Bryan Barletta returns with the annual Sounds Profitable roundup of podcast industry highlights. Collected in the piece are the year’s acquisitions and investments, sorted by what sector of podcasting was affected (e.g. monetization, creator tools, hosting). 2023 can now be reflected on as the year podcasting found a ‘new normal’ after stabilizing from the pandemic spike in 2020. Efficiency and education is now the name of the game, with growth-at-all-costs mentality taking a back seat to refining and fostering existing content. [Source]
Ambassador Ads are going away.
As of Valentine’s Day this year, Spotify will be deactivating Ambassador Ads, a feature that allowed podcasts hosted on Anchor (now Spotify for Podcasters) with 50 or more listeners could make money with host-read ads promoting Spotify podcast hosting. The company says they are shifting resources and focus to their Automated Ads program. As of this writing, Automated Ads are purely an invite-only program and there is no official rubric establishing the required show metrics needed to qualify for an invite. This leaves an open niche on the small-but-mighty side of podcasting. With the retirement of Ambassador Ads, the list of formal monetization options with podcast hosts continues to shrink. [Source]
The Untapped Potential of Audio in Retail Media Networks by Joshua Yamuder
Joshua Yamuder, Director of Partnerships and Programmatic Marketplace at Triton Digital, proselytizes the world of digital audio to retail media networks looking to diversify advertising budgets. After all, audio gets attention. According to Dentsu data, audio ads generate correct brand recall 41% of the time during their study with Lumen last August. A 3% increase from the average of 38% with other forms of advertising. As Yamuder says, retailers looking to build awareness, grow engagement, and increase sales will find digital audio to be a vital part of a marketing mix. [Source]
If music marketing is a gateway to culture, brands must navigate carefully, execs say by Kimeko McCoy
With the shifting landscape of data collection, campaign targeting, and the eternal uphill struggle to find engagement, brands are turning to popular music for viral hits. From Boys 2 Men covering the Chili’s baby back ribs jingle, to General Mills promoting monster cereals with a zombie DJ remix of Monster Mash. Though music executives warn these music strategies must keep the overall historical and cultural significance of the music and its fanbase in mind. Using a song or artist purely as a vehicle for increasing a brand’s street cred can come off as inauthentic and cause backlash. The same is also true for podcasting. Passionate fans of an IP or creator are excellent allies as they’re the most engaged part of the audience, but that also means they’re more likely to bounce off a campaign if the presentation is inauthentic. [Source]
…as for the rest of the news: The recently-canceled podcast Death, Sex & Money from WNYC has been revived by Slate, and if you’re interested in more coverage of marketers seeking authenticity in their campaigns: check out Digiday’s piece on brands shifting their approach to influencers.