Sounds Profitable - Podcast Adtech & Advertising

The pace of change the podcast adtech industry is undergoing is staggering. The implications for podcasters, hosting providers, podcast listening app developers, and even advertisers and agencies are enormous. And so are the profits. Presented as a companion but stand-alone version of the weekly newsletter of the same name, each episode of Sounds Profitable will be a fluff-free experience for you. Along with industry experts, I'll help you understand how you can take advantage of podcast adtech to stay ahead of the curve and, well... make more money as more money from advertising pours into podcasting. That Sounds Profitable, right? Assumptions and conventional wisdom will be challenged. Easy answers with no proof of efficacy will be exposed. Because the thinking that got podcast advertising close to a billion dollars annually will need to be drastically overhauled to bring in the tens or hundreds of billions of dollars podcast advertising deserves. So join me, Bryan Barletta, as I bring to you Sounds Profitable, the podcast companion series. It's part of the PodNews network, and if you're not already reading my newsletter, then you should be.


episode 16: The Podscape!

The podcasting advertising landscape is ever changing. Even the most recent map that I helped work on with the help of Magellan AI is already in need of updates. But that’s the goal of the Podscape. To help people understand the big picture, and to keep us all aware of what’s happening in this ever growing environment.Key Links:

  • John Goforth and Cameron Hendrix of Magellan AI
  • Article:
-----The Podscape will only ever have a finalized version when podcasting ends. .-----Credits:
  • Hosted by Bryan Barletta of Sounds Profitable -
  • Audio engineering by Ian Powell
  • Executive produced by Evo Terra of Simpler Media
  • Special thanks to James Cridland of Podnews
  • Podcast hosting and dynamic insertion wizardry by Whooshkaa
  • Sounds Profitable Theme written by Tim Cameron
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(Upbeat Ukulele music with rising accordion)Bryan: Madness post-its and the Podscape. That's what we're talking about today on sound's profitable with me, Bryan Barletta.This episode is sponsored by Claritas. Check out their recent, the marketing insider podcast, and learn how to use current trends, such as industry specific, lift success and CPM comparisons in podcasting to increase advertiser adoption. You can find out more at Claritas dot com.I know that you're listening to Sounds Profitable because podcast ad tech is important to you, but it's important to me that you are kept up to date on the latest news from the entire podcast industry. To help with that. Here's what happened last week. No matter when you're listening from James Cridland at Podnews.The podcast advertising ecosystem is ever changing. Company buy-outs new startups, major shifts in technology and major shifts in procedure can lead to it being a bit arcane to try and grasp the folks at Magellan AI. And I tried to make it a bit more visually understandable with the Podscape. We got together and wrote an article about it, which I've linked in the description.Now a few months on our map has already had to evolve. I spoke with Cameron Hendrix and John Goforth about the work we've done and the work that lies ahead to chart these waters better.(Shifts to interview, music fades)We're going to talk a little bit about the Podscape, which, uh, was released in December. Right? We did it in December of 2020.Cameron: It feels like ages ago, but yes, December the December 2nd, maybe? Uh,Bryan: yeah. Yeah, it was very, very early on. And where- we're recording this in January and we're about to actually release, uh, the first update of 2021 right now.Yeah.Cameron: I'm preparing for that end of this week early. Next.Bryan: Very cool. Very cool. So, you know, the Podscape for those of you who are just joining us is, uh, our view, the three of us got together and. Kind of tried to show from the advertiser all the way to the listener, what the podcast landscape looks like.Cameron and John had an awesome chart that they were keeping internally on their wall at their office. And as they said, they were staring at it to the point where they went cross-eyed they wanted to grab a little bit of additional help. They pulled me in and we collaborated on it. We created a big list.We got a bunch of logos. We submitted the first version and I think we doubled the number of companies on there. From the feedback from the first version sounds about, right?Cameron: Yeah. Yeah. I feel like we've got maybe a hundred emails between the time that we launch the first and, and, you know, today.Bryan: Yeah. And I think that that's taught me a very powerful lesson is that there are two ways to get people's attention is to include them and exclude them.Um, not intentional, of course, when we did it, because, uh, you know, as you guys said you were getting cross-eyed and then I went across that, looking at it, there's only so many companies that each of us could be responsible for figuring it out. And our goal wasn't to exclude anybody, but it was nice to see that, you know, a lot of people were confident that they should be placed on there and we added them all in.Totally. It'sCameron: like a Cunningham's law that the best way to get the right answer on the internet is to, uh, post the wrong answer. That'sBryan: that's incredibly accurate.Cameron: It's exactly what we did the first time around and continue to doJohn: it either that we, I mean, this is a very positive thing for the industry, but we're in a very dynamically changing industry.This is not an old guard media that has well-established companies. Well-established channels, well established everything. Right. The moment you think you have a grasp on everything that's going on in the podcast world is the moment it changes.Bryan: I super agree with that. I think that we have. Not only the acquisitions where we're seeing a lot of companies fold into each other, but you know, funding is constantly happening in the space.Um, and there are new partners that are, you know, challenges or active in other channels of advertising or technology that are getting an interest in podcasting. Like I think it's going to be real interesting to see how we represent things like clubhouse or Twitter spaces and their relation to podcasts.Yeah. I mean, I think those are, those are two good ones. So why don't we kick off with that? As we're talking about the Podscape and that's such a big thing, right? Audio and other forms that can be recorded as podcasts. Do you think will make space for this?Cameron: Yeah, I, you know, it's, uh, I think it's a really, for voice in general, I think is one thing that we didn't come into the Podscape initially, like having a great, like are really minds wrapped around, like how, like to think about things like Alexa and you know, other, other ways that people are.You know, not just listening to podcasts like you, uh, but also you other like flash briefings and things like that. Right. I think we're at the very early innings of like podcasts in general. Um, I think voice is, you know, even earlier innings, I think there's a world in which we add in folks like clubhouse and Twitter spaces.I think that I almost want to. I'm looking at the Podscape right now. I'm just want to make it like a bigger pay. You almost like you're going to make it like a poster, right? This is a fifth right now on an eight and a half by 11 piece of paper. Um, you almost want to have this fit in the scope of a broader, uh, document.And so maybe that's what we ended up doing is rolling out something. That's not quite the pod skate, but instead like almost a bigger audio ecosystem document, which, you know, like this doesn't even cover like streaming audio, uh, really like it doesn't, it's not intended to map to streaming audio. I should say.You know, we could certainly think about how to make that more effective as well.Bryan: Yeah, that could be neat creating like a web, like some sort of tool that would allow people to connect and almost like the whole neighborhood thing that's going on, uh, that we're seeing a lot of with, with the, how to show, like how podcasts are connected.Oh, on the contentJohn: side, like what Steve Pratt was working on. Yeah.Bryan: Yeah. But if we do that on the company side, right. Like an interactive tool that allowed people to do that. And now the hardest part is, is that this sits in the middle of so many different companies and you guys put time and effort and money into building it out.And that's hard. That's hard task. Any company in this space to do. But I, I think you guys know the limitations of it in your looking. To grow it as much as you can. And it's so funny that you mentioned like a bigger size thing. Me and John were joking around with someone on Twitter about how we need to have a beach towel version of it.Totally. I think that might have to be some collaborative swag that we do for,Cameron: I love that. Like that is a that's amazing. I would be like, eh, I have not even thought about printing. That's an anything, but a sheet of paper.John: I, uh, I said that the black light posters are on the way.Bryan: I think, I think a Spencer gifts would be very happy to support us with that model.John: John, um, uh, spent a lot of money as Spencer gifts on those black light posters, but, uh, you know, Bryan, you bring up a really good point too. I think about, um, When you talk about the intersection of technology and podcasts and what, what defines a podcast, you know, what belongs there and what doesn't belong there from a, from a category perspective, you know, you're, you, you mentioned, I guess what I'd probably call social audio, right?With, um, with clubhouse in Twitter spaces, you know, the, the same, the same is that, uh, another question around that might be the, um, the, uh, recent endeavor I'm forgetting who did with Alec Baldwin, the audio book. That they did around the election or around the inauguration. There was, there was an audio book that there, oh, it was, um, uh, Malcolm Gladwell's company, uh, pushing, uh, and, uh, they released, they released an audio book via RSS they had to pay for.And so it's, there's a lot of interesting questions coming up about, you know, what is a podcast what's so what, what categories do these things belong in? You know, there's certainly you, you, you can see the arguments on Twitter. There's the folks that believe that, you know, a podcast is very well-defined as a.You know, open RSS feed audio with audio and closed, and then, you know, there's other folks that say, well, no, I mean, can we get a little looser about this definition? And it's certainly a fun debate, but, uh, nonetheless, I'm just glad that there is more and more and more to choose from more opportunity, more.Uh, I love the expansion of the industry.Bryan: Yeah. I think one of the things that you just hit on there is like all these other mindsets that are not necessarily ad focused or don't have to be by default. Right? The pet scan shows the advertising landscape from advertiser to listener and like on the, on the industry side, right.We're trying to show all these people that are working that are not on the mic that are not on the mixing board. That are growing these podcasts and supporting it. And we even list on there, like the, the membership-based things like Patrion, super cast member full, and, and those are really neat. I think what people forget is that when you think about it, like other media types, like.You know, when a movie comes out, there's product placement in it, there's still advertisement. Like, just because you're paying for that content. And nobody is like interrupting it with an ad. Doesn't mean there isn't advertising. So a lot of these people view advertising as such a negative thing, and they're, they're all excited to figure it out.All these other sources for revenue, for podcasters, which I think the three of us all agree, like we want. People that get paid because we want more people in the space so that we can build cool technology that helps more people. Absolutely. But it's shortsighted to assume that Pushkin is going to sell like audio books through RSS feeds and not one time go.And this audio book is brought to you by state farm. Right. That's it that one time right now that's an advertisement spot. That's a high tier one that might cost more than some of the other CPM based stuff, because it's exclusive because it's part of a paid thing. So you have such an engaged audience.So I don't know, overall, I think, I think the space is so neat and the technology is so neat and I think it's very cool that we're in a position where, where people are working with us collaboratively. To build out this view of it. And we we've admitted that it's, US-based, I've heard some chatter that people are working to do like an Australia based version of the pots scape.Has anybody reached out to you guys about that? No. I mean,Cameron: we've heard some, a few, a few companies have reached out like asking to be put on the Podscape and I think we've tried to, you know, add really anyone in the space like match cast, for example, I believe it Asia-based. Yeah. Yeah. It is really a challenge.Cause you start getting into like, well, a lot of these like hosting platforms are, uh, You know, international as well. Right? So they have clients in both the us and every other market out there because it really offered operating like a software business on the internet. Right. So by nature, to some extent it's global, but there are certainly, you know, companies in, um, each individual market that are unique to those markets and really focused on those markets.So, uh, I, I certainly think, I think, and that's. Good again. It all goes back to like, why we put this out in the first place is like to start a conversation about what the market is, what the shape of it is and how it flows. And, and, uh, it's certainly not meant to, there will be, there will be no time. I, I, that I anticipate this will be the final end all version of a, of a pod podcast market map.Um, you know, whether that's US-based or global.Bryan: Yeah. W I, I truly believe that's true. I believe that's true because. Uh, like that will only happen when we close the doors on podcasting, where we look at it as history, because it's done, right. Like I'm excited with how much movement there is here and you're right.I mean, anybody who reaches out, we add them to it. I am excited to see the acquisition aspect and being able to take that trail there and the overall growth. And you, you hit on a cool thing. This is a conversation in public, and I think this space, the podcasting space. Is unique because it is a community.Like everybody hates those tropes that people are invested in podcasting, but a lot of the technology that people are building here, if you went and applied it to another digital channel first, you could probably be more successful. You could have less headache, less work in some situations, more revenue and higher margin in these established areas.But everybody's in podcasting because they like something about it. So every time an open conversation happens in the space. More people come to the table, more people collaborate on these things. It's, it's hard because there's still only a billion dollars in ad revenue. And so people are like fighting each other for it.But, um, I'm really excited for a world where all of these partners come together, understand their value prop may get publicly available. Talk about it in a communal space and know that like, If everybody positions themselves fairly and we stop with the, the number one, the first, the only, the premiere, whatever keyword that your marketing person has, we're going to find people buying and using products that specialize right.And specifically what you want instead of buying into one thing. And then just wishing you knew more about what the other competitors hadJohn: and to your point. This industry is growing, uh, maybe not at the clip that we'd all like, but it's growing at a, at a nice clip and. The the way it's going to mature even further is more monetization.I don't mean more ads in a single podcast or anything like that. I'm not, not, not sales guy. You got to do the sound on opinion one. Yeah, no, there's nothing to do with that, but I do know that companies have to make more money in order for them to continue to invest in this channel versus another channel.And I think that was, that was one of the original reasons. Reasons that Cameron and I started talking about doing a version of the Podscape was there's always been a lot of chatter about content, how to make better content there's constant debates and have been, since I've been in the industry for over like over five years now about, you know, what's the optimal length, what's the optimal data release.How, how, what, what, uh, what's the frequency in which you should release? I go all of these basic fundamental foundational questions around content. But those questions haven't been asked nearly as much in the monetization side of the world. And, and, you know, obviously the Podscape is, is meant to be a reflection of the podcast advertising industry and all of the different tentacles that spawn out of that, or that feed into that.But I'm glad to be, as you said, Bryan, haven't been having a public conversation about the, uh, about these companies and how they all fit together categorized.Bryan: Yeah. And you know, I want to, I want to give you guys credit for, you know, not only. Initiating the Podscape and really leading it forward, but also kind of stepping up as Magellan as well for, um, opening up these public conversations, sharing this information.I want to highlight your, your new website, really good podcast ads, because you guys go through a lot of effort to make sure that you are accurately finding all of the podcasts ads out there. Through transcription and you know, it's not trivial to identify when, and it's an ad to, you know, hit a podcast multiple times to find dynamic ad insertion and, and really dig all that stuff out.And so for you guys to put the effort into building a, a free to use tool for people to learn about some of the best performing ads out there, That's amazing. I mean, it blows my mind that we're not seeing these companies that are building these ads, whether they're publishers or agencies or whatnot, putting them on their website.Like if I, when I go and look at a podcast network, if I is so many of them, I can't even hit play to listen to a podcast immediately. So when, you know, there's a major podcast agency and I go to their website and I can't listen to one of the ads that they're responsible for and go, oh, you're so big that I know that ad, like it blows my mind.So you guys putting it in one place helps them grow or like helps everybody grow because there's creativity to be found in advertising. That we haven't touched on. We are so focused on how do we commoditize it? How do we get it into trade desks or someone who doesn't want to be here can throw money at it and contribute to the growth.But the success of podcasting really is coming from the people who are like, okay, I'm here. I want to learn it. And that what a, what a killer resource, what a, what a great way to, you know, uh, put your money where your mouth is and, you know, congratulations to you guys on that. Thank you. ICameron: think one of the things that, you know, going back to like 2017, when we first started tracking, you know, start ads in podcast space, like one of the things that made it so pleasant to be in this business is that like listening to the ads was fun.Like, I didn't actually. Like hate my job. Um, as a, you know, cause you know, and of course as like the founder I was doing, you know, everything from, you know, sending emails, cold emails to actually like making sure the ship, you know, uh, sailed on time. Um, and that involved listening to a lot of ads. So. But yeah, the, the really good podcast ads, you know, was just, I think that an evolution of that and us continuing to like stand on the shoulders of like the really fantastic podcast hosts and really fantastic advertisers out there that are like pushing the envelope with very cool content, you know, ad creative is a challenge, you know, it's like having, having, we've just started trying to really like.Put ourselves out there. And, and that's part of what you see with these projects, like Podscape and really good podcast ads, but it's a challenge to figure out how you like carve out your voice and, and seeing how other companies who've done. It is really, uh, educational.Bryan: Yeah. I think there's so much room for people to try things right now.Like I think that. We're not at a point where a misstep by a company exploring something means that you just lost out on a budget, right? Like there was a major automotive insurance company, or I guess they're a more than just automotive that I worked with when I first got into this space and podcasting.And it was just so funny that people would be like, Is our campaign performing well, I don't think the lift percentages is good enough. And I was like, Hey guys, here's the secret. It doesn't really matter what the campaign does at the end of it. If you can tell them how you can do better next time and show why you're unique, that's what they want to hear.And I think a lot of that's still true. I mean, I think the people who are in podcasting or either trying to chase Facebook, direct response and good luck, I don't think it translates as well. Um, or, or want to be here because they want to see what can be done and what's unique about it and what sticks.So I think that you can't phone it in, but. I think creative bravery is how Pacific content put it. I think that's going to be very well rewarded this year. Well, and I alsoJohn: think that that sometimes people try to have a binary conversation either. We're moving this as, as an industry, we're moving towards the more digital space where everything operates a certain way.It's all, uh, you know, here are the ad specs and just go to town and, and it becomes very commoditized. Um, or you're, uh, you're on the, the other side of the coin where, uh, it is, it is all pure. Everything needs to be baked in. They need to be five minute long ads and they're very creative. And I think to say it has to be one or the other is like kind of a failure of imagination.Like there are, there are dif they make different types of cars for different people because different people have different needs. And I think the same is true of advertisers in the podcast space. They have different needs. They have, they have multichannel, um, approaches to their marketing in general podcasts.Aren't the only thing they do. And what, what fits for company a might not fit for company B and that's. Okay. And, and, and the more diversity of, of opportunity and offering that the industry can, uh, can put out there just means more folks jumped into the pool and please come on in the water's warm.Bryan: Completely agree. It, you know, you hit on something that, that made me think about an experience I had recently. Uh, so I was losing my mind that the second season a Mandalorian had various episode flanks, right? Like first one was like 45 minutes and then it kept getting lower and lower. And there was one at like the 30 something or 27.It must've been thirties on the minutes, but I was just like, come on, you can't make it any shorter. And what I've realized is that these creative shops have finally got the freedom they're detached from fitting into a half an hour or an hour long slot on cable, where there's X amount of ads that have to go in there.So the show has to be a certain amount of time and it means there's less filler. Like, could you imagine what lost would have been like if they didn't have to adhere to a cable broadcast? Um, but what's so funny is that the people that build content often are the first people that yell how much they hate ads.Well, I would kill for some of those people to come create better ads. Like I don't think anybody really hates advertising because most people want to be sold something as the truth. If you can put the right product in front of me, if you can attract me the right way with it, where we're all consumers, um, people hate bad ads.Uh, and I hope, I hope we start to see these genius creative people look at advertisement as short form content. With a specific goal and really give us something new to chew on, you know?Cameron: Yeah. And we've seen a, I feel like I have a conversation with a publisher every other week or more frequently than that in some cases about how to make, what, what, know what other people are doing in the market.Like, what's exciting about what people are bringing to market. Uh, and you know, it's definitely, there's plenty of room to run, like in terms of like, uh, imagination around, um, what ads like ads could look like in 20, 21 and beyond.Bryan: Yeah, I would kill for you guys to do a podcast, a weekly podcast where you grab the top five or 10 ads that are coming through message over to the people who create it and just get them to take like one or two minutes explaining what went through their creative process with it.And you guys kind of curating that all together. I love it.Cameron: The, uh, the, you know, I think with any, any person who works in tech probably has this like problem, but I have a problem with buying domains. Um, whenever I have like an idea for two seconds and I feel like. Three years ago, I've been paying for this domain, like podcast ads, or something.Uh, and, uh, it's just, uh, it's been sitting there unused, but maybe there's an opportunity.John: Maybe there's a podcast in there.Bryan: I love it. Well, I like to end every episode with, uh, putting everybody on the spot and asking for a podcast that's not super mainstream that you guys listened to. Uh, so, you know, Cameron, let me, let me know what you, what you're listening to nowadays.Let's see, I'mCameron: going to pull up my, uh, my overcast here. Um, and I'm going to filter for not too mainstream. Okay. I will give you one, um, which is, uh, a lab. Um, all lawyers are bad, uh, a lab series. Um, it's, it's actually, it's ByLawyers um, this is not controversial. Uh, they, it is a very good podcast, like kind of getting into some, like, really fun, like legal takes on different situations that have happened.Uh, like there was a. Like I think some, yeah, they just, they have like a, it looks like about 20 episodes. Um, but it's like a really fun kind of sharp, uh, podcast or the three or four hosts who you get on and talk about like weird, uh,Bryan: uh, law issues. That's pretty cool. And John. Uh,John: so I, I recently started bingeing a, um, uh, I'm not going to say, I mean, it's, it's more mainstream than some, but a head gum show called the dead eyes.I wasn't too familiar with it, but this a comedian Connor Ratliff, um, long story short, he got a part in the, the. HBO TV series, band of brothers. He was cast for it. And at the very last minute he got a call that he needed to come audition again, even though he had already been casting audition for Tom Hanks, because Tom Hanks was, was hosting that, uh, or not host AMSTAR directing that, that particular episode.And, uh, he got a call after he did the audition saying, uh, I'm sorry, but, uh, we're, we're going in another direction, Tom Hanks thought you had dead eyes and he's now in season two of exploring. What exactly that meant. Is that the way the story went down? Um, it's kind of like, uh, it's like if cereal was about the most mundane and unimportant topic out there, you know, nobody got murdered or he just wants to figure it out, figure out why he got fired from a TV show 20 years ago.Um, it's, it's actually, it's really, it's, it's funny. It's heartwarming. It's uh, it's well done.Bryan: Awesome. Yeah. I only pushed the mainstream because I don't want to hear about how great nice white parents is, uh, for the 10th time. Uh, not that I really enjoyed it, but. That's why I push on that end, but guys, it was so great having you on here.I'm positive. I'll have you back again. Um, you're doing some really great things and, and you're, you're practicing one of my favorite things, which is pitching in public, right? Your content, everything that you guys are doing, all that we can know about Magellan is available pretty accessibly in different ways.So. Thank you so much for everything you do. And, uh, thank you for helping with the podcast being a big part of bringing that to this committee.Cameron: Yeah. Thank you. It's been a pleasure working together on the Podscape and I'm looking forward to continuing to, uh, this year and beyond.Bryan: Yeah.John: Yeah. And thanks for what you, uh, thanks for your writing.Uh, w it's it's nice to have a, a newsletter out there covering the ad tech space. We, we, we certainly appreciate it and read it every week. And, uh, uh, I, I, being that I am on the sales side, I do have to say if you'd like to learn more, go I'll leave that one in you guys get that one. (jokingly)John: All right. (excited)Bryan: All right. Thanks guys. Thanks.(music rises, interview ends)And stick around for some special bonus content. At the end of the episode, I've teamed up with Evo Terra to give you a minute long strategic thought that is guaranteed to shift your perspective on the present and future of podcasting. As we all work. To make podcasting better.Thanks to Cameron Hendrix and John Goforth for coming on to help expand on our article, the Podscape, a map of the podcast, advertising landscape.If you like, what you heard and want to connect, you can find me. Bryan Barletta on LinkedIn, way less formally on Twitter. Hi five RPG. And of course you can email me, The most important part about sounds profitable is providing you with more resources and making sure that I can answer your questions.So check out the link to YAPPA in the episode description and leave me a message. And with your permission, I'll answer it live on the show. The sounds profitable podcast and all cool ad tech, bells, and whistles you've experienced for thanks to our host and sponsor wish got everything you've heard since the conversation ended was uniquely created to target you using their dynamic ad insertion features.If any of the call-outs were wrong, let us know, depending on how you're listening. There were over 10 opportunities to hear dynamically inserted content and ads in this episode. While we continue to tweak it, innovate our setup. Some of the breaks may be more noticeable than others. Thank you for bearing with us and please send over your feedback.The sounds profitable podcasts, but not be possible without the help and support of Evo. Tara, James Credlin, Ian Powell and Sam Mars. Thank you all for your help and support. .


 2021-05-23  27m