In a recent interview with Heather Osgood, Founder of True Native Media, Ilwira Marciszek, SVP of Revenue Operations and Digital Sales for AdLarge, bears witness to the podcast advertising industry's incredible growth over the last several years.
Ilwira, tell us about your background.
Ilwira Marcisek: I have been in audio my entire professional career. I got started at a radio company called Media America. I worked with the same people in the space, always on the audio sales side. Finally, I’ve been an AdLarge for ten years now, which is pretty crazy because that’s how long the company’s been in existence.
What does AdLarge do in the podcast space?
Ilwira Marcisek: We are a dedicated, direct ad sales representation agency for podcasting and radio programming. My focus is podcast ad sales. We are a turnkey sales team; we don’t create or produce our own content. As the sales operations team, we work with many podcasters and focus on the host read premium ad environment. We also try to be educators and get more people involved in the space to benefit the marketplace.
Because you have been in the podcast space longer than most, what have you seen change in the industry?
Ilwira Marcisek: Well, I think it’s important to note that technology has really increased the number of listeners. Smartphones have enabled people to easily consume podcasts daily.
From an advertiser’s perspective, we have seen growth with dynamic ad insertion, pixel-based attribution, and an influx of ad spend. All of this progression also helps independent creators and elevates the medium.
What technology do you feel like we're missing?
Ilwira Marcisek: There’s definitely a need for an independent type of measurement. Maybe like a ComScore, where it’s all measured in the same way, and everyone’s using it. It’s not pay-to-play or opt-in.
I also believe that there’s a need to ease the friction and possible errors of placing a podcast ad buy.
When it comes to campaigns, what are some of the most essential elements to implement when creating effective ad campaigns in podcasting?
Ilwira Marcisek: Podcast advertising is not a one-size-fits-all. It’s essential to consider the environment and the different podcasts you are buying into. Firstly, understand your goals and the audience you’re targeting.
Secondly, we must remember that good storytelling is critical in this medium, where there’s no visual. That can be done by a host or producer, depending on the brand’s needs.
Lastly, I find that campaigns, where the brand is more involved in the buying process and understands the value of podcast ads, can better speak to their listeners. I encourage buyers to listen to snippets of the shows to make sure they are a good fit and align with the brand’s message. That’s where successful campaigns really shine versus marketers who just send copy points full of marketing buzzwords.
It’s the ability to allow the host, or if you’re using prerecorded, to really speak to the listener of that show. Even if it is across various similar podcasts, it needs to be tailored.
Yeah, I agree with that. In your opinion, what are the biggest mistakes advertisers make when running podcast ad campaigns?
Ilwira Marcisek: Being impatient and evaluating podcasting the way that they evaluate other media. Advertisers need to evaluate podcasting on its own. It has a different pace in terms of results; it’s slow-moving and has a long tail compared to social media. Podcasting may also be in a different place on the funnel than their other campaigns. There are many great things about podcast advertising, but there are some things that you need to account for and adjust.
What is more effective, the embedded ad, dynamic insertion, or programmatic ad?
Ilwira Marcisek: I will never say a bad thing about an embedded ad from an advertiser’s perspective. I see why they love host-read embedded ads. However, you can still benefit because a host read ad can be dynamically inserted.
I think that they are both effective, but embedded ads have limitations.
If you need to remove that ad, you have to recut the episode, which is hard to do at scale. I believe that host-read dynamic ads are the most effective in every aspect of the buyer’s journey. Not only are they effective in terms of an ROI or hitting your KPIs, but advertisers have more control, more data, and possibility.
Do you think that pre-produced ads are also really effective?
Ilwira Marcisek: I think there are opportunities where a host-read ad is really the way to go. Then there’s a place for pre-produced ads, when done right, are effective. As long as they’re created with a podcast first mentality. If you’re delivering the advertisement in the way that the listener is used to the host, speaking to them, I think you’re going to have success.
You can also do both and have a great advertising campaign. Bring down your CPM by adding in pre-produced ads at a larger scale. There are ways to really be creative with podcasting.
Yes, I love that observation. So how large does a podcast need to be before it can deliver a successful ad campaign?
Ilwira Marcisek: This is tricky to answer. There is an advertiser for every podcast. Everybody can benefit from a local company to a national brand. Maybe a local company only needs 2000 listeners and would get five new sales from that. And their ROI could be outstanding.
But I think to have a successful campaign; you need a host willing to read an ad where people will listen to that host and perform the action. So size doesn’t matter. It’s just a matter of efficiency.
If you want to reach many people, 50,000 downloads per episode is probably a good place to start. But that doesn’t mean that a show with 25,000 can’t deliver success.
As we look at the growth in the industry, what would you say is kind of untapped for the next one to five years?
Ilwira Marcisek: We’re still at the beginning, and the growth will be beyond what we can imagine. I don’t think anybody would have thought that the current deals would have been here even a year ago. Hundreds of new advertisers are entering every month. So, the trajectory is only upwards, in my opinion.
Visit True Native Media to learn how a podcast representation agency can help you create successful podcast ad campaigns by saving you time and money.