I was in the gym the other day, listening to the Longform podcast and realised something, the only time I really give advertising a chance these days is when listening to podcasts. Like the majority of people, I rarely watch live TV, I have an ad blocker on, scroll quickly through social platforms and rarely notice billboards.

Ira Glass, known as a pioneering figure in podcasting, and responsible for ‘This American Life’ has called it ‘boom time’ for podcasts.

The format which is going some way to save investigative reporting, is also creating new avenues for advertisers, an avenue with an intimate feel and genuine tone of voice.

Perhaps it’s best to think about it in the same bucket as influencer marketing, you are essentially handing over control to individuals or groups that already have the trust of the audience you crave. The Longform podcast hosts, Aaron LammerMax Linsky, and Evan Ratliff, talk about their sponsors in a half joking, half grateful way. You know they have to say something positive and although it is obvious, they play on the forced nature of the situation, resulting in an almost endearing endorsement.

The beauty of Podcasts is the variety of them, there are over 60,000 active podcasts on iTunes alone. Enabling advertisers to really focus in on the shows that match their own interests and the interests of their target audience.

Despite the opportunity, the same companies seem to be buying the space; the Mailchimps, Audibles and SquareSpaces of the world. Very few brands have dipped their toes in and it is understandable, podcasts aren’t without their advertising faults, measurement appearing to be the biggest. Those selling the advertising space struggle to provide real metrics in terms of who downloads the episodes and what they actually do with it once it has been downloaded. But companies like Acast are trying to change that. The curated podcast platform is attempting to help listeners find new podcasts, help creators distribute their content and help advertisers tap into the market with improved targeting and metrics.

With the likes of Acast working on giving advertisers what they want, Buzzfeed considering how podcasts can become visual and Ira Glass focusing on fixing how podcasts can be shared on social platforms, the future is looking bright for this simple, yet personal advertising format (of course until VR takes over).

Peter Purcell
Communications Executive