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Acast launches podcast episode-level conversational targeting advertising capability

Independent podcast company Acast has launched new Conversational Targeting capabilities for advertisers. Available now, exclusively through the Acast Marketplace, Conversational Targeting allows brands to
target podcast conversations at individual episode level, across every listening app out there — ensuring their messages are heard in even more relevant context than ever before.

Using advanced speech-to-text transcription technology combined with artificial intelligence and natural language processing, Acast is continually transcribing and analysing hundreds of thousands of individual podcast episodes across its network of shows. Each episode is then categorised according to the industry-standard IAB content categorisation taxonomy (v2), ensuring ad campaigns are automatically served against episodes of the highest relevance for their brand message.

Until now, it was only possible to target by category at show level, and each episode was effectively categorised and labeled in the same way. Now, advertisers can dramatically expand their reach, and might appear on podcasts covering categories as diverse as sports, beauty or politics — all because the subject matter of that particular episode is directly relevant to their campaign.

For example, a food delivery service can target individual episodes of a podcast where the hosts discuss what they’re having for dinner, or their love of cooking — even if that happens to be a podcast from a quite different genre. Where previously a podcast and its ad inventory was tagged only in relation to its genre, knowing the episode-level context of the conversation actually happening — and that this one covers categories like “food” and “cooking” — highlights new, untapped opportunities for relevant brands.

Crucially, Conversational Targeting offers advertisers greater relevance without targeting individual listeners, or using user-based IDs or personal information — maintaining privacy and protecting the listener experience. Furthermore, for podcasters, these new capabilities open up more of their catalog for potential advertising and associated revenue.

Acast is also working to add further capabilities to its Conversational Targeting suite this year, including the ability to target by specific keywords and topics, and by sentiment and emotion.

At launch, Conversational Targeting supports Dutch, English, French, German, Italian and Spanish, and later this year will extend to Swedish and Norwegian.

Chris Wistow, Acast’s VP of advertising product, said: “We’ve always been proud of Acast’s hard work to innovate the advertising experience, while crucially protecting the valuable listening experience. We have a responsibility — to both our podcasters and their fans — to help the brands we work with find the best, most relevant conversations to be part of, and Conversational Targeting allows us to do exactly that.

“We’re also conscious of the acceleration towards greater user privacy — the need to move beyond individual user-level targeting, and for digital advertising solutions to evolve and innovate for intelligent, privacy-safe, contextual targeting. Conversational Targeting helps us and our advertiser partners to get ahead of the game, and to continue to lead the way in podcast advertising globally. And, in turn, that will allow us to spread even more advertising dollars to even more podcasters.”

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