Brand safety is rightfully an important concern for advertisers in today’s overstimulated ‘cancel’ culture. Within podcasting, because shows are often produced independently, there can be concerns about the content of the podcast and its potential impact on a brand’s reputation.
While no medium can fully protect an advertiser from the off-camera antics of its talent, podcasting does have better tools and consumer perceptions that make it a safe choice.
Firstly, comparing podcasts to other media platforms consumer perception is most positive. Data platform Walr and Acast conducted a survey and found 83% of respondents ranked podcasts as the most brand-safe, over other visual and social platforms.
The positive perception of podcast listening could be a result of being an on-demand media. Listeners screen the content they want to hear. Filtering out anything personally offensive and selecting what they are passionate about – even if it has the potential to offend.
While the self-selection nature of podcasts is a benefit, businesses must still consider brand and content alignment. For example, a meat subscription box business won’t want to advertise on an episode exploring vegan diets. Luckily podcasts have an enormous advantage to overcome this. Transcripts! Contextual transcription targeting is a machine learning tool that allows brands to dig down by episode level. This gives advertisers the power to select specific topics that align with the target audience’s interest or avoid negative topics. This is especially useful for programmatic campaigns.
When considering contextual targeting for your strategy, it’s important to take a nuanced approach. Consider the opinion that advertising on shows that don’t 100% align doesn’t necessarily mean it’s harmful. Placing an audio ad in an episode that holds an opposing view to your brand, has the potential to open your business up to a broader audience that may have never heard of it before. However, if your brand has well-established expectations and values you certainly don’t want to violate your audience or harm your reputation. If your brand is still small or you’re seeking growth then it might be beneficial to diversify more.
When running a sponsorship campaign or using the host to read ads, advertisers should add extra emphasis on vetting the host over the show to ensure brand safety. A survey by Sounds Profitable found “The reputation of the host plays larger than the podcast; host safety and suitability is more important than the details of a single episode”. Hosts are influencers, and as such have a brand and following of their own. As the advertiser, you’re going to be associated with both the podcast as well as the host’s brand too.
Podcasts have become an increasingly popular platform for advertising, with many brands seeing the value in reaching engaged audiences through this medium. When it comes to brand safety and sustainability you’re in good hands when it comes to this medium. By clearly defining your brand’s values, performing thorough host vetting due diligence, and using tools like contextual transcript targeting your brand will be well protected.
When it comes to podcast advertising, working with a trusted advertising partner, like NBM, will be the biggest advantage. We have the experience and knowledge to help you identify high-quality podcasts that are a good fit for the brand and your goals. We’ll provide additional oversight and monitoring to ensure that your ad is placed in a safe and appropriate environment.