At the beginnings of commercial radio broadcasts, even before Jean Shepherd’s time, radio hosts performed the commercials and radio ads themselves. Dusty and forgotten for the better part of a century, live reads -as they’re called in radio- are making a comeback in the world of podcasting through host-read ads.
Why The Host?
Podcast creatives are more than just digital media presenters or DJ’s. Podcasters are often on their own broadcasting mission, delivering content that is, first and foremost, of importance to them. Although now just breaking ground into internet mainstream, most podcast industry beginnings come from a place of humbleness and authenticity.
Creatives tend to be passionate and honest. They appear genuine and so, develop a closer bond to their listeners than, let’s say, the host of some regular and formulaic radio morning show. As podcast ad reads become more common in podcasts, podcast listeners can expect the same level of involvement from their favorite podcasters, regardless if it’s the content itself or podcast advertising.
While podcasting giant NPR remained reluctant, others moved to innovate. Hosts from Marc Maron, Leo Laporte, and countless others perform ad reads, be they host or sponsor provided and the method is, by all accounts, successful.
Why Is It Better?
Podcast creatives have built their reputation on their content and their name. In order to maintain it, they can’t afford to get involved in dodgy advertising. Self-help superstar Tim Ferris only advertises products that he has already tried and believes in. That’s a sure way to maintain the trust between talent and listener unbroken.
Even public radio now tries to return to its live-read roots. Hosts like Ryan Seacrest and Steve Harvey, presenter of the Steve Harvey Morning Show, signed contracts with sponsors and direct response advertisers like Procter & Gamble all the way back in 2009. Soon after signing, Steve Harvey stated that he promotes brands in his ad spots that have already been a part of his life.
Having creatives perform the ad reads also gives the listeners a more personal experience. Far away from the artificial, processed sound of a standard commercial, host-read podcast ad reads tap into the energy of their most reliable ancestor, the word of mouth.
Since the ads come from someone who in many cases has already tried the product, is honest about its quality, someone who you already know and trust, this form of audio media advertising is much closer to a genuine, heartfelt recommendation.
How To Gauge Podcast Ad Read Response?
Although no longer a niche type of media, podcasting still poses certain difficulties for the talent. Until recently, one of the most pressing was the inefficiency of any podcast analytics. In order to improve their content, creatives need as much listener feedback as possible, in the form of behavioral assessments.
Creatives benefit from knowing which segments and structures work best, when and where do listeners enjoy their content and even gaining knowledge on both playback data and download data. Luckily, in recent years, podcast analytics like Backtracks have gained significant ground in providing such information (and Backtracks has taken that to another level).
Whether for established podcasters or for those who just now want to embark on a creative journey with new podcasts, Backtracks offers the best of both worlds, simple and secure hosting with unlimited bandwidth and storage and extremely detailed real-time podcast analytics. Benefiting from a high variety of apps, tools and aggregators, creatives and brands can now offer even more to their listeners.