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Best Practice for Dynamic Ad Insertion in Podcasts

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Best Practice for Dynamic Ad Insertion in Podcasts

Guest Blog Post by Omny Studio

Omny Studio is an enterprise-grade podcast host that makes the tools used by the leading podcast publishers, broadcasters and news networks available to all. They’re bringing the good news about the Dynamic Ad Insertion revolution to the users and fans of Riverside.fm in this guest blog! Let’s get into it...


Dynamic Ad Insertion (DAI)

Old, vintage ads can be fun, funny, or frankly disturbing. But ads from last year don’t have even the potential for charm, like ads from a by-gone era do… or don’t. 

So that’s why creators, advertisers, and listeners alike are well served by Dynamically Inserted Ads. Without DAI, the ads in a podcast are ‘baked-in’, static, ‘trapped in amber’, and not in a cool, Jurassic Park way.

Newspapers vs iPads

A podcast with baked-in ads is similar to a newspaper, with its content and ads in a single bundle. A podcast with DAI is like a news app on an iPad - able to be refreshed and changed as needed. 

Without DAI, the advertising within your podcast episode starts to get stale over time. Like in the newspaper, the ads might be relevant and useful when you read it the day it’s printed, but pick up a paper at a cafe or when waiting for a haircut and you’ll be learning about a great sale at your favourite store… that finished last week. 


How Dynamic Ad Insertion Works?

Instead of producing a podcast episode where the content and the ads are all in the same file, with Dynamic Ad Insertion you simply mark the spots in your podcast where an ad can be inserted. That ad doesn’t have to be the same ad every time, and can change over time. That ad can be ten seconds or five minutes — or the industry standard 15’, 30’ and 60’ second ad units. It can be different depending on where the listener downloading the episode is located in the world, through geo-targeting. And… it doesn’t even have to be an ad (I know, 🤯). 

You can use DAI tools such as Omny Campaign Manager or Triton Digital’s Ad Server, Tap, to create markers for where pre-, mid- and post-roll ads or content can be inserted. But if there’s no content targeting those markers, then the podcast will just carry on seamlessly. 

Omny Campaign Manager with a Pre, Mid, and Post-roll Marker

On platforms like Omny Campaign Manager, it’s easy to add pre-roll and post-roll markers to all new clips automatically, and it’s easy to mark spots with chapter markers before uploading, and then replace them with mid-roll markers. But it’s once the markers are in place, throughout your whole archive, that’s when the fun part begins. More about all of this below - best practices for dynamic ads, house ads, and for creative uses for DAI, to get you thinking. 


Topical News

Daily news podcasts are all the rage, with NYT’s The Daily taking the number 3 spot on the Stitcher rankings (behind only the Joe Rogan Experience and This American Life), with more coming out all the time. But, listening back to the rich and rapidly growing archive of a daily show can be like stepping into a time machine. “Also in the news today” sections stop being as valuable after even just a couple days, even if the insight delivered by the main section of these shows, whether it be an interview, a panel conversation or a piece of investigative journalism, doesn’t.

One show that’s tackled this problem is The Quicky from Mamamia. After a dynamic pre-roll ad you get an intro to the episode, a lead-in to the main attraction, and then a news break. But it’s today’s news (recorded fresh at 5am that very morning), whether you’re listening to today’s episode, or any episode.

They’ve taken Dynamic AD Insertion and made it Dynamic NEWS Insertion, and it’s won plaudits and praise, and is something we’re expecting to see more of in future.


The Evergreen Archive

Don’t let your back catalogue lose relevance by being peppered with anachronistic ads or old info. The sooner you start using DAI, the more you can build your show around it. Here’s some examples of content that could be dynamically inserted, rather than baked-in:

  • Live show announcements - targeting just listeners in cities you’re touring, or states, or countries (touring comedians love this!)
  • Patreon incentives/rewards
  • Merch sales
  • Job openings on your team
  • Any other kind of ‘housekeeping’ announcement that won’t age well

By setting up a marker - where you’d otherwise bake in that content - your listeners can hear your current news in today’s episode, or any episode. 


Variable Storytelling 

Welcome to Night Vale is usually at the bleeding edge of the podcast form, and their use of Dynamic Insertion to deliver a unique version of the same episode to different listeners was a first. 

From Hot Pod “The technology has mostly been discussed in terms of its contributions to podcast advertising and monetization: It allows publishers to re-monetize their back catalog, it enables them to quickly issue fixes to bungled ad spots, it opens up the possibility of better targeting. But with this experiment, the Night Vale crew illustrates another upside to the technology: It has distinct opportunities for creative execution.”

From the Welcome to Night Vale wiki (a sure sign of creative success) “Three different versions of the episode were released. When playing the episode, one will hear one version with no indication that the other two exist. The version one hears seems to be random.”

Definitely good for heightening the mystique of this already convoluted and mind-bending podcast. And only achievable through DAI… or multiple dimensions. So look out for more ‘choose your own audio adventure’ projects coming soon!


Dynamic Programmatic

We’ve given some examples of dynamic content the podcast creator can produce, and swap in and out of downloads of your show. But, what about ads that you don’t have to make? Or giving listeners something relevant, wherever they are?

Up until now, programmatic ads in podcasting have typically been ads pre-produced for radio and re-used in ad exchanges. Increasingly though, we’re seeing audio creatives made specifically for podcasts. By pre-producing their own ads, advertisers are able to control their message, ensuring consistency and brand safety. They can target these ads to a certain audience, either by demography, by specific interests, or by geography - depending on the capabilities offered in the exchange. 


Pre-produced ads inserted programmatically can be a great match for podcast producers who don’t have their own sales team but are still looking to monetize their shows. It’s even possible to mix and match - and serve a host-read, directly sold sponsor spot on downloads in one country, and serve programmatic ads for downloads in the rest of the world. Programmatic ads aren’t a replacement for host-reads, but smart marketers are using the power of programmatic ads, enabled by DAI, to not leave any value on the table.


Got you thinking?

What would be better for your listener to hear when your latest episode is a year old; a baked-in ad for a hot 2020 web company that… may have gone the way of the dodo (the famously extinct bird)? Or, something current, something relevant, something of value, both to them, and to you as a publisher?

Unlock your archive, and add to your creative horizon, with DAI tools. Get in touch with Omny to find out how, and to try out Omny Campaign Manager for yourself — the simple way to unlock dynamic insertion. 


Why this matters to you?

While DAI doesn’t affect how you record, it does affect what you decide should be dynamic content. You may end up recording ‘housekeeping’ segments more regularly, and keeping them to a more regular duration and format. This lets you drop the current announcements and show news into any given episode dynamically, keeping a consistent, albeit fresh, style for your listeners. 

Sounds great right? Very 2021. So get amongst the DAI revolution! Happy podcasting, and thanks for having us - The Omny Studio Team. 

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