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iHeartMedia Launches Programmatic Marketplace For Podcast Ad Buyers.

Technology developed by Voxnest is being paired up with the iHeartPodcast Network’s vast reach to create a first-of-its-kind private programmatic marketplace for advertisers. The iHeartMedia Private Marketplace will tap into a growing interest from ad buyers to transact their podcast buys using programmatic systems.

The new marketplace allows brand advertisers to create their own unique, tailored marketplaces – composed of their specific audience targets and pricing, to dial up and down across each year as their marketing needs require. It will span the entire iHeartPodcast Network which has more than 30 million U.S. monthly uniques and 257 million global downloads and streams, according to Podtrac. And because Voxnest aggregates inventory across several smaller programmatic platforms, iHeartMedia also believes its marketplace will have more appeal to ad buyers in search of a one-stop-shop marketplace.

Brian Kaminsky, Chief Data Officer and President of Revenue Strategies for iHeartMedia, said the marketplace connects all of the fragmented platforms that exist in podcasting. “The launch of this Private Marketplace is a huge milestone in the podcast industry and advances these capabilities to buyers,” said Kaminsky. “We acquired Voxnest last fall with the plan to be able to provide podcast advertisers with additional targetable inventory at scale by allowing the effective and efficient monetization across an entire range of podcast inventory,” he said in a statement.

The new technology developed by Voxnest will allow advertisers to target podcasts by content, using podcast show categories as a guide. They will also employ geolocation technology to allow marketers to geographically target their buys. And iHeart is tapping into consumer psychographics using a suite of data that will enable brands to buy across a set of shows that speak to specific consumer behaviors like the conqueror, explorer, legend, cultivator, decider, thriver, rising star, advocate, backer and intrepid.

“Our podcasts attract some of the most engaged and passionate podcast listeners in the world,” said Kaminsky. “And now advertisers will have massive scale and highly specific targeting at their fingertips, to reach these hundreds of millions of listeners who are now consuming podcasts.”

In October iHeartMedia announced its $50 million acquisition of Voxnest, a move that executives said was geared toward monetizing the so-called “longtail” of the podcast industry.

“We have the largest audio sales force in America by a lot with thousands of sales professionals out selling audio and we are able to hit it from many angles. Buying Voxnest allows us to be more into the programmatic space to sell some of that inventory,” iHeartMedia CEO Bob Pittman told an investor conference in December. He said roughly 20% to 30% of podcast ad avails are either unsold or under-monetized. “To fill in the holes, we needed a programmatic platform and Voxnest fills that hole for us and allows us to very efficiently pick up those bits and pieces and turn them into significant revenue,” Pittman explained.

The deal also gave iHeart a new content funnel since Voxnest’s assets include the Spreaker publishing platform used by producers to record and publish their shows. Voxnest also has a wider global footprint, giving iHeart a reach into the rapid growth of podcast listening in other parts of the world.

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