SXM Media Unlocks Podcast Content Targeting at the Episode Level

All podcasts are not created equal. The truth is, not every podcast is the right fit for you and your brand. With nearly 116 million people in the U.S. now listening to podcasts and 43 million podcast episodes in the market, there’s a lot of chatter and messaging being spread out there. With that sort of volume, publishers need smarter tools to connect both listeners and advertisers to content that matters to them.

Applying voice-to-text technology at the episode level enables us to do just that. Currently, we’re in beta with PodScribe Contextual Targeting, powered by AdsWizz, which unlocks two critical capabilities for podcast advertisers:

  1. Brand Safety. Advertisers can apply Comscore’s “brand suitability” segments, which identify topics at the episode level, to ensure they feel confident running in podcast environments that are brand-suitable.
    Virginia Lottery is one of our beta partners, who will be utilizing Comscore Brand Suitability segments. As a government entity, brand safety is very important to them.

“We’re excited to reach our customers with SXM Media’s new podscribe contextual targeting offering, as brand protection is a top concern at Virginia Lottery. Having the ability to anti-target avert specific topics at the episode-level is a huge win to ensure our customers hear our messages in the appropriate context, while not compromising scale.”
-Kevin Hall, Executive Director of Virginia Lottery

  1. Contextual Targeting. Align with niche content at the episode level through hundreds of segments mapped to the IAB Content Taxonomy (the content classification system in the industry).

What Makes Our Technology Smarter?

Although transcription technology is not new to podcast creators, advertisers looking to invest in the space are finding that they need a way to sort through content at scale. Brands today often apply a tedious, manual process of listening to every single episode to then apply show-level targeting. Or, they are resigned to category level targeting or anti-targeting, which often doesn’t provide the optimal level of niche alignment in contextual targeting use cases, or would sacrifice scale to achieve brand safety.

Machine learning analyzes the voice-to-text transcriptions of podcast episodes, which has proved 95%+ accuracy. To date, over four million podcasts on our platforms have been transcribed.

And we care about episodes, not just shows. By looking at topics on the episode level, brands no longer have to avoid entire categories in order to control for brand safety.

In today’s “always-on” news world we live in, Comscores brand suitability segments are updated continuously to keep up with timely content. They’re also MRC (Media Rating Council) certified and TAG (Trustworthy Accountability Group) certified, and quality reviews are done weekly.

Transcription Fuels Relevancy & Discovery

Contextual targeting means brands can align with topics that don’t map to a standard podcast category, providing the ability to align with niche interests.

We’ve found that 72% of Pandora listeners would rather hear or see ads that are relevant to content they’re listening to, and 66% are more likely to engage with ads that are relevant to the content they listen to. In short: brands will benefit from precision alignment in more ways than one.

Transcription technology is also being used to fuel the Podcast Genome Project—our discovery algorithm system that offers personalized listening recommendations. Our science team at SXM Media investigated and validated Speechmatics transcription methods for use. With millions of podcast episodes available, the ability to surface relevant content helps listeners discover new shows to love.

This is good news for creators, too. Their show can align with a variety of targetable topics, not just the category their show falls under. And, there are more opportunities for listeners to discover their show. Since the top 1,000 podcasts only represent around 1% of total podcast shows, transcription technology helps listeners discover the hundreds of thousands of podcasts they might not normally come across.

"David Roth and I do a podcast that spans a fairly broad range of topics, from the serious to the utterly inconsequential. So the idea that listeners, sponsors, and anyone else can find and enjoy super-specific bits they need from our show with a tool like this is incredibly useful. Powerful, even. Almost too powerful. In the wrong hands, who knows how many cases of delicious, refreshing sparkling water could end up selling out on the open market" -Drew Magary, Creator of The Distraction

How Advertisers Can Tap In

In the coming months, we’re planning to make our voice-to-text transcription targeting capabilities available for general use. Not only will advertisers be able to leverage hundreds of categories to align with, they can have peace of mind that their message still serves at scale while controlling for suitable environments. To find out more, contact your SXM Media sales representative.