The Panoply Network Is Now Using Nielsen Data for Targeted Podcast Advertising

Opening up 60,000 possible audience segments

Nielsen is making its data available to advertisers through Panoply's podcast network. iStock
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Expect to start hearing more targeted ads popping up in some of your favorite podcasts.

Panoply Media, the podcast network, plans to let marketers buy targeted ads on podcasts using Nielsen’s data management platform and audience segmentation. The partnership announced today will allow brands advertising on shows produced or distributed by Panoply to access Nielsen’s data management platform and Panoply’s Megaphone targeted marketplace.

This is the first time Panoply, which produces podcasts while also working on the monetization or distribution side with other podcast-producing media companies including Gimlet and Buzzfeed, has allowed targeted audiences for podcasts, said Jason Cox, Panoply’s chief technology officer. Traditionally, Panoply has gauged the audience makeup of podcasts based on surveys and show profiles to help advertisers reach a specific type of listener. Advertisers will be able to deliver ads to specific segments of listeners based on data such as interests, purchase intent, demographics, geography, media consumption and psychographics.

According to Cox, it’s been difficult until now to do digital tracking for podcasts because they’re often downloaded through third parties via RSS. And without access to that third-party data, it’s impossible to target ads in the same way as in a browser. The update allows podcast advertising to fall more in line with the type of targeting used in targeted display and video ads across digital channels. The move also comes as Apple starts to allow more information about audiences and listenership, giving companies like Panoply and others a trusted third party for tackling measurement.

“The technology that we’ve developed allows us to match the data that Nielsen is collecting from browsers, across the web, from apps that have their SDK installed, and other locations,” Cox said. “We can match that data they’re collecting with server-side behavior we’re seeing.”

While targeted audiences have been popular for the big data game, podcast companies have leaned into the effectiveness of native advertising via audio. According to a report last year by comScore, people preferred podcast advertising over any other digital medium, and two-thirds of those surveyed admitted to acting on the ads they hear.

Advertising growth in the podcast industry doesn’t seem likely to slow any time soon, either. Results of a report released in June by PricewaterhouseCoopers and the Interactive Advertising Bureau found that podcast revenue is likely to increase this year by 85 percent, reaching about $220 million. That’s faster than the growth from 2015 to 2016, which was 76 percent.

Nielsen can segment audiences into around 60,000 different groups for marketers to choose from, according to Damian Garbaccio, executive vice president of the Nielsen Marketing Cloud, and those segments can be as broad or as granular as needed.

“I always say you have the ability to drive in the Nielsen Ferrari and drive it on the autobahn,” Garbaccio said. “But others choose to drive it on a New York City street and go 10 mph.”

@martyswant Marty Swant is a former technology staff writer for Adweek.