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Introducing the Podcast Industry Glossary

Introducing the Podcast Industry Glossary

Written By

Bryan Barletta

Know the Author

July 18, 2023

On August 23rd, Tom Webster returns to the keynote stage at Podcast Movement in Denver to kick off the second day of the conference. He'll be debuting the most important study Sounds Profitable has undertaken to date: The Podcast Landscape in America. A definitive study on why people do or do not listen to podcasts and what makes them stop listening over time.

In early May of this year, at nearly the same exact time, both Lisa Jacobs of Ad Results Media and Dane Cardiel of Gumball reached out to me with a shared frustration: we lack a central glossary of terms.

That doesn’t mean there isn’t a wealth of knowledge out there in the terms and definitions you’ll find defined after a quick Google search for “Podcast Glossary”. But each of those repositories are built from the perspective of a single individual or company, which introduces bias in the terms selected and the definitions provided.

With the help of Lisa, Dane, and over a dozen more Sounds Profitable partners, we built the first draft of the Podcast Industry Glossary, containing 133 terms. Together, we worked hard to identify all relevant terms to the business of podcasting and collaboratively defined them in a way that reduced confusion and aligned purpose.

But we collectively acknowledged that to be fully representative of our industry, we need to provide the ability for more individuals like yourself to submit new terms and challenge definitions. Which is why we’re opening up this process for public comment for the next two weeks through this form.

“I have spoken on panels and with people, who have been in the industry for a long time, that use terms incorrectly: leveraging host read and baked in as synonyms; that listeners, downloads and impressions are all the same and many more. It is time that we define, as an industry, the different terms for who is reading ads, the way ads are inserted and the way we measure so that we can focus on growth instead of decoding verbiage.”Lisa Jacobs, SVP of Media Operations at Ad Results Media

Growing Together

I spend a lot of time thinking about the marketing of our industry. When I take a step back, what I see is a lot of very skilled companies generating a lot of attention, often by recreating the same work. And it’s not just in the marketing side of our industry where this happens, but the tech side as well. It has always felt like for many companies, anything short of owning the A-to-Z of it would not be worth it.

But the truth is, our industry is too small for us to be stuck in that mindset. Twenty years into podcasting and our biggest competitors are not each other but rather every other opportunity out there besides podcasting, for both consumers and advertisers. It’s a fight for attention across the board. A big part of what we aim to do with Sounds Profitable is to unify our space around content, research, and technology that benefit the entire industry, allowing each of us to build far more creative, unique, and enticing solutions on top of these baselines we can all get behind. And this glossary is a great first step.

“Lack of transparency and alignment of terms make us less efficient as an industry, and attempting to transact with definitions that aren’t similar leads to frustration and potentially some parties being taken advantage of — collaborating with each other on standardization efforts like this one is our quickest path to broader adoption of podcasting as a viable/robust marketing channel.”Dane Cardiel, VP of Creator Partnerships at Gumball

Wrapping It Up

Our goal, once completed, is to present this to the IAB’s around the world, the ANA, and any other organization that would like to support and promote a unified glossary of podcasting terms for the whole industry. We want to create a set of definitions companies can confidently incorporate into their support documentation, educational materials, and sales collateral. Our plan is to revisit these terms on an annual basis as our industry continues to evolve.

In asking all of you to buy into the idea that we need to stop doing duplicative work, our promise to you is that we will continue to make all of this content freely available and designed for your individual and company use. By providing you a finished product, each company can then focus on their unique value proposition, which, afterall, is what every prospective client really wants to see.

This project would not have been possible without the help of the following amazing people who provided considerable amounts of their time to suggest terms, categories, and present definitions.

New Partners

Sounds Profitable exists thanks to the continued support of our amazing partners. Monthly consulting, free tickets to our quarterly events, partner-only webinars, and access to our 500+ person slack channel are all benefits of partnering Sounds Profitable.

  • Bold Collective is the digital anywhere marketplace for buyers and publishers. They power a global audio everywhere marketplace for all direct and programmatic buyers across streaming radio, podcasts, visual audio, in-article audio and DOOH audio.

Want to learn more about partnership? Hit reply or send us an email!

About the author

Bryan Barletta (He/Him) is the founder of Sounds Profitable, and a widely-cited expert in adtech, sales, and monetization of podcasting. He founded Sounds Profitable in 2020 after a successful career working with some of the leading companies in advertising technology, including AdTheorent, Claritas, and Megaphone. Barletta helped to design some of the tools in use by podcast platforms today for attribution, measurement, and serving audio ads, and uses that expertise to help clients and sponsors get the most from their sales and advertising efforts. He founded Sounds Profitable initially as a platform to help educate persons working in the podcast industry about advertising and sales technology, but has since expanded the brand to become the industry’s premiere source for education, advocacy, and insights designed to grow the entire space. He is an avid gamer and father of two boys, neither of whom have their own podcast, yet.