In the past few years alone, podcast listening—and ad spending—has surged. Podcasts now reach more than one-third of the US population for more than 50 minutes per day,1 and recent ad tech innovation has given advertisers the ability to scale, measure, and effectively target podcast listeners all over the world. In fact, podcast ad revenue surpassed $1B in 2021 and is forecasted to almost triple to more than $4B in 2024.2
At Spotify, we’re committed to keeping our platform a safe environment for creators, listeners, and advertisers. Our approach to brand safety has always included a combination of people, policies, and technology—including features like sensitive topics, which use episode-level transcription technology to help advertisers exclude topics that don’t align with their brand. As podcasts have grown from a niche to mainstream medium, so has the need for consistent, well-established brand safety guidelines and technology. And while brand safety guidelines and tools exist across the digital ecosystem, especially for video, they don’t yet exist for audio.
That’s why Spotify is partnering with Integral Ad Science (IAS) to create a brand safety framework for podcasts. With this partnership, we’ll embark on a rigorous analysis to help the industry understand the tools and resources needed to effectively deliver brand safety in podcasting–and digital audio at large. We’ll use those research findings to create a new brand safety and suitability reporting tool, giving advertisers more confidence and transparency about where their messages are heard, beginning with third-party podcasts in the Spotify Audience Network.
The solution will be powered by Spotify’s first-party data, and verified by IAS’ independent analysis solutions based on the Global Alliance for Responsible Media’s (GARM) categories and guidelines. Global media agecy UM Worldwide has signed on as the first holding company to test this product. UM will play a key role in providing valuable insight on behalf of its clients to aid in the development of this toolset.
Creating a unified industry approach and solution for brand safety in podcast ads is critical. Last year, we announced that Spotify was the first audio partner to join GARM, helping to define what brand safety means for audio. Partnering with IAS and UM Worldwide is another step toward a universal set of rules, tools, and guidelines to give advertisers confidence that their message is heard in the right place.