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Why Wonder Media Network wont sell its podcast ad inventory programmatically

Advertising is going for a hit from the economic slowdown. For a few advertisers with podcast and audio budgets, they would like to reach more listeners efficiently instead of spend money on expensive custom branded content. For Wonder Media Network, however, programmatic advertising isnt section of its inventory.

There are specific instances where programmatic advertising in audio is practical, in accordance with Shira Atkins, CRO and co-founder of podcast company Wonder Media Network, such as for example targeting those who are in a single specific region versus running national ads. But on the most recent bout of the Digiday Podcast, Atkins said she still believes that programmatic is really a tragedy for the podcasting ecosystem most importantly. Her team will not sell some of its ad space programmatically.

Instead, the podcast network uses its branded content studio to create bespoke audio ads, which Atkins said creates memorable ads that listeners are less inclined to skip over.

Here are highlights from the conversation, which were lightly edited and condensed for clarity.

Its not the economic slowdown, its the complete industry

Personally i think in so many ways were coping with the same conditions that we were coping with whenever we started the business in 2018. I wish I possibly could pinpoint and say theres just one single issue thats affecting us.

In 2020 a few of the initial conglomeration was needs to happen in the podcasting ecosystem but most of the big sweeping changes really happened in 2021. And today, by the finish of 2022, all the major distributors have made their plays and theyre waiting to see those bets play out. Im discussing Amazon Music and Spotify and iHeart and Apple all of them have acquired what they will have wished to acquire from an ad tech perspective and content perspective, and today theyre attempting to grow their businesses with exactly the same exact tools that people have being an independent network. In lots of ways the playing field is somewhat equal, but its obviously incredibly unequal because iHeart includes a massive, massive reach.

Yes, the ad business is in a precarious moment, much like how it felt at the start of the pandemic [but] we doubled our business through the pandemic, both with regards to revenue and with regards to size of the business. So I type of feel like, when you can find your niche, it is possible to always find dollars.

And many people are hip to podcast advertising now in a manner that didnt exist after some duration ago therefore were not in a position to educate people just as much that was previously our edge our way in the entranceway. Looked after means that people have specific budgets which are allocated for audio and easy and simple, most, quote, unquote, efficient method of spending that’s often through programmatic.

Programmatic isnt the very best solution

This idea of efficiency that media planners are asked to get because of their brands, often, I believe, is in fact laziness. And I dont think its efficient to just scale shitty ads.

We dont [carry programmatic-sold ads] as the reason which were in a position to demand such high CPM [or sell flat rate deads] is which were selling embedded ads in perpetuity. It creates me feel just like a vintage lady whenever people ask me concerning this, because theyre like, I cant believe you dont do dynamic ad insertion. Nonetheless it works for all of us.

Hiring is challenging

With regards to hiring sellers, were competing. Its exactly the same way that programmatic is killing us, using ways on the advertising side, its also killing us with regards to hiring sellers.

EASILY were five to eight-plus years out of college and had employment at Spotify paying me a $200,000 base and unlimited upside, and you could just check the boxes and easily sell deals to Coca Cola, and PNG and whatever, why would I ever desire to go just work at a startup? Despite the fact that its mission-driven, and theyre amazing, and its own all women why would I would like to go there and obtain a $100,000 base and a lot more potential upside, but its all an uphill battle. It requires a distinctive type, and I simply cant contend with the salaries and I cant contend with six-month paternity [leave].

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