To date, measurements and monetization efforts have been limited to
- Downloads: Services measure podcast downloads, which usually occur when listeners subscribe to an automated feed. However, just because a podcast is downloaded doesn’t mean it was played – or how much of it was played.
- Direct response ads: With pre-roll, mid-roll, and post-roll ads – spoken ads that run at the beginning, middle or end of podcasts – companies provide special codes for listeners to order products and services. While marginally effective, these ads limit how businesses can monetize their marketing spend – usually by selling subscription services (i.e. razor blades, underwear, wine delivery, etc.).
- Brand recall: While brand recall is useful in marketing, it is difficult to assign a direct ROI.
As a result, most businesses use podcasts as an advertising vehicle – similar to advertising on radio, TV, newspapers, etc. – with marginal effect. The IAB Podcast Playbook, August 2017, states:
- “67 percent of respondents could name an actual product feature or specific promotion mentioned in a podcast ad, and 61 percent of listeners indicated that they purchased a product or service they learned about from a podcast ad. A comScore/Wondery study showed that podcast ads create favorable impressions with consumers.”
The podcast marketing opportunity, however, is about to drastically and positively change.
With the pending release of the new Apple iOS 11 in Fall 2017, podcast producers finally will gain key measurement data to allow for lead generation and direct monetization beyond brand and direct response advertising.
As Harvard’s Neiman Lab explains:
- “Podcast publishers will, at long last, receive data that tells them just how much of their episodes are actually being listening to.”
- “With this announcement, that measurement issue — long articulated as thedefining problem of the medium — can finally be meaningfully interrogated, with many believing that the hurdle impeding advertisers from committing more dollars to the space can be thrown out the window.”
As the IAB states: “These analytics will include information on completion rates, skips, and the like, and Apple promises the analytics will become available in Fall 2017. Because Apple’s apps represent such a sizable percentage of the listening audience, the data should provide further insights on how listeners consume podcasts.”