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Amelia Coomber

Amelia Coomber

· Time to read: ~4 min

This interview was first in the Podcast Business Journal newsletter, with the latest podcast news and data. Subscribe free today.

Amelia Coomber is Head of Marketing & Growth at Podscribe — this interview has been lightly edited for style and readability

Amelia Coomber: Podscribe is a third-party, independent IAB certified, podcast advertising attribution, analytics and verification company and provider.

JC: So you do a quarterly performance benchmarks report. What were the highlights of it for the last quarter of 2023?

AC: There’s been a lot of discussion around some of the iOS 17 updates. Looking at visitor rate and conversion rate, we saw some improvements there; obviously we can’t pinpoint this to one given thing - the ecosystem is evolving in general.

Visitor rate is how many visitors that, after being exposed to an ad, came to the advertiser’s website. Visitor rate was about 0.47% in Q3 of 2023. And in Q4, it went up to 0.56. With the iOS 17 updates removing between 10 to 30% of these back catalog automated downloads, we saw an improvement, which I think is a real indicator that the industry is moving in the right direction. We’re standardizing what a download means, and we’re seeing higher rates of genuine visitors going to advertiser websites.

JC: So although the Apple podcasts changes have resulted in significantly fewer podcast downloads, we do know from your data release that they are being listened to.

AC: Which is huge, yes. This is the industry working together, because this iOS 17 work was really a collaborative effort across the board. Outside of those download numbers decreasing, I think we expected to see better performance, because these were genuine people listening to podcast episodes with ads that drove people to a website. So a really strong top of funnel metric. But we also saw, James, conversion rate increase as well. Not as high, but we saw it go in Q3 from 0.24% to 0.27%.

So not only are we driving more genuine people to websites, we’re also converting them at a higher rate as well.

JC: Pre-rolls and mid-rolls and post-rolls - I know you don’t call them that anymore because it’s not always very clear what’s a pre-roll and what’s a mid-roll - but does it work better the further the ads are in to a podcast, or as close to the start of the podcast? Which works best?

AC: So, the first group of ads, which typically is a mid-roll - in Q3 that first group really outperformed the second group and the third group. This quarter it still was the highest performer, but by a much lesser degree, which was really interesting, to the point that we almost can’t make the definitive conclusion that placement one or that first group outperforms the others.

But ad creative is becoming an important topic and people are really optimizing for that, especially if they can see some of those top of funnel metrics from a pixel-based attribution provider.

JC: Two other things that I’m interested in. One of them is “host read” versus pre-made spots. I guess host-read ads work best, right?

AC: Yes, and that is what we found. We saw the percentage of performance where those host-read ads were used actually increased. So in Q3, it was almost a 50-50 split; but in Q4, 67% of all the ads that we looked at, comparing both host-read and producer-read, host-read performed better. So we did see that uptick.

JC: Ad lengths. The longer the ad, the better? It works kind of up to a point, right?

AC: So this one was tricky, and we used what was called like a correlation coefficient analysis - basically a way to compare two variables across a certain data set. We saw that there’s a correlation coefficient of 0.8 between ad-length and visitor rates - which in layman’s terms basically means as ad length increases, visitor rate also increases. On ad-reads that are more than two minutes long, they outperformed anything that was 60 seconds or less by about 20%. So the longer the ad read, there’s a direct correlation between the length and then how well you can drive visitors to site.

Most hosts are talking about the brand and the product. They’re sharing their personal stories. You know they’re going really above and beyond just whatever the script’s talking points were.

JC: It’s a great report and I know that it comes out every quarter. There’s quite a lot of detail in there; where can we find the report and learn a little bit more?

AC: It’s here - and, like you said, we’ll be putting these out every quarter. We’re continuing to improve them; so, this quarter we added in some more details about how podcasts versus streaming performed and you know what are the top performing show genres. We’re always interested in improving these, so drop us a note if you have anything that you’d like specifically to be analyzed or to look at.

JC: Well, it’s super useful stuff. Amelia, thank you so much for your time today.

AC: Of course!

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