Study From Gumball, ART19 and Signal Hill Insights Highlight Effectiveness of ‘Talent Read’ Ads

New analysis from Gumball, ART19, and Signal Hill reveals host-read ads can share their effectiveness when they are targeted to other podcasts in an adjacent category or genre, outperforming a standard ‘Announcer Read’ on upper-funnel metrics (download study here)

These ads are defined as ‘Talent Reads’ – ads voiced by talent from an existing podcast who are not featured in the specific podcast where the ad is being inserted. The study indicates that ‘Talent Reads,’ with a 4-point absolute lift in purchase intent compared to the 1-point lift for “Announcer Reads’ are the most effective way to extend host influence and improve programmatic revenue in podcasting. Gumball will begin offering ‘Talent Reads’ in its ad platform in Q2 of 2024.

While programmatic revenue has grown considerably since 2021, it still only represents 11% of total revenue according to the IAB’s most recent revenue study, compared to nearly 90% in digital media more broadly. Gumball, the Headgum-founded ad marketplace specializing in host-read advertising, believes podcast publishers and marketers must develop new products to bridge this gap while aligning themselves closely with what makes podcasting so uniquely effective; creator-endorsed messaging.

“The impact of host-read ads remains central to our business,” said Mary Michael, CEO at Gumball. “It was natural for our team to investigate how to extend that influence at scale to benefit both creators and advertisers. Working with ART19 and Signal Hill Insights on this research allows Gumball to confidently standardize the ‘Talent Read’ ad product and leverage our talent’s influence to adjacent shows within our platform and beyond.”

This brand lift study, conducted by Signal Hill Insights, specifically tested a ‘Talent Read’ for voiced by Tom Bilyeu from the podcast Impact Theory, which was inserted into an adjacent show within the Business & Careers category, excluding those affiliated with Bilyeu. In addition to yielding higher levels of familiarity, affinity, and purchase intent, the ‘Talent Read’ also generated significant lifts in agreement for three brand statement extracted from the ad, whereas the ‘Announcer Read’ only generated significant lifts for two brand statements.

As podcast technology continues to advance and publishers optimize their inventory across direct sales, targeted ad marketplaces, and VAST-enabled Supply-Side Platforms, the ‘Talent Read’ can quickly become a premium offering positioned between host-read ads and ‘Announcer Reads.”

“To reach podcast audiences at scale, advertisers need to access the right technology which provides flexibility to run multiple creative types across their campaigns. Publishers need tools to maximize impression on delivery while leveraging the unique voices of their networks,” said Andy Slater, ART19’s Head of Partnerships and Strategy. “Through this study, ART19 is pleased that we can help both brands and podcasters achieve their goals through activating talent read ads, in addition to the already impactful announcer reads, in our Targeted Audience Solutions marketplace.”

This study not only underscores the importance of creator-endorsed messaging but also presents a significant opportunity for publishers and marketers to extend successful host-read campaigns across adjacent podcasts, thereby maximizing the reach and engagement.

“The results point the way to a three-tier strategy — combining host-reads, talent reads, and announcer reeds —that can help advertisers and agencies maximize the value of their podcast ad creatives,” said Paul Riismandel, Chief Insights Officer of Signal Hill Insights.

Signal Hill’s brand lift study surveyed 800 monthly podcast listeners aged 25-54. Lift results were based upon comparing brand metrics for listeners exposed to the podcast ads to a control group who did not hear the ads.