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 20: The Influencer Marketing Advantage

In an industry where influencer marketing is taking strides, how can podcasters get a leg up? Shreya Sharma talks with Bryan about how the lack of differences between the two needs to be recognized ASAP.Key Links:

  • Shreya Sharma of Inside Podcasting
  • Article:
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  • Hosted by Bryan Barletta of Sounds Profitable -|
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SPEp20Bryan: Influencers, social media and podcasting. That's what we're talking about today on sounds 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 lifts success in CPM comparisons in podcasting to increase advertiser adoption, go to for more info.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 Cridlin at pod news.Is the ad podcasting's version of influencer marketing. Our hosts technically are social media influencers. Sreya Sharma did an absolutely awesome article on this topic for sounds profitable, which I'll link in the description. We got to talk about her article and what inspired her to look further into this equivalency Freya Sharma Sreya.Thank you so much for.Shreya: It's my pleasure, Bryan, how are youBryan: doing? I'm great. I'm great. You know, this is the first podcast that I've recorded in the new space. Since I've moved from Austin to San Antonio, I knowing myself prerecorded, so many podcasts that half the things people are listening to are months old and I feel bad, but we've, we're starting to catch up and we're starting to do this.So this will be, you know, only month and a half old by the time it goes up. But I'm so excited to be talking to you. New space. And so Sreya, I, you know, give, give people a little bit about your background. Like I personally love what you do at inside podcasting and, you know, that's how we first connected, but there's so much more to you than that.So I'd love to pass it over to you.Shreya: Sweet. All right. So I am speaking to you from Vancouver, Canada today, which in my humble opinion is one of the most beautiful places in the world. Hope you can visit someday. I was raised in Dubai. Bread do I, and then I. Went on to do my engineering, which you recently found out.And that was hilarious. Went on to do my engineering in India quickly discovered that engineering was not for me and did my MBA in Sydney. I know this is like me flexing, how much I've traveled and I've earned it. Um, and, um, and then I worked in event marketing in Singapore where I did a lot. Cold calling and going to events and selling things that was fun.Got out of my comfort zone really quick with that job. And then I moved to Vancouver in 20 17, 20 18, I think. And I have been working as a marketer for a while. Now, my day job as I call it is a marketing director. I mean, it's a startup, so I'm the marketing team. Um, At an ultimate Frisbee organization. My team, when they listened to this will ask me why I didn't refer to myself as a marketing overlord, because that's what they like to call me.And then as you mentioned, Inside podcasting as well, which is, um, I don't know if I should say right, but I both write in QA inside podcasting, which is a collection of news that happens in the podcasting world. And sometimes I offer my opinions here and there and the purpose of that news. As it stands right now under my ridership is to do more for the independent podcasters and also create space for women in podcasting, which Lord knows we need.Bryan: We need more. Yeah. Yeah. You do such a good job with it. I mean, honestly the weeks where I can't keep up on what's going on on the news sometimes. And I'm just like, I know Trey is going to cover this in a few more bullet points than a that I need. So I don't have to read the whole article and it is my favorite way to be lazy in this space.So I super recommend everybody check it out and follow stray directly on Twitter. A B she has so many great ideas and concepts to share about podcasting marketing, uh, and one of our nerd. The tabletop role-playing games, but we'll, we'll, we'll wait until we launch our, uh, fabled, uh, live action play, uh, for tabletop games.Uh, but we'll switch over to the marketing side. So you wrote an amazing guest article for us. It was called the influencer marketing advantage. Uh, I really loved it because I think that we get so focused in podcasting about the bubble that we're in. Right. We talk about how podcasting can be tough on the advertiser, the publisher, and everything.We talk about how small the space can be sometimes. Um, and, and some of those things are absolutely true. So many people that I meet in this space to start just in podcasting and haven't marketed, or haven't done advertising, or haven't done production in any other medium. So getting outside voices like yours, super critical.And in this specific one, we were comparing it to social media, influencer marketers. So you, at your day job, you work with a lot of people like that, right? So we're talking about people who we're not talking about, like average. On Twitter or on Instagram or on Facebook, we're talking about advertising with people with followings on those communities, right?Correct. And so those are the people you interact with most in your day.Shreya: I wouldn't say that that's the yeah, well, yes, in this specific marketing element, they, those are the people that I interact most with. But as I mentioned in the article, um, my job involves putting together data from different sources, influencer marketing, being one of them, which is why, well, I go on a rant about why the data isn't enough, but, um, we'll get to that in a bit.Bryan: Yeah. And that's, you know, that's, that was the, the data when we might as well jump into that, I really liked this right. Podcasting is not perfect with downloads, but you know, this whole article spawn from one comment that me and you had an, a conversation, which was in the social media influencer marketing world.If I am posting to my own timeline, I don't have any way to track that. There's no impression pixels. I can use a click redirect if. If I am big enough on that platform to garner the ability to serve a click URL because not everybody can do that. And then, you know, those metrics are not easily verified, right?A click isn't the most important thing. I mean, viewing the content, interacting with the content brand recognition and adoption is very powerful. And podcasts, and we can track a download. We can track that the ad was delivered in the download. We can use third party verification for that. We can do third-party attribution, but you can't do that in this space of social media influencer marketing, which is 10 times the size, right.Where we're talking. When we wrote this, it was based off of last year's numbers or 2020 numbers that showed $10 billion industry versus podcasting that was aiming for a billion dollars store.Shreya: Correct. And what's interesting is that the industry has seemed to kind of collaborated and not collaboratory calibrated there.Expectations even as to how much conversion attribution they can expect. And I mentioned that in the article where there was a survey conducted by influencer marketing hub, which is one of the leading organizations in influencer marketing. And only 9% of the people said that conversion attribution is the most important criteria, but then 33% of them said that increasing total sales is why they want to do influencer campaigns.So. There is an obvious sort of disconnect there. Like they want to do theirs because they see the value in it. They see actually making money and getting revenue as one of the reasons to do it, but they also know that. Conversion attribution is not something they can expect. They've just made peace with it.And now I'm starting to Randy, but this is where podcasting has that data, even in a standalone manner. Um, you know, because it it's mostly offline. Um, and correct me if I'm wrong or the expert on this, it's mostly the offline measuring that happens in when you're measuring stuff online. It's really hard to do that with just influencer marketing.Like those. Mean nothing to me when I'm looking at my own campaign reports, our need to take stuff from Instagram. I need to take stuff from Google analytics, all sorts of places. And it's interesting because everybody that I talk to on the marketing side of things said, yeah, well, that's how we've been doing it for a while.And somehow they still have these high expectations, almost of a podcast ads and how they're supposed to perform. So that disconnect really. In a way I took it personally, even cause it seemed like, uh, it seemed a bit silly to ask so many questions at podcasting that influencer marketing cannot answer.Yeah.Bryan: Yeah. We're podcasting. The big things are that everything can be self-reported right. The publisher can for Porter from the hosting platform or, uh, the advertiser can report it back to the publisher from the third party. But the unification that you're talking about is really powerful. Right? So if the advertiser has a tracking pixel across their entire campaign on multiple.Publishers are multiple podcasts. They can aggregate that data in one place. And basically what you're saying is not only is the data in social media, influencer marketing, not something that you can aggregate. It's also manual. It requires a lot of trust or a lot of work power to get set up correctly.And there's no perfect solution for it because the industry has accepted that. That was the norm. And podcasting is so different in the fact that everybody thinks it's streaming audio, right? To the point where we still have programmatic partners that are outside the podcast space, looking in and are just like, well, when we can stream podcasts, when apple and Spotify send the requests, we'll be able to serve ads there.They just don't. And so the general perception of podcasting is it is audio. There is streaming audio streaming audio is real time. So that I think is why podcasting gets the pressure. Uh, and it's tough because that pressure is enough that some podcasters can stand up to it and say, you know what? Sorry, you're misunderstanding it.It's downloads. This is how it works. Here's some third party data, or you can just trust us. Most of the other podcasts is just kind of get run over by it.Shreya: Yeah. And it's interesting. I think I'm going to talk a little bit about my own day job here because I work in, like I said, an ultimate Frisbee sports organization for, for kids.We do summer camps and programs for them and. It's such a niche industry that if I weren't to place an ad on a podcast, or if I want to sponsor a podcast there's so there are such few podcasts that I could do it because they audience alignment. There's very little overlap. Like I can go and place an ad on a big network show, ill, most likely have to be an independent, homegrown sort of podcast.And those are the people who. You know, to your point where you said some podcasters can stand up and say, Hey, this is not how it's done. Those indie podcasters are the ones who are not going to be able to do that. And they already face enough competition as is from the, within the industry. You know, like there's so much talk of celebrities coming in and stuff like that.So, Those are the ones that my, like, I'm rooting for the underdogs on this one and they ha they're making good content. They deserve to be put out there and they are connecting with their audience in an authentic and relatable way, which is what influencers have been trying to do. But it just, there seems to be some kind of a disconnect.There's a little, there's a kind of like a glass wall between us and them. And I speak to this in the article as well. The way I say that the influencer marketing industry has started, it started as. Lifestyle brands and people showcasing their lives on social media and being like, look at my life and look at all the awesome stuff I can do.And then they started selling products and that's how it went. And now they're understanding that the audience is demanding authenticity. You can't sell anymore. You have to share. And podcasting's already done that. Like we're already there. The host make honest, relevant, authentic connection. With the audience.So once again, again, I'm getting a little ranty, but I think that's theBryan: point of it. Right? Podcast extension here is to rant on the topic to expand on it. So I think it's good. Right? I'm looking for your personal, uh, excitement and your personal interest in it. And what drives you on this? And, you know, I, I think you're positioning this up to a great question that you answered in the article, but I'd like to spend a little bit more time on it.Everything you're using to describe a social media influencer. I can remove those terms and I could just say podcaster and they sound the same, right? They position themselves the same. They're the same type of creative and content. And just instead of video or instead of image our, instead of writing.They're doing just audio, right. Or, or not even just study audio as part of it. So how do podcasters take advantage of this rocket success that influencers are seeing and come in that same respect and demand, the same money that these influencers are getting instead of getting pushed down on the podcasting side,Shreya: right.So for the first thing I would say, and I don't know if I've said this in the article, but I've been thinking about this a lot. Um, so the first thing I would say is that podcasters should educate themselves about what does, what happens when, you know, there's an ad on their podcast and what happens if they're like outsourcing it to say a third-party agency and they're the ones selling ad space.What actually happens in the background. And it doesn't have to be super technical, which is where I think. A newsletter like yours would come in. I don't know if you refer to it as a newsletter.Bryan: I, you know, it's so funny. I don't know. I think, I think I am primarily a new newsletter even though it's about podcasting.Shreya: So that's where your newsletter comes in and it. The writing is set in a way that it doesn't make anybody feel like an outsider. It doesn't make anyone feel talked down to like, I'm, I'm only like a year into this industry. And I still feel like I read every week when you write. And it makes me feel smarter and more informed even.So I think that podcasters, no matter how big or small they are, and no matter who is doing the. Of inventory for them, whether they're doing it themselves or other companies are doing it, they should educate themselves because when they know what's happening on the back end and they can actually track, um, like attribute, conversion, whatever that looks like.Then there will actually feel empowered by that information and that knowledge, because if you ask an influencer, they know just as well as we do that, there's no way to track. So they know that their brand value lies in the show off it. And podcasters can actually say, Hey, we're all that. And then some, so I should say that that's the first thing that they should do just actually educate themselves.And then. The rest of the points come from their wish is that when they educate themselves and find themselves to be empowered, they can manage the expectations of their clients. They can manage the expectations of the agency that they're working with and let them know that, Hey, my brand is so defined and I will obviously be connecting with your audience because there's so much alignment.I should be paid more, or I should be. I should be treated with more respect, you know, that in a way snowballs, cause then our industry earns more money and hopefully we can close that one to $10 million and get up sooner rather than later. Yeah.Bryan: Yeah. I think you got a lot of great points there. I think the biggest thing is positioning.Right? You've got to know your role. You got to know the value of what you're doing. You need to get to know the unique presentation of it. And then the effort of finding the advertisers. I don't end me anybody on that side. Like there is a reason that salespeople make great money, right? Because it's not easy.The biggest thing that we need for growth in the podcasting. Is not more ad tech. We got enough. We're doing really great with it. There's cool. Unique ways. We can dig into the same data. If we stopped innovating technology-wise for like two years, I really don't think we would hurt because there's so much there that we haven't even dug into because we're so focused on what's next.Um, and so I, I truly believe the purchases of, of companies like advertising. Popcorn and megaphone while they do have technology, most of their value comes from the order management side of it. But the primary value is the relationship with advertisers, getting advertisers into the space, getting advertisers to buy from podcasts, inventory.That's critical. That's how this space grows. And so when these indie podcasters are small and medium size podcasters, you know, Trey is right when she says that all of you need to educate yourself as much as possible. We need to make connections. You need to stand by what you want to do. And that big thing they're standing by.That doesn't mean standing by, you know, I should always make this much money and this is how, what my contents worth and all that. It's standing by the fact that you want to do this professionally. So you have to negotiate. You have to, uh, learn. You have to be flexible. You have to try things out, right?You can always do a small campaign. That's not in your favor. You can always learn from it. You can determine the number one thing I learned when going freelance. I say yes to everything because they'll teach you what you're going to say no to next time. Yeah,Shreya: absolutely. And to that point, I should, I would like to say that to the podcasters out there, when you're pitching yourself, then remember that marketers are spending a lot of time correlating and aggregating data from different sources.And even if you can pitch to them saying, Hey, we have this one platform. You don't need to look for data anywhere else. We got what you need here. That pitch to make their lives simpler. It's going to get you a long way. I can say that as a marketer. Yeah,Bryan: for sure. And so your focus and I've always really liked this is that, you know, even though you're writing to the greater industry, you really do champion these small to mid tier publishers right.In the podcasters and influencers. And I think that's so powerful because a lot of what I'm writing a lot of what everybody else is, is writing about. To the mid to upper tier and that's not bad. I think that sounds profitable. Hopefully anybody, anybody of any skill levels reading it, um, so that they can, uh, strive to use these tools better, right?The same tool, megaphone or Omni or simple cast, the, you know, the programmatic side AdsWizz and Triton, all of these tools are accessible to anybody who signs up for the account, right? There's different payment options and different prices for each level. So you could be a brand new podcast and you could sign directly up to the.If you want to pay and you want to dig into it. So I think that's accessible, but what I like about how you go about this, especially in the article is that you're talking about a foothold into the space. You're talking about positioning, you're talking about comparison. Um, and that's, that's attractive.We need more advocates like you. And I really appreciate that. You know, the, the influencer thing I think is going to continue to grow. I think the best part about influencing. And I'd love to hear your thoughts on it is that we've seen it grow. From space to space, right? Like they influencing before social media existed.So like we, we had celebrity influencers, we had these concepts. I mean, it really did explode with social media, but the advantage of that is that it, it's not a specific platform. We're not talking about just Facebook influencers. So do you think that fluencies that are successful right now, it should expand to podcasting.And do you think that people are trying to make it in podcasting? Expand to other social media channels.Shreya: It depends on where your audience is. And, and that's, uh, uh, an answer that opens up more questions, but it really does depend on what your goals are. And it comes back to positioning. I think that, I mean, just quoting some of the studies and stuff done in the past, there is definitely sculpture podcasters who.They have, like, they have a space where they can go into social media and Instagram and Twitter and connect with their audience on a different level, especially if they're looking to monetize the podcast. So I would recommend doing that if they are comfortable with it. But I also know that, you know, if they're not, they prefer to just focus on podcasting.That's fine too. But if you are getting representation, My, uh, indie podcasters out there, then please make sure to educate yourself. And then as to the other question, if a celebrity is, or if an influencers should go into podcasting, they already are. They're already getting there, which is why. It's kind of the need of the hour for podcasters.I mean, people who started off as podcasters to come over a little bit to this side and to step out from just behind the mic and actually on social media and start making connections with their audience in whatever way they feel comfortable. I know personally that I love hearing the opinions of the podcast hosts that I follow and like, I care about their lives.I care about. Well, you know what they think about things that are not even related to their podcast. I remember that I attended an event. I don't remember the name actually, but, uh, there was a Procter and gamble person there that spoke about one of their most successful campaigns was with, uh, I think it was Ashley Flowers, podcast and cram junkie.Yeah, that's the one. And it was Pantene. The product that they advertised was hunting. And it was interesting to me that a crime, a true crime podcast. Was like how was a hair brand so successful on true crime podcasts? And it's because the listeners knew that the hosts, they have wonderful hair. And so, and they knew this because the hosts made an effort to connect with them outside of the podcasting space.And that's why. You know, even though they don't seem to align on paper, but if you're, if you're building a brand, then you never know what might work out for you. So it could go in any direction. Yeah.Bryan: It's so it's so funny. You say that it's so much effort for me and I like that you highlight, like, if they want to, if they have the motivation to, because like, yeah.This sounds profitable. Isn't huge. I don't consider myself an influencer outside of the people who are really into podcast ad tech, which is pretty neat that all of you, amazing people listen, but it's so much, it can be so much to spread yourself across those other platforms. And you just get to determine what you wanna do.The truth of it is, is that if you're gearing up and trying to make this a career, if it's an extension of what you're doing, you need a team, right? You need more than just you to do it. You cannot do this all yourself. I think we're past the point in podcasting or social media, influencer marketing and all of these things where like one person can succeed.That's the unicorn dream and very cool for people to strive towards that. But you got to hit a point where you need to determine if you can double down the resources. Either financially or more time or, or whatnot, uh, and make it make a go at it, or if it's just a hobby and it's just fun, but you, you can't hope that just because you do one thing and you put it out there that it's going to be successful.There's marketing is not an easy job. I don't think it gets enough.Shreya: On that note, I would say that, you know, feel free to reach out to me. Um, anybody who's listening and wants an idea on how to market their podcast and has the faintest clue where to start from, or you're in a position where you feel like you've hit a point and you don't know where to go from there.There are a lot of. Free resources out there, uh, to help get you started. And I work with, um, the forum of women entrepreneurs in Vancouver here, and I'm a mentor for a woman who's. Older than me, much more educated than me. And she has a podcast on job sharing, but she doesn't have a clue on how to market it.So we're working with like, this is volunteering work. So that's why I'm saying if anybody would just wants to reach out and have a chat. Twitter. DMS is where it's at right now. So yeah, just DM me and let me know about what your questions are and I'm here. I'm here.Bryan: I think that's, that's a great place to wrap this up because I think Strayer, you are one of the most successful people in this space, and I think you provide such great insight.I think you've got a good pulse on the business. Um, you know, the marketing side and you definitely enjoy that in the hands-on with the indie podcasters. So I really recommend everybody read. Um, you know, it's, I'd podcasting, I'd say listen to, uh, we're one day, we're going to get you to do your own podcast.Um, but definitely follow trail on, uh, Twitter as well. And we'll put that in the episode description and I. I hope people take Trey up on this because she has a lot of insights to share. So Trey, thank you so much for joining today.Shreya: Thanks for having me run. This was awesome.Bryan: 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 podcasts, thanks to stray Sharma for coming to help expand on her article, the influencer marketing advantage.If you liked what you heard and want to connect, you can find me. Bryan Barletta on LinkedIn, way less formally on Twitter as a high-five RPG. And of course you can email me, Bryan, at sounds 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 YAPA in the episode description and leave me a message. And with your permission, I'll answer it live on the show. This sounds profitable podcast and all cool ad tech, bells, and whistles you've experienced where thanks to our host and sponsor. Everything you've heard since the conversation ended was uniquely created to target you, you using their dynamic ad insertion features any of the call-outs were wrong.Let us know, depending on, 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, intubate 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 sound's profitable podcasts would not be possible without the help and support of Evo, Tara, James Cridlin, Ian Powell and Sam Mars. Thank you all for your help and support.


 2021-06-20  27m