Demystifying Marketplace Monetization for Independent Creators

A Podcast Movement 2023 Recap

5 min read

A rising number of podcast creators are increasingly embracing marketplace monetization as a viable and fulfilling means to support their podcasts. For example, the Simplecast Marketplace, a premium podcast marketplace, enables podcast creators to offer their inventory to advertisers for audience acquisition, leveraging specified targeting criteria such as genre, demographics, geographical location, and more, which provides creators with seamless opportunities to generate revenue.

During a panel discussion centered on podcast monetization, experts shared valuable insights from their personal experiences. The conversation covered various facets, including programmatic ads, collaborations with ad marketplaces, and diverse revenue-generation strategies. Our very own Grace Kane, Director of Business Development at Simplecast/AdsWizz, moderated an engaging dialogue alongside accomplished podcasters who had effectively integrated marketplace monetization into their podcasting endeavors.

Introduction and Background and Different Monetization Approaches

Grace introduced the panel and underscored the critical role of strategic partnerships within the audio adtech, the escalating prominence of programmatic audio spending, and the shifts in the ad market influencing podcast monetization. 

Grace underlined the significance of strategic alliances with ad marketplaces to ensure optimal revenue acquisition, avoiding missed opportunities. The panel then delved into the pivotal matter of selecting suitable partners and grasping diverse monetization approaches. Steph drew from her background, producing podcasts across the US, Canada, and the UK. Meanwhile, Allison traced her podcast's origins from her kitchen table, detailing her path to independence. In addition, Bron gave an overview of the development of Bleav Network, an omnichannel production company dedicated to monetizing and distributing sports and pop culture podcasts.

Challenges and Concerns

The conversation then dived into the issues surrounding ad sales and advertising collaborations, exploring the difficulties associated with selling ads and the possible unease creators may feel regarding promoting products or services. In this context, Steph highlighted a noteworthy point about potential discomfort with direct sales by creators, and she also illustrated the role of programmatic advertising as an alternative solution in such scenarios.

Maximizing Monetization Opportunities

The panel shared invaluable guidance tailored to content creators aspiring to monetize their podcasts with finesse. For example, Allison advocated the utilization of programmatic. This strategic move, she noted, could seamlessly pave the way for reliable and steady monetization, propelling sustained revenue growth.

Steph offered a step-by-step blueprint for creators embarking on their monetization journey. Her counsel encompassed multiple stages, beginning with implementing dynamic ad insertion (more on this below)—a strategy that injects freshness into content. She further underscored the significance of nurturing a dedicated audience as the cornerstone of this endeavor. With an established listenership, Steph advocated also venturing into direct ad sales, a pathway that promises heightened revenue returns while preserving the authenticity of creator-audience relationships. 

Ad Insertion and Back Catalog Monetization

Steph stressed the importance of incorporating dynamic ad insertion (DAI) to unlock the potential of monetizing or remonetizing past episodes in the back catalog. This approach eliminates the need to produce the entire podcast, ads included, as a single unalterable audio file (i.e. with what's called "baked-in" ads), which is crucial given that new listeners often delve into a podcast's older content for marathon-listening.

Providing more insight into this strategy based on her experience, Allison discussed her transition from host-read ads to dynamic ads and the subsequent positive transformation of her revenue streams. Bron then detailed the advantages of employing the right technology for automating ad insertion, leading to effective monetization of older podcast episodes.

Partnership Models

The panelists highlighted the significance of skilled negotiations and the identification of suitable partnerships to establish equitable revenue sharing. Steph elaborated on the role of technology and third-party platforms in comprehensively aiding creators to comprehend and monitor their monetization endeavors. Allison spoke on the enabling nature of programmatic ads, which permit creators to concentrate on content development while concurrently generating revenue.

Localizing Ads

Everyone offered insights into strategies to give precedence to local advertisements while still capitalizing on revenue opportunities. Grace highlighted the utilization of priority settings within programmatic platforms to guarantee prominent positioning for local advertisers. Bron emphasized the significance of balancing local and national ads to achieve the best possible monetization outcome without compromising the quality of content.

Diversity and Inclusion

Diversity and inclusion in the podcasting industry took center stage during the discussion. Steph shared her mission-oriented strategy at editaudio, dedicated to amplifying underrepresented voices. Allison affirmed the positive outcomes of having diverse networks and creators in boosting morale and enhancing monetization prospects.

Learning Resources and Final Advice for First-Timers

Everyone was unified about recommending podcasters proactively participate in the podcasting community to gain insights from seasoned creators. They also brought up leveraging valuable resources like platforms, blogs, and organizations such as the Podcast Academy, which offer opportunities for learning and support.

Steph advised distinguishing between different monetization approaches, actively participating in discussions, and finding mentors for guidance for newcomers to podcasting. Allison Gill encouraged podcasters to initiate monetization early and consider the potential for job creation through monetization. Bron proposed a gradual learning process from fellow podcasters, taking small initial steps, embracing programmatic ads, and steadily expanding the monetization strategy.


Direct from the Microphone


"But the great thing about doing a programmatic ad marketplace is that it can have residual income, basically. Your episode is going to go up regardless (you're not making content for ads). You're just setting a little button saying, ‘okay, I'm accepting ads, and if they come through, you make money."


"No one's running off the street with a bag of money to give you a fortune for your podcast. So you have to achieve marketplace equilibrium, and you will find that. And that's what's so great about all this technology is that if you talk, you know how many listeners you have, and there is a cash equivalent to that at any time now."


"With these marketplace platforms (like AdsWizz), we were able to just upload our shows, plug it into our timestamps of where our ads go, and they go in. And I got to tell you, about five years ago, 75% of my income came from host-read ads, and today, about 80 or 90% of my income comes from marketplace or dynamically inserted advertising."


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