October 1, 2023


Travel Adventure

Amplifying Programmatic Podcast Advertising With SXM Media

2 min read
Lizzie Widhelm, SVP, ad monetization & B2B marketing, SXM Media

Albeit from a far smaller base, the growth of podcast advertising – up 26% YOY in 2022 to $1.8 billion – is outpacing the total online ad market, according to the IAB.

Podcast ad revenue is set to hit roughly $4 billion by 2025, driven in large part by programmatic buying.

But there is still some hesitancy among buyers looking for assurances about brand safety, suitable contextual alignments, predictable delivery patterns, measurement and audience targeting – all the usual stuff they need in place before scaling their spend.

Podcast advertisers want tools “that allow them to feel good about their programmatic buys,” says Lizzie Widhelm, SVP of ad innovation and B2B marketing at SXM Media, the sales group for Pandora parent company SiriusXM, speaking on this week’s episode of AdExchanger Talks.

“It’s just harder with podcasting,” Widhelm says.

Because songs have set lyrics, it’s relatively easy to determine whether streaming music audio content is brand safe and/or suitable, and then to buy a 15- or 30-second spot in a stream. Done and done.

But podcasts include unfiltered conversations, every episode is different, and there are way more ad format types, some of which are embedded into a show (like a live host-read ad) and others that can be bought programmatically and dynamically inserted.

“Finding your audience and understanding whether you want to be in hip-hop or country and buying a 30-second ad is very well understood – the transparent data signals exist,” Widhelm says. “When you jump into podcasting, there’s just more complexity.”

Also in this episode: The rationale behind SiriusXM’s recent decision to shut down Stitcher, how to use synthetic voices, AI-powered tools for podcast monetization, refining audience targeting in audio and sailing as a metaphor for life and business.


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