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Ad Buying Executive Says Programmatic Sales Help Connect Podcasts To Other Digital Channels.

“Audio is so much more than it used to be,” says Jen Soch, Executive Director of Channel Solutions at GroupM. In an interview with Beet.TV, she says the media buying agency is today looking at its advertiser budgets and considering audio more of a complement to what clients are doing in digital and connected television. “Audio itself has grown tremendously in the last couple of years,” she said. “We used to just talk about terrestrial [radio], and we’ve morphed into this new area with streaming and podcasting.”

Soch calls podcasting “the shining star” in audio, pointing to how media habits changed during the pandemic and that became the catalyst for an evolution in how brands buy media. And while some podcast companies have now moved on from some celebrity-laden projects, Soch credits the appearance of actors and other famous people in podcasting when Hollywood was mostly closed down for helping the medium grow. “You felt like you had this one-on-one connection with celebrities,” she says.

In the newly released Beet.TV interview, recorded at the IAB Annual Leadership Meeting in January, Soch says that the ability to buy podcasts through direct sales or via programmatic platforms is also helping to sweeten its appeal to marketers. There are also better methods to track audio spending than in the past.

Soch also tells Beet.TV that programmatic platforms now offering host- and producer-read ads has further increased interest in podcasting, with the medium increasingly looking like how YouTube creators and influencers work with brands.

But regardless of whether an ad is host-read or not, Soch says that podcast buys start with brand safety, calling it the “the most important thing” that the buying shop does for clients.

“We work with podcasts and bring them on to [an] inclusion list so that we have a safe environment for our clients. And then we're working with vendors that are our partners – some of them are scanning the podcasts using a lot of AI and technology to understand what's actually there and giving us dashboards to say this content is brand safe for you,” Soch says. “It's giving us a verification tool, and it's giving us much more hope for the future or really being able to take the learnings from podcasting and start to bring it in measurement tools and combine it [into] more of a cross channel measurement perspective.”


Watch the full Beet.TV interview HERE.

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