Acast launches new programmatic marketplace for podcast ads
The Stockholm-based company says the quality of its publishers, and its inclusion of mid-roll audio ads, makes this podcast SSP unique.
Podcasts have taken another step toward becoming a full member of the programmatic ad family, with Acast’s private beta launch of a new marketplace.
Based in Stockholm and founded in 2014, Acast hosts, distributes and monetizes podcasts, and it says it offers the largest podcast platform in the world.
The new Acast Programmatic marketplace utilizes the company’s own ad insertion technology, along with supply side platform (SSP) technology from audio ad solution provider AdsWizz. The new SSP will allow agencies, agency trading desks and ad exchanges to buy audio ads on more than 1,400 podcast-based programs, reaching 56 million monthly listeners.
Acast Chief Revenue Officer Ross Adams told me his company inserts ads in real time into the downloading or streaming podcast, when a user selects it from iTunes or other sources. He said that about 35 percent of his company’s podcasts are streamed.
The podcast is actually downloaded or streamed from Acast’s platform, with iTunes and other podcast stores serving as entry points. iTunes accounts for 60-70 percent of the podcast distribution handled by Acast, in addition to other sources.
Real-time bidding is coming in a few months to Acast’s new marketplace, Adams said, but for now, Acast is setting floor prices. The new marketplace will open to the public within a month, he said.
As for targeting, Adams acknowledged that “the podcast industry struggles with demographic data.”
Advertisers in the new SSP can buy audiences by gender, location or age, which is determined by AdsWizz’ matching of third-party data to mobile device IDs detected in Acast’s own app, used by some non-iTunes customers. iTunes doesn’t share its data.
Given that Acast’s app only reaches about 5-10 percent of its total customer base, the specs about gender, location and age are extrapolated from that sample for each podcast.
Adams said there are “a handful” of audio ad marketplaces for podcasts, including two from AdsWizz itself. The difference in Acast’s, he said, is the quality of the participating publishers, and the fact that Acast’s ad insertion tech can offer mid-roll ads — which others do not — as well as pre-roll and post-roll.
Ross said mid-roll was the most valuable podcast ad location, because the listener is already engaged in the program. Ads are either 15 to 30 seconds or 30 to 60 seconds.
Acast’s podcast publishers include Mic, The Economist, Billboard, Vogue, Huffington Post, Financial Times and The Guardian.
Even as this new podcast-oriented SSP spins up, it’s clear that this part of the ad industry has a ways to go. Acast said that only five brands do about a third of all podcast ads.