SXM Media: The power of listener data

SVP Lizzie Widhelm explains why podcast measurement is crucial for the ad industry

Although it’s a digital medium, podcasting isn’t as data-rich a medium as many advertisers might expect. Modern marketing strategies rely heavily on data, but that data has to be woven together from a variety of different sources, including tracking pixels, on-platform information and old-fashioned surveys. SXM Media, advertising arm of Sirius XM Holdings, has undertaken a significant amount of research into the podcast listening habits of various demographics, and uses that information - as well as data from many other sources - to help its brand and agency partners run successful campaigns. 

In this week’s episode, Rhianna Dhillon and Reem Makari talk to SXM Media senior vice president of B2B marketing and ad innovation Lizzie Widhelm about the role that listener data and audience measurement plays in the company’s strategy, and how the industry can work together to create more robust data for all, as well as some of the groups that brands are most interested in reaching out to. 

Key takeaways

Every brand’s measurement strategy is unique

“We have thousands of advertisers invested in podcasting, and they all have different measurement strategies. The OG marketer in podcasting was the direct response advertiser; the mattress retailer, direct-to-consumer brand, right? And so they know minute by minute how they're selling, and they're leveraging their own data and their own agency to optimise their campaigns.” 

“[With] advertisers that maybe don't sell their product, like a Procter and Gamble, or a T-Mobile, and trying to help them understand the effectiveness of podcasting compared to streaming or compared to TV, there's many measurement vendors we work with. And I'd say, the thing that's been most important to me is that we're completely agnostic about which measurement vendor we work with.”

Personal endorsements are powerful

“I don't think it's always about [which advertiser] has the most spending power, but it's did you connect, are they going to remember it when they're at the point of sale or at the checkout stand. Of course, someone you love, that you tune into weekly, telling you to go buy something is going to make a more lasting impression than a 15-second ad inserted in between the songs you're listening to, but they cost more, right; they're not the same price. And so it is like product placement back when we were coming up, that's what you would see in the movies, or you would see on television.”

Buy into audio influencers

“When it comes to podcasting, and the host read or even the announcer read, you can have so much more fun if you know the show that you're buying into, or the group of shows. It's more conversational. Some of the ads run long. I mean, Conan O'Brien is famous for riffing for sometimes two minutes on a brand.” 

“You're really buying into an audio influencer. So it's more akin to what you would do in social, it's more aligned with what you would do on YouTube or on TikTok, the ability to do that just comes through [as] more human, and therefore you can meet the listener really where they are in the moment.” 


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