Anchor: Podcasts With Ads Doubled Following Sponsorships Launch

The podcast creation and distribution platform Anchor says the number of podcasts in the market that have advertising has more than doubled since the company launched its monetization solution Anchor Sponsorships Nov. 29.

Anchor’s data says the total number of podcasts with ads were up 104% in the month after Sponsorships launched vs. the previous month.

The overwhelming majority of podcasts remain un-monetized. The company believes it is poised to improve those numbers significantly in the coming months. (Anchor’s data said about 1% of podcasts had ads before Sponsorships launched. In the month since, it has risen to more than 2%.)

“We think the 99% should be getting paid for their work,” Anchor CEO Michael Mignano tells Digital News Daily. 

The IAB says it expects podcast ad revenue to hit $659 million by 2020, growing by more than 100% year over year. Automated buying options like Anchor Sponsorships are seen as potential drivers of that growth.

Anchor Sponsorships lets podcasters monetize their podcasts with the click of a button in the existing platform. When a podcaster opts to bring ads to their podcast, the platform delivers information about a relevant sponsor, and the script of an ad, with best practices for reading the ad.

So far, a handful of advertisers have signed on to the Sponsorships program, including podcast advertising regulars SquareSpace and SeatGeek.

Anchor is betting it figured out a way to simplify the sales process for podcasts. In the past, it required brands or agencies to forge direct relationships with podcast hosts.

“You could only really buy or get access to as many people as the brand or agency can cut deals with,” Mignano says. “It has been a very inefficient way to buy media.”

For now, the company has a small number of advertising partners, though Anchor expects to scale up over time.

“We are still a startup, and we are new to the ad game. We don’t have a massive sales force, but that has worked out pretty well for us, because the brands are coming to us,” Mignano says. “The whole point of this platform is that it is meant to scale through technology and not through a giant sales force.”

Mignano says the company plans to evolve the Sponsorships product by adding dynamic targeting around both podcast creators (i.e. allowing a brand to target podcasts around specific topics) and listeners, based on the data available to them.

The company is also trying to move the needle on the measurement front. It is seeking IAB 2.0 certification for its Sponsorships product.

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