Audio Platforms Panoply and Westwood One Look to Nielsen for Data-Backed Car Ads

More auto advertising could be coming to podcasts

Panoply and Westwood One are doubling down on auto ads. Getty Images

Two major audio platforms are tapping Nielsen data to better steer auto ads to the right consumers.

Westwood One and Panoply have subscribed to Nielsen’s new Auto Cloud product, a targeting and measurement system developed specifically for vehicle advertising with data from J.D. Power.

The deal will let the radio and podcasting networks offer their auto marketing clients audience segmentation around everything from car make, model and feature preferences to geolocation, car-buying history and consumer buying stage.

The cloud can also match those attributes with sales data to determine effectiveness and use self-learning analytics to formulate better tactics for campaigns based on a daily feed of data from J.D. Power.

Damian Garbaccio, evp of advertiser direct and marketing cloud at Nielsen, said the ratings firm decided to tackle the auto industry because despite its importance as a major consumer advertising category, there was a gap in the available data and measurement integration specific to its needs.

“The most important part about it is that it doesn’t exist in the market right now,” Garbaccio said. “We saw a lot of pain points in the auto industry—there’s a lot of spend with not enough attribution.”

The deal with Panoply and Westwood One also comes as the audio ad-tech industry is grappling with questions of how to bring better targeting and measurement capabilities to the medium, despite strong growth thanks to the popularity of on-demand streaming and podcasts.

Panoply in particular wants to move beyond the direct-response advertising that most commonly appears on podcasts and prove the format can just as easily power the sort of brand-awareness-building on which auto marketers tend to focus most of their ad dollars.

The company recently cut its editorial operations to double down on ad-tech tools and now claims to be the only podcasting platform to offer dynamic insertion—that is, the ability to easily pull ads in and out of shows based on when episodes are published or the demographic listening.

“It’s just a medium that has so long been dominated by direct-response advertisers—and they still hold a key place at the table,” Panoply CEO Brendan Monaghan said. “But as brands are starting to understand and get this targeting capability and some of the things they’ve come to expect in digital, podcasting really represents a new frontier to get their message in front of a captive audience.”

Westwood One is similarly trying to marry the tools marketers have come to expect from digital advertising with the mass reach of traditional radio—the network claims to reach a quarter-billion people in the United States between its on-air radio and streaming channels.

That combination is especially well-suited to the auto category, in which brand awareness alone is responsible for 90 percent of all purchase intentions, according to Suzanne Grimes, president of Westwood One and evp of corporate marketing for Cumulus Media.

“The auto world is really somewhere we want to focus,” Grimes said. “If you want to sell an automobile, your brand has to be known … That’s where you need a mass-reach medium at that stage of contemplation—and we can uniquely do that—and now with this targeting ability as well to help with that messaging early on, we can really make a difference.”

@patrickkulp Patrick Kulp is an emerging tech reporter at Adweek.