Dynamic Ad Insertion – What it is and Why You Should Be Utilising it

Dynamically Inserted Advertising or ‘Dynamic Ad Insertion’, is the concept of placing audio adverts in podcast episode downloads, with businesses paying to have their advert available for a certain amount of impressions or plays.

This style of advertising is a hot topic at the moment and one which is still having its pros and cons debated – we look at what potential there is for both podcasters and businesses alike, how to use it to its best potential and what it means for the podcasting industry.

What’s all the fuss about?

Dynamic ad insertion is a simple approach to advertising which offers many possibilities for both podcast producers and those looking to invest: it allows podcasts to monetize their programme, whilst retaining authority over their show, and businesses to target specific audiences.

The real beauty of it as an advertising format is the flexibility it allows for both parties, there are no specific guidelines regarding length, format, and placement (beginning, middle or end of the content) and literally when the ad is placed: advertisers can place an ad post podcast publishing meaning it doesn’t date.

What’s the catch you’re rightly wondering, well, the real potential risk is to the host/listener relationship and podcast producers should tread carefully as a misplaced ad could potentially risk the bond of trust. However, when used correctly it is a powerful tool to have in your content strategy ammunition.

Sarah van Mosel states, “Dynamic ad insertion is one end of the evolving podcast ad spectrum, with branded content on the other extreme and baked-in ads in the middle. As a marketer, I’d rather have more options, than less.”

How to make it right for your show

If dynamic ad insertion is a route you’re considering exploring, your audience should always be at the forefront of your mind. The listener experience is of the utmost value and to make sure it doesn’t get devalued podcasters need to consider everything from music fades to how the advert is read.

For example, for an indie style podcast looking to create the feeling of a more ‘natural’ advert, the host would ideally read the ad, in turn allowing it to have more impact. At the other end of the spectrum, something which would be less well-received are big brand advertisers running a traditional radio spot style advertising – something which would seem out of place in this context.

Both these styles of ad insertion have their place but they need to be considered as to whether they’re appropriate for the show. Another ad format worth considering is talent read ads, which if done correctly don’t disrupt the host read experience podcast listeners have become accustomed to.

Podcast advertising: The current market

But what does dynamic ad insertion mean for the industry and costing? Those in the know see it as a necessary shift in the market, allowing podcasting as a medium to scale beyond a few dozen large podcasts and permitting the sector to modernize.

Some industry insiders, such as Lex Friedman of Midroll, see the move as something which could potentially clutter podcasts with cheap radio ads at bargain-basement CPMs but this theory seems to be unsubstantiated as Bryan Moffett states: “Serial used dynamic ad insertion for season two, without any ill-effect on audience growth as evidenced by the many millions of people who listened.”

Most importantly though, what does this mean for costs? Well, we are still to see the direct effect on pricing and only time will tell but at the moment costs are currently in the region of $15-$30 per 1,000 listeners – roughly 5 times more than a traditional radio spot.

What’s the downside?

Some industry members believe that podcasters should tread with caution – the combination of dynamic ad insertion and programmatic ad buying bring a risk of commodification of ad impressions in downloads.

However, there are ways to counter this, savvy podcasters with an eye to the future will understand which of their products has premium content value and will be to able counter the drop in CPM or ad revenue.

To further offset the issue podcasters could also look to combine video with audio and click-through ads and some podcasts have the opportunity to sell commodities via their show, e.g tickets or products.

Overall, dynamic ad insertion as a form of podcast advertising is on the rise due to the flexibility it offers both on the sales and investment side of business and if it’s not already in your communications strategy it’s something you should be considering.

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