NEW: podcast companies are buying millions of listens through auto-playing episodes populated in free mobile games. iHeart, the top podcast publisher on Podtrac, has bought around 6 million unique downloads per month since 2018
one company, called jun group, powers these ads by allowing podcasters to load a website with a podcast player that auto-plays. gamers are incentivized to stick through the seconds-long episode plays to win extra in-game loot. from jun group's ceo:
This is incredible and why we spend a lot of time looking at the data and filtering our fraud. This should have been caught by who is measuring and certifying the data. We have had a fraud prevention system in place since 2006. We have seen it all, call me not surprised.
The Internet has been getting worse since about 2005. It was best before everything was about generating revenue, when newspapers promoting their print editions for free, hobbyists and academic libraries provided most of the content. All print and still photos, but i prefer that.
Ashley - GREAT article. From the article "Larry Chiagouris, a marketing professor at Pace University. “I’m not saying [this tactic is] not ethical..." He might not - but I will - It is absolutely un-ethical if you are using those downloads in Ad campaigns. PERIOD!!!
The podcast medium is dead. It was fun for like 10 years and then all the big media companies started sniffing around. Of course we are now at this point. There is nothing that megacorporations and their arrogant executive teams will not wreck for profit.
How so? 5 years ago hardly anyone I knew listened to podcasts other than maybe Serial/crime podcast. Now everyone I know listens to them as just a regular part of media consuming life. Like radio in the 80s.
Then don't read shit about the industry if you don't want it to bum you out. There's more amazing podcast content available today then a person could listen to ever, even in 4x. And creators are actually making money and not just doing it as a side hustle
If a user watches at least two minutes of a movie, TV show, or original series, Netflix counts it as a view.
So what's the difference between Netflix and this effective podcast strategy? It's the same thing.
On Netflix you're actively choosing to watch a show. If they think 2mins is sufficient to count a view then fair enough.
But; if podcast co's use predatory ads to trick people (most likely kids) into playing them and counting it as a listen, that's a completely different thing.
It's all the same business practise like the skippable ads on Youtube. Most of us skip em and watch the video we're there for in the first place but it still counts.
The era of organic growth is long gone; no online numbers are authentic or accurate anyways.
Different practise, the goal simply isn't the same.
Youtube's targeted ads want to sell you something.
These podcast ads are just to count plays. Appearing on kids games, you telling me children are in anyway relevant to this show?
The goal is always profit. This practise like buying Spotify streams seems to be effective.
It's not a matter if a show is relevant to kids; it's the nature of the internet. Once something is online it's available to everyone.
But like YouTube ads most people will skip it.
You see 5 seconds of a youtube ad before you skip. It's a genuine view.
These ads are placed, sure, but it's unlikely in the extreme that 20 seconds listening will get your far enough into an episode to experience them. Yet the advertiser thinks they've been heard.
For a short window of time? It'd be worth it. You get the magic number that make advertisers happy and off you go. And simultaneously you still work to connect with real listeners and form a community.
What I "want" is always gonna be different from what advertisers "need."
Yeah, this is fraud. If I'm an advertiser and you've given me numbers that are based on a marketing tool, not genuine engagement, you've lied to me about what I'm paying for, or at least willfully misrepresented it.
Netflix will launch a cheaper ad-supported tier for its streaming platform at the start of November. Where do you think the data from the ads is gonna come from?? Exact same thing.
Disney+ is also has an ad-supported tier. They're newer so they'll have less data on us.
It's crazy to me that @IGN is just buying page views and ad views now. This "ad" keeps coming up in a mobile game I play where it'll just have you sit on an IGN article for at least 10 seconds watching an autoplay ad before you can click next, then do the same thing 2 more times.
This is incredible. I don't see how they could possibly reach any kind of relevant audience through this kind of activity, just kids.
Trying to think of what the positive would be or is it all just about scamming advertisers because if so it could be hugely damaging.
Oh wowwwww this is straight fraudulent
They’re suppressing independent podcasts and artificially deflating ad spend per download across the entire industry because their conversion rates have got to be crazy low
This really makes me think. Great article Ashley. Paying for ads for your podcast is fine. Even making people listen to 20 seconds is fine. But the questionable part is all about whether those ad listens should be counted as plays and whether sponsors should pay for those.