Audio: Audio is an umbrella term for all spoken-word content, including podcasts. Most of the shows referred to in this guide are podcasts; however, the shows being produced for Audible are audio, and not podcasts, because they will be self-published rather than distributed via an RSS feed (see podcast definition).
Branded Content: Content created specifically with a company’s mission in mind. For example, British retailer Asos launched a podcast in partnership with Acast about female entrepreneurs to reach this specific demographic (the content is not about Asos; however, it is “presented by” Asos). This is distinct from native ads in podcasting—see native advertising.
Carriage Fee: The fee a station pays to an audio producer for the right to broadcast its content over the airwaves (terrestrial radio). Also known as a licensing fee. Although podcasts can earn carriage fees, this is usually a supplemental rather than central source of revenue.
CPMs: Clicks-per-mille (thousand). A standard way of charging for advertising in which advertisers pay a dollar rate according to every 1,000 impressions their ad receives. (If the CPM is one dollar, for example, the advertiser will pay 10 dollars for 10,000 impressions.) Because the only (somewhat) reliable podcasting metric is downloads, the CPM often represents the cost-per-thousand episode downloads. However, dynamic ad technology, which is quickly gaining popularity, allows ad impressions to be measured, and thus the CPM to be impressions-based.
Direct Response Ads: Ads in which listeners are told of a special promo code or URL where they can receive a discounted offer for a product or service. The codes/URLs allow advertisers to track the number of listeners who convert into consumers. Although direct response advertising is most common on podcasts, brand advertising (ads that raise awareness of/positive associations with a company, without a specific call to action) is becoming more prevalent.
Dynamic Ads: Most podcast ads are recorded by the podcaster and stitched to the podcast’s other segments in production; when the podcast is exported as an mp3, the ad is “baked in” the episode and cannot be measured separately from the episode itself. Dynamic ads, on the other hand, are injected into the podcast (at a certain point marked by the producer) the moment the episode is downloaded or, if streaming, the marker is reached. This means (1) the ad can be changed over time and (2) the ad can be inserted into previously released episodes. Dynamic ads can also be targeted: certain ads will be played according to listener behavior, location, etc. Often confused with programmatic ads (which are inserted dynamically).
Hosting Platform: The hosting platform for a podcast is like the CMS of a website; it is what the platform creators use to upload their podcasts. From the hosting platform, content can then be distributed across platforms, from iTunes to apps. Popular hosting platforms include Libsyn and SoundCloud.
Mid-roll Ads: Podcast ads are generally placed in one of three spots in a podcast episode—the very beginning (pre-roll), in the middle (mid-roll), or at the very end (post-roll). In general, pre-roll and mid-roll ads are more valuable than post-roll ads, since there is a lesser likelihood listeners will consume the entire episode and hear the post-roll.
Native Advertising: Like an advertorial, a native ad mimics the feel of editorial content; in audio content, it is generally the host who creates and presents the native ad (rather than an external voice who reads the ad copy created by the company). For example, a native ad can include interviews with the sponsor and/or personal stories from the host. Although, according to journalistic ethics, the host should not endorse the product personally, this is a frequent hazard of native advertising.
Native Apps: Apps (application programs) developed for a specific platform or device. Also used to refer to the preinstalled, undeletable apps that come with the iPhone’s operating systems, which is the definition I use in this guide.
Podcast: “A podcast is an audio file published on the Internet with an RSS feed, allowing users to subscribe to automatic downloads of a series of such programs.”166
Podcast Networks: A grouping of podcasts that share resources. Often formed to pool audience sizes and increase advertiser appeal.
Programmatic Ads: This term refers to ads that are bought programmatically, or through an algorithm that automatically matches an advertiser’s parameters for impressions with a publisher’s parameters for ads.167 Programmatic ads are often confused with dynamic ads: Programmatic ads are bought programmatically; dynamic ads are injected dynamically. While programmatic ads are almost always inserted dynamically, dynamic ads need not be bought programmatically (in other words, programmatic ads are usually dynamic ads, but not vice versa)
Sponsorship: Although often confused with advertising, sponsorship is a way of acknowledging companies for their support without promoting a product or service. This distinction, although somewhat irrelevant in podcasting, is important in broadcasting. Public radio programs can acknowledge sponsors on the air without breaking FCC regulations, but they legally cannot read ads. Also known as underwriting.