In Short Episodes, Podcast Ad Overload is Real


PodMov Daily: Thursday, May 12

Episode 644: Your Thursday Podthoughts

In Short Episodes, Podcast Ad Overload is Real

NPR’s enthusiastic presentation at the IAB Podcast Upfronts yesterday still urged caution. In Ear Worthy, Frank Racioppi notes that ad load is a delicate line too often overlooked. Gina Garrubbo, President and CEO of NPR’s sales arm National Public Media, said that short episodes are especially vulnerable.

“Their point was simple but effective,” Racioppi says. “Too many ads encourage listeners to skip ads, while a reasonable amount of ad time encourages listeners to listen to — and pay attention to — the ads presented during a podcast episode.” NPR chose not to increase ad load in Q1 to maintain balance.

In March, the latest Super Listeners Study from Edison Research indicated that ads haven’t yet ruined podcasting. However, Tom Webster did warn that “podcasting is picking up speed in a dangerous turn.” His recommendation was in line with NPR yesterday: If you’re going to have ads, make ‘em good.

Ear Reset: How to Avoid a Formulaic Sound

“I can’t tell you how many times people have told me with disdain ‘I’m sick of how formulaic podcasts have become,’” writes Rob Rosenthal of Transom. Over the past two or three years, these complaints have focused on the same kinds of melodramatic stories with “cheesy and predictable” sound design and scoring.

Rosenthal may have a solution (“or, at least, a way to help a little bit”) around that last element: Listening to sound art. There’s a “whole constellation” of approaches that podcasts often overlook, he says. “Even if it’s not your cup of tea, just dropping into that world for a few hours from time to time will open your ears.”

Sound walks are another form of sonic creativity that inspires the unexpected. To start, Rosenthal recommends listening to the work of Hildegard Westerkamp: “I’ve always found her inspiring and ear-catching.” Once podcasters focus on a variety of real sounds, the limitations of imitation become clear.

Discover the Power of Podcast Audiences

For today’s media buyers, broad reach and targeting capabilities are essential to make every advertising dollar work harder. Audience targeting for audio and podcast streaming now rivals the rest of the digital world, giving marketers access to the best methods, platforms, and data solutions.

Engaging audiences with precision and scale, based on their behaviors and at their passion points, is key. Omer Jilani, Claritas’ podcast and streaming expert, digs deeper in a recent panel webinar. Audacy’s Insight Series: The Power of Audiences reveals today’s best practices for measurement, attribution, and more.

In a rapidly changing industry, every impactful media buy is audience-powered. Ready to learn more about reducing risk and improving campaign ROI? Claritas knows podcast audiences – and how to engage them – from the inside out.

Force has no place where there is need of skill.

Here's what else is going on:

  • Fresh faces: Applications are now open for AIR’s New Voices 2022, an acclaimed accelerator program for early-career talent in audio storytelling. Next Thursday, May 19, AIR will hold an info session about the 5-month virtual program and application process. The deadline is May 25.
  • Same here: Podcast satisfaction peaked in 2016 and has steadily declined, according to Rephonic. Based on Apple Podcasts reviews since 2005, listeners have been particularly hard on older and larger shows. Increased ad load and polarizing content may have something to do with it.
  • Present tense: YouTube has begun beta testing a channel memberships gifting feature, weeks after expanding Super Thanks tipping capabilities. Allowing users to gift paid memberships is one of the most-requested features on Patreon, according to the platform’s recent Creator Census. 

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