptronic is trying to bring podcast sponsorship to as many podcasters as possible by lowering all of the barriers to entry,” Jonathan Cobb, founder and chief executive, told ClickZ News. “We get the ads into podcasts, meeting all the needs of podcasters and advertisers. We also lower the ‘search barrier,’ providing a place where podcasters can make available all the relevant marketing information, and where advertisers can find relevant podcasts to advertise on.”
Kiptronic’s ad server places ads at the time the podcast is downloaded, matching the downloader’s IP-based geography and time of day with any campaigns currently running on that podcast. The ads’ are inserted into the podcast without modifying the original MP3 file, currently at the beginning or end, but soon to be inserted at specified points within the content. Cobb said.
Kiptronic struck a deal with podcast distribution company Liberated Syndication, which hosts and distributes more than 2,600 podcasts. It also signed on podcast publishing networks IndieFeed and Radio Memories Network. Acoustica, an audio and music recording software company, and the Independent Online Distribution Alliance, have signed on as advertisers at launch.
Kiptronic is reaching out to advertisers via online ads, mainly Google AdSense and some regional sites. The company also has an in-house sales team calling on large advertisers. So far, podcast advertising has been most appealing to technology companies looking to reach early adopters, and to lifestyle brands, but Cobb hopes that bringing local targeting and dynamic ad insertion to podcasts will allow Kiptronic to expand beyond those categories.
Several players, including Podtrac and Kiptronic, announced their intentions to enter the podcast advertising space in November, during or immediately following the Portable Media Expo in Ontario, Calif. One of the biggest was Audible, which launched a beta version of AudibleWordcast, a set of ad insertion and measurement tools.
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