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Taking Your Podcast Campaign to New Levels with Contextual Ad Targeting


Getting closer to holy grail: reaching the listeners that are ready to buy at the precise moment in which they’re most likely to do so.

Reaching your target audience – the exact people most likely to buy your product, at the exact moment when they might be the most receptive – is the holy grail of any ad campaign. But it’s a proposition that’s become a lot more complex in today’s ever more fragmented media environment. Consumers have access to tremendous varieties of content on a huge variety of platforms and devices. It’s a far cry from the early days of the internet in the 1990s, when the ad revenue landscape was dominated by only a handful of 900-pound gorillas like AT&T, Netscape, AOL, Yahoo, and Prodigy. (Remember them?)

How the world has changed

The huge array of online platforms and streaming services has opened up new possibilities for personalizing content, even down to individual consumers. It’s good news/bad news for brands: They’re now able to tailor messages to highly targeted groups of consumers, but figuring out precisely where and when to place those targeted ads is a huge and complex challenge. 

This quandary resonates especially in the podcast world, which is exploding both in volume and variety of content geared to incredibly diverse audiences. The challenge for advertisers, then, is how to understand and analyze a staggering volume of unstructured podcast audio content to reach that holy grail: the listeners that are ready to buy at a precise moment in the podcast in which they’re most likely to do so.

That’s where AI-driven contextual targeting comes in

Last month, our parent company Veritone, Inc. announced a new offering: Content Classification for Podcast Advertising. In short, this new service applies aiWARE’s advanced, AI-based cognitive processing to automatically transcribe and tag an audio stream with topical, descriptive, and time-correlated metadata prior to podcast publishing. This is good news for podcast publishers and distributors, who are now able to replace manual, inefficient, and time-consuming content tagging processes with a near-instant and foolproof automated system. 

But the great news is for brands themselves: Armed with intelligence about which topics are being discussed at specific times in a podcast, they’re able to insert highly targeted ads based on the context of the podcast discussion. Take, for instance, an ad for a brand of high-end kitchen knives that airs at the precise moment the hosts of a cooking show are discussing knife skills. At the same time, brands can make sure the ads steer clear of certain undesirable content that might reflect the brand in a bad light or is otherwise inappropriate. That’s the essence of brand safety

Because Contextual Alignment supports the IAB Tech Lab Content Taxonomy, the aiWARE metadata output fits right into a brand’s existing ad technology infrastructure. With producers delivering podcast content that is IAB-ready, it’s that much easier for brands to target podcast listeners consistently based on specific topics. Veritone One has been leveraging this technology for our clients since early 2020.

Content Classification is the game-changer the industry needs

For brands that have relied on more traditional methods of targeted advertising, the ground is shifting under their feet. Take Google’s recent announcement that it is starting a two-year process to phase out third-party cookies in the Chrome browser. It’s a monumental change that will have a major impact on the digital advertising space. On a more micro level, it means that businesses that have relied solely on cookies to track their customers and keep their sales funnels going will have to look at other ways to focus their advertising efforts. Contextual targeting holds the key. 

The upshot? Contextual Alignment offers a powerful new way for advertisers to target their message in the right type of content, while ensuring that the content is appropriate for the brand. The winners aren’t just content creators, distributors, and advertisers but also consumers, since they get easier access to the products and services they really care about – in the context of topics they care about.

Next time, we’ll share a client-side experience with contextual targeting and take a closer look at this game-changing solution in action. Until then, we’re available to answer any of your questions about contextual alignment and how it can help your brand stand out. Contact us today!


Photo by Paul Skorupskas, on Unsplash