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AI-Powered Tool To Sell Podcast Ads Arrives, With Potential To Direct More Dollars Beyond Big Shows.

As audio companies look for ways to use artificial intelligence to improve their operations, AI has come to podcast ad buying. After nearly two months of testing, the podcast intelligence company Podchaser today launches an AI-powered tool that will allow marketers to target podcast listeners using a collection of data inputs. The beta testing has already revealed ways that what is branded as Collections+ will drive ad dollars deeper into the medium.

“We’re turning what was once the art of podcast buying into a true science using everyone’s best friend – AI,” says Podchaser CEO Bradley Davis.

At its core, the Collections+ tool will use AI to compile data on podcasts and their audiences at a depth and speed that would be impossible for humans to match in the same timeframe. It pulls data from sources that include the podcasting’s hosting platform as well as Podchaser’s first-party data, Apple Podcasts and Spotify category and chart data, IAB categories, surveys and transcriptions.

The data is then synthesized using AI models, sorting podcasts into verticals based on all available data points. Podchaser says that allows it to create the highest-quality collections for advertisers to target against in the industry, replacing the traditional method, where podcasts are categorized manually into groups which advertisers then choose to buy against for their campaigns.

“Collections+ isn’t about reducing a human element, but rather enabling ways for technology to power humans to make decisions that improve profit margins for podcasters and increase podcast advertising effectiveness,” Davis says. Despite AI’s machine-focused data analysis, he says the tool can be enabled across any podcast ads, regardless of whether they are bought programmatically, directly through a sales representative, or via a self-serve platform. And while it has been owned by Acast since last year, Collections+ is being pitched to any hosting platform or marketplace.

Leveraging transcripts to target listeners is a tool that has found adoption across the industry. But while Collections+ does use that as its input, Davis tells Podcast News Daily that by leveraging AI, they are able to use them in a new way.

“Transcripts can be a useful input, but they can also be noisy,” Davis says. “We utilize them together with show and episode level metadata that most shows are already producing, which Podchaser leverages to build a new proprietary dataset, including things like semantic similarity to other shows and demographics.”

Getting More Podcasts On The Ad Buy

Podchaser has been testing Collections+ with advertisers using its parent Acast for seven weeks. Since the testing began, Collections+ has been used by over 150 brands on nearly 400 campaigns across thousands of podcasts. Davis sees it as an encouraging sign that a “healthy number” of those have been repeat bookings. “It’s clearly working for advertisers – especially in the U.S.,” he says.

The promise of Podchaser’s new AI tool is finding a way to funnel more advertising dollars to more podcasts, as the data it is using to build its collections for buyers is likely to include more than just the big hit shows. Davis says Collections+ allowed Acast to monetize five percent more shows during the seven-week trial than it normally does.

Bringing ads to more podcasts is critical for the industry to grow overall, according to experts. Davis points out that research conducted earlier this year by Podchaser and Acast revealed 44% of U.S. podcast advertising investment lands with the top 500 shows. “These shows only account for 12% of monthly reach, which means advertisers are missing the opportunity to target nearly 88% of the addressable podcast audience,” he says.

Davis says Collections+ will also work to benefits marketers. “For advertisers Collections+ means greater scale, increased longevity of creatives, improved campaign diversity, and overall greater campaign effectiveness,” he says. “Collections+ also allows for greater discoverability of podcasts for advertisers, which means increased revenue opportunities and more monetization potential for more podcasts throughout the industry.”

For example, a podcast may present itself as focusing on travel, but through Collections+ Podchaser can deduce that episodes veer heavily into discussions around, say, mental health as well as self-development, allowing that show to be included in more relevant sales verticals.

“With this information, the podcast can now be included in much more relevant sales verticals, which makes the podcast more easily accessible to podcast advertisers,’ Davis says. “By increasing this accessibility, Collections+ effectively makes the podcast available to new, more relevant advertisers and, in turn, connecting the advertiser to new and more engaged listeners.”

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