Omnicom Media Group, the advertising company that’s parent to media buying agencies like OMD, PHD and Hearts & Sciences, has committed to spend $20 million on podcasts through the end of 2020. In a deal with Spotify, the ad agency said it will leverage podcasts for its roster of clients, a list that includes Procter & Gamble, AT&T, Activision, McDonald’s, and State Farm.
“This endeavor exemplifies Omnicom Media Group’s commitment to assuring first-mover competitive advantage for our clients through best-in-class partnerships,” said Catherine Sullivan, Chief Investment Officer at Omnicom in the announcement.
OMD is not a newcomer to podcasting. But its investment in the medium totaled just a few million dollars in 2019 out of the roughly $35 billion managed by the agency for its clients. “It’s a big deal, a very big deal versus what we’ve done in the past,” Sullivan told the Wall Street Journal. What has helped bring the agency along is improved ad tech that allows clients to have a better understanding of whether their podcast ads are reaching their targets and how podcasts fit into the attribution equation. “We know that audio works very well at increasing consumer attitudes and driving action, but we believe that adding addressability to the podcast format may increase metrics even further,” she told the paper.
The Omnicom-Spotify alliance is part of a larger trend. The Journal says iHeartPodcast Network President Conal Byrne told them that more big ad buyers are shifting toward bulk, upfront buys rather than placing ads into an individual show when it launches.
Under the deal Omnicom will have first crack at the platform’s exclusive podcast content. That list is growing longer with The Joe Rogan Experience set to become a Spotify exclusive in September and with other originals and exclusives coming from creators like Jordan Peele, Paul Bae and Reba McEntire. Spotify also launched The Podcast In-App Offers, which brought interactivity to its podcast advertising.
The deal also includes the development of joint research and best practices across targeting, reporting, and measurement capabilities, and custom audio solutions produced by Spotify’s in-house Creative Solutions team.
Lee Brown, Spotify VP/Global Head of Advertising Business, sees the partnership as a “breakthrough moment” for the podcast industry and audio advertising at large. “We couldn’t be more ecstatic to have an agency of Omnicom Media Group’s global influence and imprint recognizing the value of podcasts for their clients in such a significant way,” he said in a statement.