by Jason Endes,  Associate Media Director of National Audio. He specializes in podcast strategy and buy implementation for our clients.

Key Takeaways from the 2020 RAIN Podcast Summit

On March 4, 2020 thought leaders across the podcast industry met at New World Stages in New York to discuss the latest business and marketing trends in podcasting. The RAIN Podcast Business Summit is “The only podcast event focused exclusively on the business of podcasting, and its unique advantages to advertisers and marketers,” said James Cridland, Founder & Editor of Podnews.

The conference hosted seven panels with panelists ranging from media executives, data attribution experts, agency marketers, and content creators. Three key takeaways from the conference are:


Content Growth

Overall, there are currently over 900,000 podcasts in existence. Content has not shown any slowdown with 52,000 new podcasts created in the month of February. While 900,000 seems like a huge number, that is roughly the same number of websites that existed in 1997. These were numbers cited during the keynote panel entitled “Making Audio Businesses with Artistry, Vision, and Enterprise” moderated by Marty Moe, President, Vox Media.

In addition to increasing numbers, the panelists discussed extraordinary growth in creativity. Podcasters were developing popularity within their podcasts and are now expanding beyond podcasts to increase revenue streams. Some podcasters are developing academic content for universities, television series, conferences, live events, and merchandise. Podcasts have, and will continue, to provide influencers an opportunity to enhance their brands and scale their business.

Martina Castro, Founder and CEO, Adonde Media, sees a growing opportunity in non-English language content. The vast majority of podcasts are currently available in English language only. She stated that 50% of Latin America that listen to podcasts, listen in English. There’s an opportunity to grow the medium outside of English language content to capture those who are most comfortable accessing content in their native languages.


Attribution and Measurement

The most important conversations at the summit centered around attribution and measurement. Industry experts from the three major third party podcast attribution companies: Barometric, Chartable, and Podsights along with Nielsen discussed the improvements made in this area over the last few months.

Bruce Supovitz of Nielsen said that the organization conducted a poll of podcast buyers in 2019. Of those surveyed, 83% stated that podcast measurement is fair or poor. Measurement is top of mind for Nielsen and their goal is to provide the right product for this industry. Matt Drengler, VP Business Development, Barometric stated some advertisers are seeing upwards of 30-40% lift in podcast campaigns they are measuring via their attribution tools.

Nielsen has introduced its Podcast Listening Buying Power Service to the ad community. Nielsen went back to all respondents of its Scarborough survey and asked them additional questions regarding podcasts such as genres they listen to, which podcasts and how often they listen to podcasts. Nielsen’s goal is to provide a profile of their listeners and what their listening habits are. According to Supovitz, 120 podcasts are part of that survey.

When combining Nielsen’s service as a pre-buy tool to choose podcasts, and then utilizing third party attribution to track campaigns, marketers have more tools than ever before to enhance the potential for campaign success.

Furthermore, the leading direct response agencies in the country are seeing real results from podcasting. Previous methods such as promo codes and vanity URLs didn’t capture all the attribution marketers were getting from podcasting. Agency representatives from AdResults and Veritone One stated the attribution tools provide an opportunity to track success even for those advertisers who don’t have strong promo codes or any promo codes at all. Both agencies are seeing clients double budgets after seeing results of the attribution data. Sean Creeley, Founder, Podsights, believes a trend to look for is the migration from digital budgets into podcasting. It’s this additional audience and attribution insights that will attract the attention of digital buyers.


Targeted Podcast Advertising

While the allure of podcast advertising has been “host read” endorsements, there has been a growing trend to dynamic ad insertion (DAI) and targeted ad buys. Lex Friedman, CRO, Art19 said that targeted ads limit waste. He provided the example of a male baldness product. Having a host read this ad to his whole audience isn’t as effective as simply targeting male listeners that are in the process of balding with an ad. Furthermore, panelists agreed that these type of ad buys show respect to the listener by creating assets that make sense for the individual listener.

Another future trend to look for is the rise in addressable advertising in the medium. As the podcast industry wains off the dependence of Apple as a listening application, this industry will become much more addressable as other hosting services and listening channels are able and willing to provide much more data points.



Read Jason’s previous article: “Podcasting on the Rise with Measurement Following Suit”


RAIN Podcast Summit Panel 1


RAIN Podcast Summit Panel 2