Transcription Targeting is Officially Here, and Here’s Proof It’s Already Working
If content is king, contextual targeting is the royal carriage that lets you best deliver your message. (Stay with us here.)
With 43 million active podcast episodes, there really is something for everyone. And the millions of people listening to podcasts are equally as diverse, from their identities to their passions. This means that targeting these listeners takes more than just surface level tactics. Getting your message in the right context matters. A lot.
As data gathering changes (you might’ve heard about Apple’s IDFA tracking changes), advertisers are eager to find new, reliable data sources. In the past, you could use IP addresses to collect information on listeners’ behaviors and target that way. (To be honest, that method had its flaws, including stereotypes, missed audiences, and questions about brand suitability.)
Now, advertisers of all sizes, from national brands to local mom-and-pops, want to do more than just reach listeners. They want more choice, more control, and easier access to the very best niche audiences and shows.
The solution? New contextual targeting capabilities. Brands can now get down to the nitty gritty of shows, thanks to transcription targeting. This voice-to-text technology can target specific show topics at an episode level—think a “health & fitness” show that talks about “nutrition”—and avoid topics you don’t want (like violence).
Transcription Targeting Saves Time and Boasts Accuracy
In the past, brands would have to listen to each individual episode, then decide if they were relevant and brand safe. It was tedious work. Now, our machine learning takes over—with 95% accuracy. We’ll tell you exactly what’s being said.
Armed with a full transcript, marketers can quickly decide if an episode is suitable for their brand and message. The tech also debunks false topics, such as easily confused words like “violin” with “violence” (say it out loud and you’ll see what I mean). And we utilize ComScore’s brand suitability filters to flag any inappropriate content.
It gets better. The transcripts can uncover new ad opportunities, too. Say a nutrition brand usually buys on “wellness” podcasts, but transcripts reveal that a popular sports podcast dedicated an episode to nutrition. That advertiser could buy that particular episode, and connect with a new group of customers. One miss doesn’t seem like much, but add that up over our entire podcast network, and the potential is enormous.
The Virginia Lottery Takes a Chance on Podcasts
We’re in beta, and our partners at The Virginia Lottery are giving transcription technology a try. From research, they already had loyal consumers who liked audio more than any other medium, so they knew podcast advertising would make an even greater impact.
“[Podcast advertising] allows us to reach [this audience] in their niche passions, something you can almost only do in the podcast space... Being able to reach those people in an area they are passionate about, but also that is contextually relevant and in a brand safe environment, is something that really appeals to us from an advertising standpoint,” said Taylor Miles, Associate Media Director for the NDP Agency, the lottery’s media partner.
But the Virginia Lottery can’t just advertise anywhere. Terri Rose, the Virginia Lottery’s director of marketing, explained that since the lottery supports K-12 state education, it’s necessary to advertise in positive, family-friendly content.
“We’re not interested in being in a podcast or any content that is incredibly violent. That’s just not who we are,” Rose said. “We have to be really careful and really targeted to make sure we’re reaching our players effectively.”
The transcription service helps put those concerns to rest. “Now with SXM Media technology, we can exclude some episodes, and it also expands reach and scale,” Rose added. Advertisers that need reach at a local level don’t have to sacrifice scale to align with the right content.
Today’s New Ad Tech Isn’t Just for the Big Brands
For local and regional advertisers eyeing podcasting, solutions like transcription targeting and creative services can make what was once-difficult now possible. While marketing giants like McDonald’s or Coca-Cola have massive budgets to use across platforms, Miles says smaller organizations need to be extra smart about their partnerships.
To maximize its budget, the Virginia Lottery partnered with SXM Media’s in-house creative agency, Studio Resonate, to create custom podcast spots. The announcer-read spots were designed for podcasts, with repeated calls to action to drive customers into stores to purchase tickets and foot traffic was tracked to measure effectiveness.
“We want the media to work the most effective way possible,” Miles said. “We would not have been able to do that on our own.”
When it comes to podcast advertising, we’re always hearing that brands want to be in the big-name podcasts, like Conan O’Brien Needs a Friend. We understand that. We love Conan, too. But bigger isn’t always better (and if you’re a local advertiser, check this out). In SXM Media’s podcast network, there are tons of shows that could work really well for your brand, but maybe you just don’t know about them yet. That’s where contextual capabilities like transcription targeting can deliver.
Our work with the Virginia Lottery is a prime example of SXM Media’s next generation of podcast advertising. The more we can lean in, the better we’ll do.