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.

ART19 and Positively Gam Announce Upcoming Slate of Guests

ART19 announced the upcoming slate for Positively Gam, a podcast from its partnership with Westbrook, hosted by Adrienne Banfield-Norris.

Banfield-Norris, better known as Gammy on Red Table Talk, the show she hosts with her daughter, Jada Pinkett Smith, and granddaughter, Willow Smith, sits down with close friends and experts including Former Senior Advisor to Barack Obama, Valerie Jarrett, Actor Will Smith, actress and Social Media Influencer, Lala Milan & Tabitha Brown, among others. Each episode features raw, in-depth conversations between Gammy and her guests, on everything from aging, relationships, sex and wellness, to the current issues facing the Black community and the inspirational people pushing for progress. Gam shares her perspective on these everyday topics while also learning alongside listeners.

“Westbrook Audio has powerful stories to tell,” said ART19 Chief Revenue Officer Lex Friedman. “Gammy will reach an audience underserved by podcasting, and we’re excited to help them distribute and monetize this series.”

An important upcoming episode features Gam in conversation with her granddaughter Willow Smith discussing Black hair, and another features a dialogue with activist Tamika Mallory on being a single mom, and moving to Louisville, KY for months to work on the Breonna Taylor case.

Adrienne’s conversation with her son-in-law Will Smith dropped on December 16th. In that episode, called “Living Your Life With Compassion,” Will shares his perspective on trying to find common ground with people you may struggle to understand, a topic only more relevant in our increasingly-fractious country.

“Gammy has made her voice and world view known through her incredible work on Red Table Talk,” Friedman said. “We’re excited for listeners and advertisers to hear what happens when she takes over the microphone herself!”

“ART19 has deep experience across podcast sales, operations, technology and support,” said Westbrook’s Media Production Consultant Amanda Brown. “We know we’re in great hands as we continue this journey together.”

Positively Gam, is produced in partnership with Vaseline & Unilever Entertainment, is executive produced by Adrienne Banfield Norris, Jada Pinket Smith, Amanda Brown & Fallon Jethroe. Sim Hothi serves as a co-exec. ART19 is the show’s exclusive distribution and sales partner. The podcast is available on all audio platforms, including Apple and Spotify, with new episodes released every Wednesday.

ART19 Offers Listener-Focused Targeted Ads

ART19 announced that its targeted podcast marketplace now includes more than 200 series, from publishers like Headgum, Macmillan, Kast Media, The Paragon Collective, and Techmeme / Ride Home Media. These listener-focused targeted ads will appear across 200 podcasts.

“Our best-in-class deterministic targeting means that ad buyers can craft personalized messages on a listener-by-listener basis,” said ART19’s Chief Revenue Officer Lex Friedman. “We’re bringing the smarts and effectiveness of digital advertising to podcasts.”

Initially focused exclusively on hosting and dynamic ad insertion technology for enterprise publishers, ART19 expanded its focus to include providing direct monetization for its hosting customers earlier this year, with the hiring of Chief Operating Officer Korri Kolesa and Friedman, both formerly of Stitcher/Midroll.

“Headgum is pleased to be a launch partner in ART19’s targeted marketplace,” said Headgum Co-Founder Marty Michael. “Working with a company that loves podcasts and values listener happiness is really important to us, and no one understands how targeted ads can live alongside live reads better than ART19.”

Currently by invitation-only, ART19’s targeted podcast marketplace matches advertisers with podcasts on a listener-by-listener basis, serving millions of impressions each month, using ART19’s Smart Audiences technology. Both brand and direct response advertisers have seen early success since ART19’s marketplace officially launched in April.

ART19 Completed IAB Podcast Measurement Compliance

ART19, a pioneer in dynamic ad serving and data targeting, is now IAB Tech Lab certified for the new 2.0 measurement guidelines for reporting podcast downloads, impressions and listeners.

ART19 is excited to be one of the few hosting and monetization companies officially certified by the IAB Tech Lab. IAB version 2.0 is a guarantee ART19 is measuring podcast metrics related to content and ad delivery with a uniform, standardized approach defined by the IAB. This additional rigor ensures ads are delivered in their entirety and specific thresholds are met when measuring content.

“We are excited that adoption of the Podcast Measurement Technical Guidelines is gaining momentum and that ART19 is among a group that is taking the lead by having their implementations certified,” said Dennis Buchheim, SVP and GM of IAB Tech Lab. “Through the compliance process, we’re validating that there have been a number of inconsistencies across companies and that the guidelines will significantly benefit the industry by enabling participants to speak the same language.”

Long time ART19 customer Hernan Lopez, Founder & CEO of Wondery, commented “We’ve long been supporters of the IAB V2.0 standard, and commend ART19 for becoming IAB V2.0 certified.”

“We continue to best serve our publishing clients in giving them best in class metrics and reporting,” says Dan Jeselsohn, SVP of Digital Technology of ART19. “We also know these guidelines will help advertisers reach more listeners with ease. They can operate with comfort and scale knowing there is a transparent methodology for measurement being followed.”

ART19 Hires Two Industry Leaders

In a press release, ART19 announced that it has made some new hires. Both of them come from Stitcher. From the press release:

As part of its plan to be the best in class solution for all audio publishing, ART19, a pioneer of dynamic ad insertion and leader in enterprise podcast hosting, is expanding its suite of technology products to advertisers and connecting them more efficiently with content creators.

To drive the new effort, ART19 is hiring proven industry leaders Korri Kolesa and Lex Friedman. Korri Kolesa, former Chief Revenue Officer at Stitcher, is joining as Chief Operating Officer and Lex Friedman, former Chief Business Development Officer at Stitcher, is joining as ART19’s Chief Revenue Officer.

“We are excited to have Korri and Lex join the team,” said Sean Carr, ART19’s CEO. “Their technology backgrounds, advertiser relationships, and proven success at monetizing podcasts makes them a perfect fit to spearhead our expansion efforts.”

“The level of talent and quality of content in podcasting keeps rising,” said Korri Kolesa. “Traditional approaches to podcast sales will need to evolve for revenue to catch up with the spectacular growth of listening in the space. ART19 is focused on building the innovative tools that advertisers need to better connect with audiences – and to make hosts more money for the same great shows they already love making.”

Nick Quah of Hot Pod has some background information. From Hot Pod:

Kolesa departs after slightly more than two years at Stitcher, where she worked to expand the company’s sales infrastructure.

Friedman, meanwhile, leaves after six years at the company, after his own podcast advertising venture, Podlexing, was ingested into what is now known as Midroll 2013. He was part of Stitcher/Midroll Media leadership through the Jeff Ulrich and Adam Sachs years, along with the acquisition by EW Scripps in 2015.

ART19 Raised $7.5 Million in Funding to Develop Podcast Technology

Podcasting technology company ART19 announced it has closed a $7.5 million Series A round led by Bertlesmann Digital Media Investments (BDMI) and DCM Ventures. Other investors that participated in the round include United Talent Agency, Gallo Digital, Zach Coelius, and Array Ventures.

ART19, which has experienced exponential download growth since it launched into beta two years ago is expecting revenue to grow by 300 percent in 2017. The podcast hosting platform provides features, such as its proprietary WarpFeed technology for dynamic ad insertion, to help publishers increase revenues as well.

“There are now more people listening to podcasts in the US than using Twitter,” said Sean Carr, Founder and CEO of ART19. “Our mission is to offer content creators and advertisers tools that help monetization of the medium catch up with that scale. This capital will enable us to greatly accelerate product development and continue supporting revenue growth for our customers.”

“More than 50 percent of podcast listening now happens internationally,” added Carr. “ART19 will soon be expanding into foreign markets. Bertelsmann’s international footprint and DCM’s networks in Asia and elsewhere will open doors for us in many key markets. We’re very excited about our new partners. They’re bringing a lot more than money to the table.”

Feral Audio Partners with Art19

Art19 announced that Feral Audio has enlisted Art19 for all of its hosting, distribution, analytics and ad serving needs. Feral Audio selected Art19 for its WarpFeed technology.

Art19 was founded by software entrepreneur Sean Carr and podcast producer Matt Belknap. Art19 provides tools for hosting, distribution and monetization of podcasts, bringing enhanced listening metrics and ad service technologies to publishers and advertisers.

Feral Audio is the fiercely independent podcast network founded by producer Dustin Marshall (Harmontown, The Duncan Trussell Family Hour, Call Chelsea Peretti) in partnership with Starburns Industries (Community, Rick & Morty, Frankenhole, and Charlie Kaufman’s Anomalisa). Every show on the Feral Audio network is 100% creator-owned, uncut, and unfiltered.

Art19’s WarpFeed Technology provides near real-time RSS ad insertion which supports improved audience targeting and serving of host-read ads, even though the back catalog content. This allows Feral Audio to generate revenue on a considerable amount of inventory that had previously gone unmonetized.

ART19 Launched a Podcast Platform

Art19 logoART19 has launched a podcast platform with enhanced advertising and measurement capabilities. Midroll Media, DGital Media and Wondery are leveraging the platform’s advanced capabilities for dynamic ad insertion, audience targeting and listener measurement.

ART19 was founded by software entrepreneur Sean Carr and podcast producer Matt Belknap. ART19 is emerging from beta following eight months of extensive testing with more than 350 shows.

Midroll Media has begun using ART19 and Midroll will make ART19 its third-party hosting preferred provider. DGital Media is an audio engagement company whose partners include UFC, Recode Media, The Vertical Podcast Network, and more, has partnered with ART19 to host most of its content. Wondery specializes in mobile and on-demand audio story telling and has partnered with ART 19 for all of its scripted and unscripted shows.

New data from Wondery and comScore shows that people prefer ads in podcasts over any other digital medium. ART19’s targeting and measurement capabilities are helping brands leverage this engagement.

ART19’s benefits include:

* Dynamic Insertion of Host-Read Spots: ART19’s proprietary WarpFeed technology enables publishers to update back catalogs with fresh advertising; back catalogs comprise more than 50 percent of listening on some podcasts.

* Ad Targeting: ART19 enables delivery of different ads to different listeners of a podcast episode, even in iTunes

* APIs for Improved Audience Measurement: ART19 players and APIs offer vastly improved listening data relative to what is available in RSS, the distribution format that still dominates the space.