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Can You Make Money Without Alienating Your Audience?

· Time to read: ~4 min

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Guest Blogger Charles Andrew Whatley, the SVP of Business Development & Partnerships atInstreamatic, advocates for nascent dialogue advertising – two-way voice convos between brand and individual podcast listener – as a strategy to keep podcast audiences from tuning out ads.


Podcasters are inherently motivated to delight, entertain and, of course, retain their audiences – often in the wake of increasing competition. Unfortunately, those goals can meet stiff headwinds when paying the bills means pairing content with traditional advertising, which often means subjecting the audience you’re trying to build to annoying or repetitive audio ads.

However, podcasters now have a new monetization method available in the form of voice-dialogue advertising, which offers to replace the traditional passive ads that audiences have grown accustomed to tuning out with a fresh type of interactive listener experience. Voice-dialogue advertising prompts a podcast’s listeners to interact with brand ads in short voice conversation by speaking aloud in natural language. Listeners are presented with a verbal call-to-action, often providing additional information on a product or service. A listener can then respond either affirmatively to learn more about the offer, or negatively to indicate their lack of interest and immediately return to their regular podcast content.

Dialogue advertising campaigns have proven to be more inviting to listeners and more effective in earning listener engagement than traditional audio advertising. In testing with brands like IKEA, HP, and Infiniti, dialogue advertising has delivered a reach rate that’s double the industry norm. At the same time, listeners also found these brand experiences more meaningful and memorable, in comparison to traditional passive ads presenting similar content. In this way, dialogue advertising offers a new path forward for podcast monetization, one that boasts a more receptive listening audience and drives much higher engagement rates.

Podcasters also have the option of leveraging dialogue advertising in presenting native ads, lending their own voices to the interactive experiences. This offers listeners the unique opportunity to engage with their favorite podcast hosts in real-time conversations. Podcasters have the capability to place voice-dialogue ads within either on-demand or live-stream content. By playing a starring role in ads that harness these unique new dialogue experiences, podcasters can transform the effectiveness of their monetization efforts while closing the gap between the content that listeners came for and the advertising that keeps the lights on.

From a brand advertiser perspective, dialogue advertising provides empirical ad metrics and real-time insights driven by AI-based analysis, enabling campaign optimization that features speed and agility unprecedented in traditional audio advertising. Using deep-learning mechanisms and advanced voice AI that iteratively improves both comprehension of listener intent and ad content itself to include more effective phrasings, advertisers can present audio listeners with ever more compelling and relevant ad experiences.

In tandem with dialogue advertising, advertisers are also able to utilize continuous dialogue advertising, a new capability that empowers brands to build an ongoing and uniquely tailored relationship with each listener as an individual. Rather than bombarding listeners with repetitive and sometimes irrelevant ads, campaigns can utilize a continuous dialogue strategy to recall previous interactions with individual listeners, and design subsequent ad conversations to engage each listener more effectively. By analyzing the complete history of a listener’s engagement and responses to a campaign – across multiple ads and even multiple podcasts or other channels – advertisers can make the most of their opportunities to appeal to potential customers. Major brands have earned successful results using continuous dialogue advertising, realizing significantly greater engagement and conversion by individualizing dialogue ad content to meet the needs of each listener.

Considering the advantages dialogue advertising offers for advertisers when it comes to achieving greater engagement and ultimately greater revenue, podcasters that position themselves to monetize through these ad units will realize better fill-rates on sold inventory, while increasing their own revenue as well. At the same time, these ads succeed at keeping audiences more engaged, meaning that listeners will support and enjoy both your regular and your lucrative advertising content.

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