Understanding Client-Side Ad Insertion and Podcasting

Client Side Ad Insertion for Podcasting

Podcast advertising is one of the best ways to bring in revenue for a podcast and for advertisers to reach a highly motivated audience. But diving right into the world of podcast advertising can be difficult. It’s tough to know where to start and which path is the best to take when you’re determining how to create your ads and deliver them to listeners.

One concept that is important to understand is client-side ad insertion. But what is client-side ad insertion? How does it work, and how can you best use it to your advantage? In this blog, we’ll provide you with a definition and explain how it applies to podcasting. Read on to learn more.

What Are Client-Side Ads?

First, let’s lay out what we mean by “client-side ad insertion.” Essentially, client-side ad insertion is an ad delivery method. Client-side ads are delivered to a client (“client” here refers to the platform, such as mobile phone or desktop) when the podcast player requests an ad at some point during the streaming process.

When the request is received, the server delivering the ad sends a relevant advertisement based on individual listener data that has been compiled. In the case of client-side ads, the advertisement is separated from the stream. In other words, the streaming is paused, the advertisement is served separately and then the streaming begins again. The client then reports your metrics back to you.

This differs from server-side ad insertion, where the advertisements are stitched into the stream instead of playing as an independent entity. In general, client-side ads are chosen due to their ease of setup and relatively low advertising cost.

How Do They Work?

Now we understand what client-side ad insertion is, but how does the whole process work from beginning to end? Let’s take a look at the steps required.

  • A stream will have ad markers. These ad markers are used to indicate when the stream should break from the sound playback and switch over to the advertisement.
  • The podcast player will read the ad markers and download them when playback begins. 
  • Pre-roll ads and post-roll ads will be played before or after the playback.
  • Otherwise, the steam will reach the ad marker, pause the video and contact the ad server to request the ad to be delivered.
  • The ad server will respond with the right advertisement. The ad should contain tags for tracking and other information.
  • Once the ad is finished, the playback of the stream starts again.

If you’re advertising on a podcast platform, you’ll also want to ensure that software development kits (or SDKs) are in place to track important metrics about your advertisements. These metrics are often listens, skips, downloads, etc.

What Should You Evaluate?

So, if you’re using client-side ad insertion, what should you be evaluating? What metrics should you be tracking? As with any type of advertising, you’re going to want to figure out if your client-side ads are providing you with a sufficient return on investment. Measuring ROI for podcasts can sometimes be easier said than done. But for the most part, the following are the metrics you should be looking at to see if your ad dollars are well spent.

Traffic: See how much traffic the podcasts you’re advertising on are getting. Look at their streams, their downloads and other engagement metrics. Find out how long people are listening to the podcasts and if they’re listening all the way through.

Attribution: Attribution metrics tend to carry most of the information you need to track your podcast advertising success. This is because attribution will tell you which of your campaigns are converting. With attribution analytics, you can see which podcasts and episodes are sending you the most customers. You can see what platforms listeners are streaming your ads from, where they’re located and other important data that can help you create more precisely tailored ads for your audience.

When you’re doing diligent analysis of your ads and you’re constantly improving them to better fit your customer experience, you’ll be able to optimize your ROI and bring in more podcast conversions than ever.

How This Relates to Podcasting

While client-side ads are best known from video advertising platforms such as YouTube, podcasting can be an even better way to reach your customers. Podcast advertising tends to resonate more with customers and it allows you to very specifically and precisely target your niche.

With podcast advertising, you can easily look at different podcast categories and determine which podcasts would appeal to your audience the most. This kind of personalized advertising experience just can’t be done through other mediums. More businesses than ever are taking advantage of the power of podcast advertising, and knowing how to use client-side ads is just the beginning. As you continue to build your podcast advertising campaigns, you’ll learn how to refine your ads and maximize your ROI. But keep in mind that this will be much easier if you have an efficient and effective way of measuring and monitoring these ads, as we mentioned earlier.

The Benefits of Podcast Measurement

Podcast measurement will provide you with a number of benefits. When you measure and analyze your podcast ads, you’ll be able to gain the following advantages.

Raise Brand Awareness: Podcast advertising and measuring those ads allow you to place them in the best places to reach the ideal audience. This is a great way to raise awareness of your brand in the relevant community you want to be listening to your ads.

Increase Revenue: Podcasts tend to have captive audiences who are highly engaged and interested in the content they’re streaming. When you have an audience like this that is interested in your product, you’ll be able to drive profits and revenue through advertising like never before.

Find New Opportunities: Measuring your podcast advertisements can reveal information and opportunities about your audience that you might not have considered. For instance, if you do some smaller campaigns on podcasts that have a more general subject matter and you see that a campaign has a high conversion rate, you can learn about that podcast’s audience and better tailor your ads to appeal to them.

This is just the beginning of what podcast advertising measurement allows you to do. As you can see, the benefits are numerous. If you haven’t tried podcast advertising before or used analytics platforms to measure your podcast ads, now is the time to start. That’s where Backtracks comes in.

Grow Your Brand Presence With Backtracks

Backtracks is a podcast analytics platform that provides you with all the information you need to know about your podcast ads. With attribution analytics, you’ll gain in-depth insights and reports that help you create the best ads possible and reach the right audience. Backtracks is intuitive to use and scalable, and it can help you optimize any type of podcast advertising campaign you have.
If you’re interested, sign up with Backtracks to learn more. We’re in our initial roll-out phase and are offering our platform to a limited number of advertisers and agencies, so make sure to request your invitation today.


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