Podcasts have figured out what old-time radio and television nailed long before the internet age: Sponsorships. Not all ads are of this epic length, of course, and they do tend to vary wildly in quality depending on the hosts’ passion for and knowledge of the product itself. But I think this is exactly the right direction for advertising to go in the digital and mobile world.
Between podcast sponsorships on 5by5 and Mule Radio, and RSS sponsorships by the Syndicate, I think advertising is evolving in a very positive direction. What’s unique is that these advertisements depend not on getting as many eyeballs as possible on them, and therefore in being as distracting as physically possible, but rather by being relevant and meaningful to the audience. By focusing on actually being interesting to the audience, these ads are very different than what I’ve been used to.
I hardly ever skip over sponsorship segments during the podcasts I listen to because they’re not an intrusion like display ads usually are. This is good for readers and listeners, because we don’t have to put up with annoying, obtrusive flashing ads for things we don’t care about while attempting to read an article, but it’s also very good for the sponsor, because they’re not wasting money and time trying to advertise to people that couldn’t care less about what they’re doing. They’re telling the people that are interested about their work, which makes it much more effective.