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Brand safety worries mean marketers are missing out on podcasting’s potential, marketers told

Live reads by popular hosts are the most effective advertising method on podcasts but marketers worried about brand safety are failing to maximise their potential, delegates at Advertising Week in New York have been warned.

Speaking at The Power of Audio Summit, Lex Friedman, chief revenue officer of podcast advertising network Midroll Media, said live reads by hosts resonate best with audiences because there is already an in-built trust. He added they are even more effective if the brand allows the host to inject their own personality into the read.

Lex Friedman, chief revenue officer of Midroll Media

But marketers worried about a lack of control are opting for the safer option of a scripted read by the podcast producer because they are worried about brand damage if the host goes off script.

Friedman said: “You can’t imagine Unilever advertising on a podcast where the host drops the F-bomb, but the audience won’t be offended because they have chosen to be there. They won’t be shocked because that’s what they expect when they tune in.”

He said the less scripted a live read feels, the better the response, but warned advertising time should be restricted to three minutes per hour, far less than radio or television, as tolerance of interruptive advertising is lower among podcast listeners.

Citing survey data from podcast listeners, president and CEO of public broadcaster National Public Media Gina Garrubbo said respondents prefer contextual advertising to paying for content.

She added measurement via pre and post-campaign surveys and web traffic to advertised URLs demonstrate the potential for marketers if they use the channel effectively.

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