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Insider July 15, 2022 — Will dynamic ad insertion ever be good?

Plus, hot and fresh pods to start your weekend

It’s a short one today thanks to a relative lack of news and spotty plane Wi-Fi. But fear not! We are entering earnings season soon, so I promise there will be spiciness ahead.

Everyone wants dynamic ad insertion to be better

On Thursday, SiriusXM announced a new deal with Comscore to use the company’s cookie-free attribution tool, Predictive Audiences, across the podcasts owned and managed by SiriusXM and its subsidiary AdsWizz. Like the rest of the industry, SiriusXM is working to get dynamically inserted advertising right. However, that’s a lot easier said than done.

Everyone acknowledges that dynamic ad insertion — which lets different advertisements be inserted at designated ad breaks based on the listener’s profile — is critical to how podcasts will make money in the future. Podcasts have traditionally featured host-read, direct-to-consumer ads (Casper mattresses, anyone?) that are edited into the show — but that style of advertising is not going to get the podcasting industry to $4 billion by 2024. Dynamic ad insertion, if executed correctly, will let ads be targeted and resold continuously, which makes the ads more expensive and lets podcast creators wring more money out of their back catalogs.

The industry is definitely headed in that direction — dynamically inserted ads made up 84 percent of all ad revenue in podcasting last year, according to the Interactive Advertising Bureau, up from just 48 percent in 2019. But not everyone thinks it is effective. Overcast founder Marco Arment tweeted that “cheap, sloppy dynamic ad insertion (DAI) in podcasts continues to degrade the experience for listeners,” along with several screenshots of complaints from Overcast users. “DAI podcasters: WHAT ARE YOU DOING?! You’re throwing your audience away. These people will leave podcasts forever.”

That may be a tad dramatic, but it gets to the core of why companies like SiriusXM need to up their tech. Regulations like GDPR have also made it much more difficult to connect advertisers with target audiences. With Predictive Audiences, Comscore claims to solve that problem. The tool uses context clues like streaming choices, gaming habits, and apparent age to help advertisers reach their target demos. 

It may be less precise than cookies, but it could also be regulation-proof. “With podcast consumption skyrocketing and the regulatory environment still very fluid, it’s critical to give advertisers the ability to develop privacy-forward and future-proof audience targeting on podcasts,” said Rachel Gantz, Comscore’s general manager of activation services.

Hulu orders documentary series from Spotify based on the RapCaviar playlist

I guess you can adapt anything! Hulu has ordered a music documentary series called RapCaviar Presents from Spotify and The Intellectual Property Corporation (which is part of Sony Pictures Television). Based on the Spotify RapCaviar playlist, episodes will go behind the scenes with hip-hop artists like Tyler, the Creator, Jack Harlow, and Megan Thee Stallion. A TV show based on a playlist may seem like a stretch, but it’s a very popular playlist — Spotify says RapCaviar has an audience of more than 14 million people.

Fresh Pods

  • The new season of NPR’s Embedded, which is hosted by Kelly McEvers and Dan Girma, will go inside the Yonkers Police Department. The department has been ordered to reform its policing practices by the DOJ, and Embedded looks at how the commissioner plans to do that.
  • We’ve got another companion pod, folks! Chat Sh!t: The Official Rap Sh!t Podcast, will launch next week to accompany Issa Rae’s new HBO Max series. Rae will not be leading the podcast, but hosts Jessie Woo and Zach Campbell will break down each episode after it airs.
  • Jon Bernthal, American gigolo, has launched a new podcast on Patreon. And, surprisingly, it’s not a celebrity hangout show! Real Ones with Jon Bernthal will feature guests like doctors, activists, and soldiers.
  • I know I say basically every week that the lines between YouTube and podcasting are blurring, but it keeps happening! This week, YouTube stars Rhett & Link have launched a new chat show called Dispatches From Myrtle Beach, hosted by Link Neal and his father, Charles Neal, and produced by their studio Mythical.
  • Next week, Double Elvis and iHeartMedia will debut Sound of Our Town, a show that explores music culture in 10 different cities in the US. The first episode will focus on Portland, Maine, and some of the upcoming episodes will cover Tulsa, Chicago, and Asbury Park, New Jersey (obviously the most important one on this list).

That’s all for today! Have a great weekend. I am going to take some trite pictures next to a redwood.