IAB releases Podcasting Buyer-Seller Checklist to improve campaign effectiveness

Trade body urges brands to communicate objectives and expectations clearly

The Internet Advertising Bureau has released a new Podcasting Buyer-Seller Checklist, giving brands, agencies and media owners the tools to help ensure smoother and more successful campaigns.

The checklist aims to help agencies, brands, publishers and adtech providers understand what the latest strategies and techniques are in podcast advertising, and provide them with a framework which can help determine their objectives, target the right audiences, and measure success.

According to the 2023 IAB Podcasting Buyer-Seller Checklist, before investing in podcast advertising, brands must clearly communicate with podcasters what their main objectives and realistic expectations are in order to run an effective campaign.

The IAB also noted that it’s important for brands to be as “detailed as possible” when it comes to determining their goals and KPIs for specific campaigns, as they may differ from one campaign to the next. They can include goals like launching a new product, increasing brand awareness, or generating sales.

To achieve those goals, brands would then need to be realistic about what they are capable of achieving when it comes to deadlines, setting a budget, frequency, and expected number of listeners and downloads, and how that will be measured once the campaign goes live. 

Every successful campaign starts with a strategic approach,” the report said. “If a podcast publisher isn’t clear at the outset on what a brand or agency partner wants out of a campaign, their ability to optimise and deliver outcomes for the advertiser is going to suffer."

“This may seem obvious, but buyers and sellers of podcast advertising across IAB membership have reported that this foundational aspect of setting up a successful campaign often gets lost in the chaos of day-to-day business operations.” 

Setting brand goals will also help reach the right audience, as buyers should be sharing “as much information as possible” about who their target audience is before the campaign starts. Sellers should also be providing details about what type of audience they could reach based on previous campaigns. Some podcast advertising platforms - such as Barometer and Sounder - use AI-powered contextual targeting solutions to make sure that brands are reaching the right audience and that the content is brand safe and suitable. 

The creative approach used in the podcast advertising campaign should be determined during the audience and media stage of planning, looking at what type of podcast advertising best reflects the buyer’s identity and goals. For some, this could mean host-read sponsorships, which can help build brand awareness due to the trust that listeners have with the podcast hosts.

Programmatic spot ads can also be a more cost-effective way to advertise on podcasts, as long as they match the tone of the show. Otherwise, brands can look at taking a more creative approach with branded podcasts or multi-platform campaigns, which take more time and effort but can be highly effective in building brand awareness and trust. 

Once a podcast advertising campaign goes live, it’s then important to have a clear line of communication when it comes to following up and measuring results in order to make sure that the campaign has run effectively and to learn what went right or wrong for future campaigns. Some platforms, such as Podchaser’s newly-launched Aircheck tool, provide advertisers with insights on campaigns that are in-flight, using AI to identify keywords and patterns and feeding them back to advertisers. 

“The ability to measure outcomes in podcasting has matured greatly, and buyers should never assume that a particular form of measurement can’t be done,” the report said. “Publishers and measurement companies can create custom solutions to suit many different online and offline measurement needs, so brands should come to the table with specific questions about how they can measure the KPIs underlying their campaigns.”

To curate the checklist, the IAB included input and support from a Working Group which included members from podcast platforms and advertisers like AdLarge, Barometer, SXM Media, Triton Digital, iHeartMedia, Athletic Greens, Cumulus Media, and more.