Podcasts: The New Wild West

The IAB expects podcast advertising to exceed $500 million in 2019, which represents growth of about 65% in just two years. It’s a fast growing medium with limited standardization where only a small handful of categories have had ongoing success.

Part of podcasts’ allure (to brands) is the quality of its core demographics, which skew ages 25 to 40 with higher income levels and education. This is often an audience that’s tough to reach and they’re not typically watching a lot of TV.

The other allure is credibility. Most listeners are highly engaged when tuned into a podcast and usually don’t mind hearing ads. Ads tend to be kept to a minimum and are relevant to the program’s content, often via host-read ads. Trust and brand recall for podcast ads is also high when compared with other ad formats.

Based on data from nearly 50 custom studies Nielsen has conducted over the last 18 months, podcast advertising has demonstrated that it can move the needle on many important key metrics like awareness, ad recall, affinity, recommendation and purchase intent.

US Podcast Penetration

Podcast Ad Effectiveness

Why Its Hot?

The podcast advertising market in the US is poised for strong continued growth in listenership and ad dollars, but without meaningfully addressing current friction points, it might remain a niche advertising vehicle primarily suited to direct-response advertisers in the near term.

The ability for sellers and buyers to talk the same language is holding back the value proposition for brands more than anything else. There is a question of scale and fragmentation still – with only a few programs reaching the masses and many more reaching only smaller, niche audiences at far less frequent intervals than other media.

Newspapers existed before the Audit Bureau of Circulation, Radio existed before Arbitron, TV existed before Nielsen and the internet existed well before the IAB and comScore.  Podcasts are still living in this dawn of pre-standardization and governance, and how downloads and audience size is measured from one show or network to another is varied, making it harder for larger brands to execute – and measure – any meaningful effort.  Anyone want to start up an independent 3rd-party measurement company?

sources:

https://www.nielsen.com/us/en/insights/news/2019/how-podcast-advertising-measures-up.html

https://content-na1.emarketer.com/podcast-advertising-2018?li=1

Facebook Attempting to Quell Brand Safety Concerns

This week, Facebook  introduced new “monetization eligibility standards” it said are designed to provide more clear guidance on the types of content that will be allowed to have advertising run alongside it on the platform and will also specify the types of publishers and video creators who can earn money from ads on Facebook.  The news comes in light of its efforts to ramp up their in-stream video ad offering and avoid the brand safety pitfalls that continue to plague the industry – most notably the early summer snafus of rival YouTube.

The company said it would not place ads alongside content that focuses on tragedy, conflict or debated social issues, or that depicts acts or threats of violence, for example. It will remove ads from content that fails to comply with its guidelines.

To date, Facebook hasn’t had to deal with advertising adjacency challenges to the extent many online media companies and ad platforms have, owing to the nature of its in-feed ad formats that appear as stand-alone entries as users scroll through their news feeds.

The new in-stream ads will appear as ad breaks in the middle of publishers’ videos, but won’t be inserted in user-uploaded videos.

In an attempt to alleviate brand safety concerns, Facebook said that in the coming months it will begin providing advertisers with post-campaign reports specifying which publishers’ content their ads appeared in, across in-stream videos, Instant Articles and its Audience Network ad network product.

Advertisers won’t be given the ability to specify which content they want their ads appear alongside using “whitelists” of preapproved publishers. Rather, they will be required to “blacklist” specific publishers from their ad buys, or to remove categories of publishers Facebook deems to publish “sensitive” material.

Facebook said it would also provide marketers with a new tool that will offer a preview of which publishers’ content their ads may appear alongside before their ad campaign begins.

While the new monetization eligibility standards will apply to videos and Instant Articles hosted on Facebook itself, they will not apply to the Audience Network, which allows marketers to target consumers across websites and properties outside of the Facebook platform.

Why It’s Hot:

Brand safety has been a growing concern for marketers in recent years as they try to reach more tailored audiences. Thanks to the rise of automated ad targeting systems and vast ad networks, it’s become increasingly difficult to keep track of where their ads might show up. The rise of third party verification companies is putting increasing pressure on walled garden giants such as Google and Facebook (aka the Duopoly), but the walls have yet to crack.

 

The balance between brand safety and maximizing ad revenues can be a tricky one to strike, but will Facebook’s solution, which still disavows any third party integration be satisfaction enough to quell brand needs, or is the platform simply too integral to avoid at any cost for marketing campaigns?

source: https://www.wsj.com/articles/facebook-pitches-brand-safety-ahead-of-video-ad-push-1505309401

 

 

The Winners and Losers of YouTube’s Brand Saftey Crisis

The ripple of the video giant’s woes has gotten so great that some have predicted the impact from major brands could cost YouTube $750 million. Seemingly, there are some that are happy when such a kink in the armor is exposed, but there are myriad of stakeholders, each with their own perspective. With that amount of money – as well as brand reputation and confidence – at stake there are going to be some winners and losers, and here they are:

WINNERS

Old-fashioned publishers

These are the classic media players who started losing their lunch the second Google started owning the internet. One could imagine publishers grinning ear to ear, thinking, “Told ya so. Quality content isn’t so easy.” They can can make a more convincing case that knowing the content and the audience actually is still important.

This issue can resurface a shift to high-quality, direct-bought content, where brands have the most control but pay a premium for it in some cases.

Streamers

Anyone selling streaming ads is in a good position – including Sling, Dish and even TV networks. Hulu, Roku, TV networks and anyone with a digital video platform will be showing off their highly curated content. These new shows and programming will look pretty good to anyone with a heightened interest in knowing exactly where their messages will appear.

Tech tools & 3rd Party Verification Partners

Brands have called for digital platforms like Facebook and Google to clean up the media supply chain and to be more transparent with data. The brand safety issue on YouTube is yet another bit of leverage to force more cooperation.

Independent third parties like Integral Ad Science, Double Verify, Moat and others will find more brands at their doorsteps looking for ways to ensure their ads appear near quality content.

The agency

One of the most important roles for agencies was helping brands make sure their ads didn’t show up in the wrong place by intimately knowing the targeting, brand safety protections and best practices of each channel. Well, now those services are increasingly valuable.

LOSERS

Net neutrality

When the Trump administration makes further moves to undo net neutrality, as many anticipate based on current momentum repealing FCC consumer protections, Google’s ability to defend it in idealistic terms could be undermined by all the talk about serving ads on terrorist video.

Programmatic

It took a long time for programmatic to stop being a dirty word. Programmatic advertising was once considered the least controlled, lowest quality ad inventory at the lowest price. In part, brands could start to pull back from blind, untargeted buying without transparency.

YouTubers

YouTube has said that part of its solution is to implement stricter community standards, and that could mean more bannings and ad blocking from their videos, impacting their earnings.They could be quicker to cut a channel at the smallest offense now that brands are watching closely.

Advertisers still on YouTube – this is a tricky one to classify and it’s too early to say. We’ll have to see how the video platform reacts over time to increasing pressures to allow verification partners and data trackers access within the garden’s walls.

Why It’s (Still) Hot:

This topic will continue to be important to the brands we represent, aim to represent and even those far from us that are faced with the same decision to either stay the course or sit it out. There is a lot of money moving around on media plans, a lot of POV’s being routed and a lot of reps working overtime to reassure teams of buyers/planners that they are taking brand safety very seriously. Often it’s not the crisis that defines a company, but what they do in the aftermath. Some are hopeful that this is a definitive crack in the ‘walled garden’-  but even if it is not, we’re all hoping for a better, safer platform at the end of this tunnel…a world where once again clients can be irked by their premium pre-rolls showing up prefacing water skiing squirrels and dancing cat videos instead of terrorist rhetoric.