Matt Rouse: Selling the story of podcast advertising

How Octave Audio's podcast lead brings new advertisers into the industry

Although podcasting has been around for decades, for many advertisers, it remains untested territory. There are a range of benefits to including the medium as part of your advertising mix, but convincing brands to take the plunge can be challenging, particularly if they’re heavily invested in more established formats.

Matt Rouse is well familiar with this challenge, having worked at various agencies for a number of years, and as podcast lead for ad sales venture Octave Audio, part of his job involves explaining some of the many advantages of podcast advertising to clients new to the space. On this week’s episode, Rouse talks Rhianna Dhillon and Reem Makari through his approach to this, and why advertisers need to make podcasting part of their advertising strategy.

Key takeaways 

Don’t bet on big returns

“If you were going to set up a show or become a podcaster and approach it from the angle of, this is gonna be my meal ticket, this is gonna pay my mortgage… that's completely the wrong approach,” Rouse said. “There are hundreds and thousands of creators out there, all creating audio content all the time, and it's not something you make money from, really, unless you are up in that top, top, top 1%.” 

“So it's all about viewing podcasts as maybe another weapon in your arsenal as a creator. Maybe you've got a podcast, but potentially you could have an audience across Instagram. You could be doing content across YouTube and TikTok - all of these things. It's about the whole rather than the individual.” 

Podcasting is about trust

“Podcasts can be quite a frightening space for a client to dip their toe into if they're very, very, concerned about brand safety. because some of the bigger shows and bigger personalities involved in podcasting - I don't want to name any names, but we all know who we're talking about - have been really contentious, going off-topic or speaking to guests that are seen as controversial, and if the big shows are doing that, that doesn't do the smaller shows any favours.” 

“But the way I always try and reassure clients as well is that… it's a talent-led business that you're investing in, and you're buying into that personality… It's that person that you trust to deliver your brand messages in their own voice to an audience that is really, really engaged with their show and what they're saying.” 

Remember what you’re up against

“A lot of my career has been spent agency-side and for a lot of that, I'd be in a room, essentially competing for budget against other mediums. So it's not only about proving that the medium you’re pitching for budget for works, but it's also about trying to maintain its place on the plan as well.” 

“Audio radio, especially, when budget cuts come down, they would often be the first thing to be removed from the plan. So my heart has been broken many times over the years by radio and audio being removed from media plans.”


Matthew Rouse

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Spotify announces new features for podcasters

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Sound investments: Why economics podcasts are the next big trend

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“Don’t reinvent the wheel”: How to start advertising on podcasts

Measuring ROI for podcast advertising campaigns

Are podcasts the future of the publishing industry?

How podcasting became a key medium for delivering news

SXM Media: The power of listener data

What makes a successful podcast advertising strategy?


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