Independent Podcast Company Acast Makes Waves With New Self-Serve Advertising And First-Party Data Targeting
Acast, the world’s largest independent podcast company, is changing the podcast advertising industry with new features, like its self-serve advertising platform and first-party data targeting. These features allow advertisers to be more precise with their target demographic and to operate podcast advertising within their own terms and budget.
Today, we’re speaking with Niklas Lagerberg, a product manager at Acast with a focus on ad-buying, particularly in the self-serve ad-buying space.
He shares, “I spend my time trying to meet and learn as much as I can about ad buyers, like advertisers, agencies, even podcasters, and what their wants and needs are in this space.”
What is Acast?
Founded in 2014, Acast is a hosting distribution and monetization podcast platform for creators and advertisers. According to our most recent financial report, Acast hosts more than 88,000 podcasts and more than 430 million listens each month. Acast operates globally, with its headquarters in Stockholm, Sweden.
Acast offers the tools creators need for podcast making, including hosting, distribution, promotion, analytics, and monetization features. For brands, they offer podcast advertising to help drive sales, share your message with engaged listeners, and increase brand awareness.
Niklas explains, “We’re also a monetization platform, meaning we help those podcasters make money from their trade, so we sell ads on those shows, and we split that income with them on a revenue split base. We distribute these to millions and millions of listeners across the world. What sets up apart from our competition is that we’re platform agnostic, meaning anywhere you listen to podcasts – if it’s Apple or Google or your own niche podcast catcher.”
Acast’s New Self-Serve Advertising Platform
From the beginning, Acast has been selling ads on its podcast shows. However, they recently noted some considerable changes in the advertising landscape.
Niklas shares, “There are new types of buyers coming up, and not everyone fits the bill of the norm, if you will, which are those huge brands and agencies. There’s a lot of smaller players on the market right now, where they might have budgets that don’t allow them to start it [podcast advertising].”
He explains that many companies can’t drop 10,000 pounds on podcast advertising, especially when they have no proof that this advertising will be effective for them.
Niklas adds, “There’s a big opportunity for us to accommodate these buyers by saying, hey, here’s the platform where you can manage and set up you campaigns by yourself. You decide whatever budget you want, and they can then play around with it. Book these smaller campaigns and then ramp up once that value they’re looking for is proven.”
In short, Acast’s new self-serve platform provides small businesses with unique opportunities to experiment with podcast advertising on their terms.
Acast’s First-to-Market Advertiser-Owned First-Party Data Targeting Solution
Keyword Targeting is a tool within our suite of Conversational Targeting tools that can be used in any advertising campaign. This story currently reads that it’s available only with First Party Data Targeting when in fact they are two different targeting capabilities. It would be accurate to say that Acast offers First-Party Data Targeting and Keyword Targeting for advertisers.
The platform supports prerecorded ads, meaning ads that the podcast host does not read. Then, the ads are spliced into the podcast show based on targeted criteria from the ad buyer.
Niklas explains, “Instead of the ad buyer making a deal with a specific set of shows, you instead say, I want to target shows that are talking about this topic, or it falls into this category of listeners that are listening in this specific location, speaking this language.”
The program is so specific that advertisers can choose keywords that hosts must say in the podcast, and Acast will match the ad to that podcast.
He adds, “Ads are bought not on a show-by-show basis, but rather on criteria, and we call that targeting, so the platform can actually provide data when it comes to reach and demographics and targeting. There’s a set of targeting criteria, podcast categories in geographic location, I think, are the most popular. Gender and age are also demographic properties you can use to target your audience.”
Behind the Scenes with the Brands
One of Acast’s biggest success stories is the British Newspaper Happy News. All of the news they share is happy, and their paper is distributed solely in print. However, during recent economic downturns, Happy News experienced some struggles. They reached out to Acast to help market their newspaper, and the Acast team successfully got them started with podcast marketing on their terms.
Niklas shares that Acast doesn’t produce podcast ads for interested brands. However, they do have partnerships with agencies worldwide that can accommodate many podcast ad creation needs and budgets. The Acast team is also happy to hop on a call with interested advertisers.
Niklas shares, “We do a lot of calls with advertisers to sort of explain how it works and what is podcast advertising… more like why is podcast advertising so great over other media and when it comes to podcast advertising, what’s your reason for this? What do you think is going to happen?
Interested brands can visit Acast’s website and contact the team via their email address or contact form.
The Future of the Podcast Space
Niklas anticipates that the buying landscape will continue evolving, especially as new agencies and companies continue to pop up.
He adds, “I think the buying landscape will change the rule of the big behemoths. I think that’s over, at least in the way it has been, since there are new types of agencies and companies popping up all the time. I think to be successful, you need to understand what these guys want and need. We see a lot of brands, instead of hiring normal kinds of agencies, they have an independent market, like a young person that can leverage their needs much better and to a much more reasonable price.”
Upcoming Company Plans
The Acast team is very excited to continue seeing the results of their recent first-party data targeting solutions and self-serve advertising platform.
Niklas shares, “We’re looking for right now to further the offering in our platform, so we want to explore if and how we host rates in. We want to grow the features and the options we have to accommodate even more types of buyers.”