Skip to contents
Hot Pod Insider

Anchor launches an in-platform advertising marketplace

It's called Anchor Sponsorships, and it finally gives them a business model.

The social audio app-turned-hosting platform announced the marketplace, called Anchor Sponsorships, this morning.

Here are the key elements to note:

  • The pitch: “Sponsorships revolutionizes the entire podcast advertising process by streamlining it into a single platform. It connects podcasters with brands that want to sponsor them, guides them through easy creation of custom ads, and facilitates payments when their podcast is heard.”
  • The company has lined a number of starting sponsors to participate in the program, some of which might be familiar to you. They include: Squarespace, SeatGeek, Cash App (a mobile payment service), Dirty Lemon (a beverage company), Baboon (a food delivery app), Living Proof (a beauty product company), Roman (a medicine startup), and The Citizenry (home decor). Veritone One — which, by the way, acquired Performance Bridge not too long ago — is also participating in the program as a media agency.
  • Rates are based on CPMs set by sponsors, there are bunch of tools for sponsors to control the campaign, the metrics count plays on all platforms, and hosts can make their own ad reads.
  • Anchor takes “an industry-smallest share of transactions.”

Quick thoughts:

  • Anchor’s early state was to capture as much new podcast hosting as possible. Here, they’re building out the advertising supply, thus pushing the platform into a market. This does two things: (1) it theoretically increases the value of hosting with Anchor — if transactions work out — and (2) it finally gives Anchor, which is free for publishers to use, a business model.
  • Take a couple of steps back, and you can see the field: with Art19 and Megaphone positioning themselves as the industrial-level options for the podcast industry, the lane is relatively open when it comes to the wide expanse of smaller shows; in other words, the layer of the ecosystem that sees podcasting as an extension of blogs. (That is, if we continue to abide by the bifurcated framework that splits the ecosystem between podcasts-as-the-future-of-radio and podcasts-as-an-extension-of-blogging, which is a dichotomy I still use.) This lane, I think, is still competitive — see: Simplecast, Pippa, the stalwart Libsyn — but Anchor, backed by the might and enthusiasm of the land of venture capital, is certainly the loudest.
  • The fate of Anchor, and its category peers, is contingent on the fates of that bifurcated universe. This ties somewhat into Caroline’s column from this week, but podcasting very much remains a space that shoulders two ends of a universe: those who make audio professionally on the one hand, those who record and edit in their spare time on the other. Anchor, it seems, is currently positioned as a bet on the continued growth of the latter, with the possible upside of encroaching into the former if the gambit works out.
  • Anchor’s official press release claims that it’s “the first and only podcast advertising platform open to all podcasters and sponsors of all sizes.” I dunno about that… does RadioPublic’s Paid Listens program count?

Anyway, you can find the corporate blog post here.