As the VP of Platform Monetization at Sounder, I interact with audio publishers looking to generate revenue from their content and brands looking to reach specific audiences. I learn their objectives and challenges. For both, there’s a common theme: audio advertising is broken.

Publishers are eager to increase the value of their content. Brands are eager to get their products in front of active audiences.

Despite podcasting being around since 2004, audio advertising solutions in the market today don’t solve either group’s challenges. However, these solutions are about to undergo a data-powered transformation.

Audio Intelligence—the use of insights to accelerate the discovery, engagement, and monetization of audio content—is changing how publisher content and brand messaging intersect.

Before Audio Intelligence, brands could advertise on audio content in two ways: host-read and programmatic ads. Host-read ads offer brands high visibility but are difficult to scale. Programmatic ads enable brands to reach niche audiences but rely on cookies, a soon-to-be internet artifact. For publishers, these solutions leave a lot of revenue potential on the table. Audio is an intimate medium, meaning audiences are active and engaged. That attention should result in premium advertising rates.

At Sounder, we recently launched the Audio Data Cloud, an enterprise solution that can integrate with existing advertising technology platforms. It increases the quality and expands the quantity of a publisher’s audio ad inventory.

Increasing ad inventory quality

Our proprietary transcription technology is the core of our Audio Data Cloud. In transcribing speech-to-text, we’re able to surface relevant content insights that have tremendous advertising benefits for publishers. We can automatically identify topics, keywords, and entities within audio content. These insights improve the value of a publisher’s ad supply.

For example, publishers can leverage these insights to offer brands contextual advertising opportunities. This means brands can place their campaigns next to relevant discussions aligned with their messaging. Contextual ads are 2.2x more memorable than contextually irrelevant ads and thus have a premium rate—helping publishers drive more revenue.

Through our brand safety and suitability solution, we can analyze a publisher’s audio content and identify any segments that might not meet the industry safety guidelines. Thousands of advertisers use these guidelines to determine ad placements. Knowing a publisher’s audio content is safe and suitable increases the rate a publisher can charge. Brands, too, are eager to share their messages on audio so long as they know their brand identity isn’t at risk.

Finally, we can capture the meanings of these keywords to understand sentiment. This enables brands to reach listeners at the right time when the tone complements the brand, further increasing the quality of the ad break.

Expanding ad inventory quantity

Through the Audio Data Cloud, we have a dynamic segmentation solution that surfaces natural breaks in the conversation. The moments between these smart chapters are perfect opportunities for brands to share relevant messages with listeners without disrupting the natural flow of conversation. This increases a publisher’s ad supply without any additional lift in editing or production. Episodes that used to have one mid-roll ad break can now have three or four natural-sounding ad breaks.

Further, we’re able to create bundling opportunities across seemingly unrelated podcasts that discuss the same topic. For example, say a publisher has 20 different business podcasts in its network. Not every episode from all 20 podcasts will be the right fit for a brand’s campaign. Publishers can leverage dynamic topic and entity analyses to create new inventory segments using valuable topics such as adtech, big tech, or social media.

Going forward

Publishers and brands need to adapt to a new reality, one filled with data and insights. Audio Intelligence enables enhanced advertising opportunities that allow publishers to tap into new ways to increase the quality and quantity of their audio ad supply. It also allows brands to safely take advantage of a high-value medium to share messages.

At Sounder, we’re building the solutions needed to bring Audio Intelligence to publishers and brands. If you are a publisher looking to increase the value of your audio content, learn more about our Audio Data Cloud or reach out to me directly.