Oct. 8, 2020

Ad Tech in Podcasting: How It Affects Listener Tracking, Privacy Laws, and Brand Safety With Bryan Barletta

Ad Tech in Podcasting: How It Affects Listener Tracking, Privacy Laws, and Brand Safety With Bryan Barletta

There is so much going on in the ad tech space right now that will affect podcasting, so I invited Bryan Barletta from Sounds Profitable to share his insider knowledge. We talk about the importance of brand safety and how dynamic ad insertion helps...

There is so much going on in the ad tech space right now that will affect podcasting, so I invited Bryan Barletta from Sounds Profitable to share his insider knowledge.

We talk about the importance of brand safety and how dynamic ad insertion helps protect both podcasts and advertisers. Bryan tells me how effective geo-targeting is and what data we should be focused on. We also cover Apples privacy updates and how that will affect podcasts moving forward. Learn more about Bryan Barletta.


This transcript is not edited. 

[00:00:00] Heather Osgood: [00:00:00] Welcome to The Podcast Advertising Playbook, a show dedicated to podcast advertising. If you're a podcaster or an advertiser, and you're wondering how you can take advantage of this rapidly growing space, you're in the right place on the program. We'll discuss strategies and techniques to optimize your experience with podcast advertising.

[00:00:28]Hello and welcome to The Podcast Advertising Playbook. I'm your host, Heather Osgood. And today I am joined by Bryan Barletta. Bryan is the new editor of Sounds Profitable Newsletter. It's a Podnews newsletter that has just recently come out. And I'm excited to have Bryan on the show today because he is all about ad tech and podcasting. 

[00:00:51] Now I know that for many of you who maybe have listened to me on the show before you might say ad tech and podcasting do the two of [00:01:00] those even go together. Because we haven't had that a ton of technology, in and around podcast advertising. But Bryan is the guy to talk to when you have ad tech questions. He knows everything and has a lot of experience, and I'm excited to have him on the show. 

[00:01:15] Bryan, welcome. Thanks for being on today. 

[00:01:17] Bryan Barletta: [00:01:17] Yeah, thanks for having me very excited to be here. 

[00:01:20]Heather Osgood: [00:01:20] Great. So can you give us just a brief overview of kind of maybe your history and what has gotten you to this place and being so involved in the ad tech space with podcasts?

[00:01:30] Bryan Barletta: [00:01:30] Yeah, sure. It all started with the iPhone launch, forever ago. So funny to think about how long ago that is now. I was just a kid in college, obsessed with the iPhone and trying to make an excuse to be able to buy it. I started an app review site, and became just enthralled with that space.

[00:01:48]I got picked up by a company that wanted help talking to publishers, to get them to install their app SDK. Or they're ad SDK rather. And, from there I just got pulled into ad tech. I got [00:02:00] moved from Massachusetts, where I was living and going to school to New York, and got to live there for about 10 years and dive deeper into ad tech, mostly in mobile.

[00:02:08]And then I was fortunate to join the Adtheorent team, eventually spin it off to the Barometric team, which does attribution and podcasting. But originally it did attribution and all mediums, and then barometric was acquired by Claritas, which was very cool to get acquired by such a big company and have a breadth of additional data behind us.

[00:02:27] And then I moved over to Megaphone for a little under a year where I led and monetization there for them. And, yeah, it's just something about this space is so exciting to me and it's been so great to be on the cutting edge of rich media and mobile apps, and then move into, all the crazy things we can do in podcasting with such limited information.

[00:02:47] Heather Osgood: [00:02:47] Yeah. Hearing your journey through all of it is so interesting and the fact that you've decided to land in podcasting when really there is so much more rich data in so many other outlets, it's neat. What [00:03:00] pulled you to podcasting in particular? 

[00:03:02]Bryan Barletta: [00:03:02] When we were on the barometric team, I think it was progressive specifically wanted to do something with WMIC.

[00:03:08] I believe it was with Art 19 that we were working with. I could be mistaken on that, but it was, such a cool idea to try and figure out what we could do with only IP and user agent. So many device graphs focus on, can you get the device ID? Can you get the cookie? Can you take that and match that to your database and then identify all the users in the household.

[00:03:26] To then match that to anybody who took an action in any other environment. but we were basically given the challenge to try and do that for podcasting and we did it and it was successful. And then we double and triple check the numbers because they were like, this seems. Like it shouldn't have been that easy.

[00:03:40] Like we, we expected to have to iterate on it quite a few times. So out the gate, we were able to build a really cool product specifically for it. And we just, we all pivoted together and it was just, it was one of those great examples of constraints breed creativity. Because we had so little to work with and we had to prove that we were as capable as we thought [00:04:00] we were.

[00:04:00] Heather Osgood: [00:04:00] That is so amazing. And so tell me at barometric, where you guys set, setting out specifically to work on podcasting, or I've never really known what percentage of the business was podcasting and all the other, media is out there. 

[00:04:15]Bryan Barletta: [00:04:15] Matt Drengler came on board shortly after we started up as barometric, officially separate from Ad Theory. And when we got the, WMIC deal with progressive, we saw the, the value there and we pivoted almost all of our outgoing efforts to podcasting. I think the barometric product does work, still for, Oh, I know it does work for all the other platforms out there. but they, I would say very quickly, we pivoted to focus almost solely on podcasting.

[00:04:41] It didn't start that way, though. It was started off as an internal tool for adherents DSP, and then it became something that external clients use for just rich media tracking pretty much. And then it went to just podcasting because there was such an, like a lack of competition at that point when we started and [00:05:00] now we have Podsights, we have Chartable. I'm very happy that there's so much competition in this space.

[00:05:04]Heather Osgood: [00:05:04] So that's interesting that you should say that because I agree. I think that competition is really good and that it helps everyone. But it still doesn't seem like a crowded space when it comes to ad tech or especially when it comes to that kind of analytics attribution piece. Do you feel like we've got more companies that are going to be coming in that same space, trying to offer the exact same product?

[00:05:26] Bryan Barletta: [00:05:26] I think that right now, the truth is that the information we get is all the same. And I think that one of the big things that I try and write about is that we have to be more collaborative on that. How do we get that information in? How do we make sure it's the same? How do we make sure that no matter if you're the tracking partner or the prefix URL or the hosting company, that we are all helping the podcast client and the advertisers see the same thing and not be confused.

[00:05:50] So it's not like the uniformity on what comes in needs to be better. But how you display that is really unique. Some of the companies are starting to focus more on [00:06:00] things like household instead of individual others are focusing on the details of an episode instead of, on just a specific campaign.

[00:06:09]I think there's a lot of competition for how you can visualize data. And I think that's where we're going to see the most exciting, developments. but I dunno, I don't necessarily know that another technology company could step into the space and do something unique on the gathering side.

[00:06:23] But I think that if you had the raw data and you were really good at visualizing it, you could blow some of the competitors out of the water now. 

[00:06:32] Yeah. for sure. I agree. So one of the questions that I wanted to start with here is what exactly ad tech is, so if somebody is listening to this episode, and maybe they're either new to podcasting or they're new to advertising and they don't understand what that kind of terminology means, what exactly is ad tech? And I guess, can you tell us a little bit about where you feel like ad tech is at, in the podcast space? 

[00:06:59] Yeah,  ad [00:07:00] tech. Defining ad tech, that's a fun one.

[00:07:02]I think basically any technology that is directly related to advertising, right? If you look at podcast specifically, you have a piece of it. That's about the content, creating the episode, hosting the episode and delivering it to the devices. The players and all of that's just the podcast technology.

[00:07:19] The ad tech is how we put an ad into that. Whether it's baked in or a dynamically inserted, how we decision when it's dynamically inserted, all the different tracking you can do on the prefix URL before, or when the episode is being requested or on the ad tracking. When the ad has been officially downloaded. 

[00:07:39] I think ad tech is used as a negative a lot of times because it focuses on the specific component, but there's a lot of creative ways to use it because we think of dynamic ad insertion as ad tech, but it should really be dynamic content insertion. So a lot of these things that we talk about in podcasting, we don't have to flavor specifically without tech.

[00:07:58] It's just an easier [00:08:00] industry term, more than anything it's creative and dynamic ways to track additional content. That's usually advertisements. 

[00:08:08]Heather Osgood: [00:08:08] I think that you hit on a really good point and yeah, one of, the soap boxes that I always like to stand on is the power of dynamic ad insertion.

[00:08:16] But I think when we look at it, it shouldn't be dynamic ad insertion. Like you mentioned, it should be dynamic content insertion, because what does it look like if we can take this information and give you a different intro because you live in a different place, what does it look like? 

[00:08:31] If maybe we can even structure all of our content around different, measurements that, whether that be your location or other, indicators like that. How does that make our content feel more in touch with the person that we're speaking to. And there are so many opportunities and so many different things you can do with that dynamic insertion feature.

[00:08:54] But I think a lot of times, to your point, it almost feels like dynamic insertion gets a bad name. [00:09:00] And the minute that I say dynamic insertion, I don't like those prerecorded ads and yeah. It doesn't have to be, it doesn't have to be a produced, radio sounding ad. It can be so many more things.

[00:09:11] Tell us what your thoughts are on how people should be using dynamic insertion capabilities. 

[00:09:16] Bryan Barletta: [00:09:16] I think the first thing I would say is that it's the, probably the biggest tool anybody has for brand safety. Your podcast is your brand or your advertisement is your brand. If you need to pull your ad or you need to pull an ad from your podcast, even if it's host read, you can't do that with a baked in without having to edit the podcast and re upload it.

[00:09:34]So it takes work. You can do it, but you can't do it instantly. So being able to just remove that out immediately. If unfortunately, an advertised you pick has an inappropriate thing to say on the internet or the host is involved in a scandal, like being able to instantly remove your content, even host read is so valuable for what limited things we can do with brand safety. I think that another big example is I grew up in new [00:10:00] England and we didn't have Sonic as a fast food restaurant, but it was cheaper to regionally target ads on TV for Sonic. And I think it wasn't until I was in my twenties that they had a Sonic in Massachusetts, but I'd grown up my entire life, seeing advertisements for it.

[00:10:15]James Cridland from Podnews. He'll tell you about how in Australia, he constantly gets either no ads, or he'll get ads for things he just can't purchase that aren't available in Australia. So using dynamic ad insertion to not waste inventory and to use a sort of brand safety are, I think they're really critical things.

[00:10:33] And I'm glad you agree with the content side of it. I talked to the guys over at  Whooshkaa recently, which has been really fun since I've moved away from one specific company. I've talked with everybody in this space now. It's that's so cool. The things that they're doing there, they use it for, like internal messaging.

[00:10:50]They help companies build podcasts, for, like corporate structure. So instead of an all hands meeting, you do, a podcast for, and say, you want to add something unique in [00:11:00] for, the people driving your trucks versus the salespeople versus the people sitting at a desk, you can target that with dynamic ad insertion.

[00:11:08] And you can have different content. You can have the lower tier manager talking specifically to their team and their, you can have a reference to the next meeting. If it's older historical content. I think the dynamic insertion is the thing to focus on. Whether it's an ad or a content. I think it's really how you want to shape it.

[00:11:26] Heather Osgood: [00:11:26] Yeah, I agree. I, yeah, I think that it's a very underutilized tool and I think that unfortunately, because dynamic insertion is an upgrade for, all, all hosting providers. I think that can be a barrier for podcasters moving in that direction. And I tell people that you should prepare your show to get ready for dynamic insertion. And that means if you're not ready to upgrade at this moment, you can still be aware of what you're doing in your shows. And if you take really [00:12:00] good notes about each episode, then when you go back and decide that you want to make changes and you want to move toward dynamic insertion, that there's a lot more flexibility in that.

[00:12:09] So it doesn't, I feel like it doesn't have to be an all or nothing. I think a lot of times as podcasters, in specific. I think people feel like, Oh gosh, I'm not ready to invest in that or maybe I'm not ready to move hosting providers to a service that provides dynamic insertion. But as long as you're structuring your show in a way that you could eventually move in that direction, I really believe wholeheartedly and I'm curious what your thoughts are, but I believe that. I think within two years is my estimation that we will be almost entirely dynamically inserting things. 

[00:12:41] Bryan Barletta: [00:12:41] Yeah. I'd like to see it sooner. Actually. I really, I hope all the hosts that listen to this, consider the fact that it really should be a base included part of the platform, you know, whether you're charging on downloads or throughput or whatever metric you're charging on having that option and making it accessible to everybody. You can have your [00:13:00] limitations and how you want to handle it. I respect what Libsyn does with advertising, but I think that the big thing is that dynamic insertion allows for brand safety.

[00:13:08] It allows for security of what both sides are building. So whether that allows for programmatic or whether that allows for announcer read ads, different conversation. I think the technology is the big thing we need to focus on and everyone should have access do it because otherwise that ad is permenantly in your episode, forever, and they bought it once. And it's forever there. 

[00:13:32]Heather Osgood: [00:13:32] I think what's so fascinating to me about it is that yes, new episodes do get the vast majority of the downloads for a show, but if you're a content creator, if you've created hundreds of episodes, all of those add together,  right? And one of my favorite sayings is that it doesn't matter when content is created, it matters when it's consumed. And at this moment, if I'm consuming something, how do I make that as relevant to that [00:14:00] person today as possible? And, we all know that you've got these digital footprints that are following you around the internet. Why not have capabilities? Like you said, to control that message and really structure. And I think that goes from the perspective of an advertiser or a podcast, right? From either perspective that having that control essentially over messaging is, is just huge. And when you've got a product that's created, that is not something that is easily changeable. It's really, it's very, like you said, it, you can change it, but it's very difficult to manipulate that content.

[00:14:37] So that dynamic peace gives you, I think just a lot power and controlling messaging. That's going to go out, regardless, it's going to go out. You might as well have it go out with something that's relevant to today. 

[00:14:48] Bryan Barletta: [00:14:48] Completely agree. 

[00:14:50] Heather Osgood: [00:14:50] So let's talk a little bit about, attribution in this space.

[00:14:54] So we know that with dynamic insertion, we have these capabilities of doing [00:15:00] geo-targeting and I feel like increasingly, especially larger companies are very interested in looking at geo-targeting and looking at attribution pieces.

[00:15:09]So I guess let's start with this geo-targeting idea. And I think as you mentioned, it can be a little bit tricky because if you are a small town or you are a local company that is looking to advertise on podcasts, I feel like can be a little bit trickier if, I've got, let's say a $10,000 budget or even a hundred thousand dollars budget and I'm looking to invest it.

[00:15:34] But, I only want to reach these specific areas. It can be really difficult for mid-level podcasts in particular, to deliver the quantity of downloads that are needed to really make an impact. Can you talk to us just a little bit about maybe some of the technologies that we're seeing with geo-targeting and how maybe that could be changing the face of podcast advertising?

[00:15:57]Bryan Barletta: [00:15:57] When you make a request to download an [00:16:00] episode, the only values that are sent from your specific device is the IP and user agent. And the IP address, if you, if anybody goes into a website right now on Google and just types, what is my IP? You might have to type in what is my IP for to get something that looks like, or like an IP address, depending on what your web, your hosting provider is.

[00:16:19] You can take that and go to maxmind.com and you can scroll down and they have a geolocation by IP and they say on their site that their accuracy is for city level, for their highest tier match. It is, 48% accurate match. 2% unknown, 50% inaccurate match down to a city level. And I wrote a whole article on that.

[00:16:45] I had a lot of fun digging in and showing the proximity from my house and my cell phone. And, my house shows that I'm in the right town. It shows them one kilometer away. Their threshold is 10 kilometers. There's almost 1500 people in a square kilometer in my town. [00:17:00] So it could be any of those households.

[00:17:02]I chose for my cell phone, either Houston or San Antonio, I'm just above Austin. Those are not close three hours in an hour and a half away. I think the biggest thing that you can do with IP is to look at city. because these services really focus on where you're connecting from, and sometimes it can be as direct as your house, if it's a wifi connection, other times it can be, from a cellular tower.

[00:17:26]but I think that city is probably the lowest I would comfortably go. for specific, yeah. Geo-targeting, I think state's super safe. I think country is 100% accurate almost all the time, and very valuable to make sure that you're serving only in the countries that you're relevant to. But I don't think that we're going to get much more granular with that because I don't think IP is going to give us any more data, but what it can give you is the concept of a digital household, which might not have as much of a value.

[00:17:53] It's not going to say any closer than city. It might have that up to 10 kilometer radius, which may be valuable to [00:18:00] some advertisers. But I think that it's going to tell you more likely how many devices are in that household. Because my IP for my household is still mine and it's personal to me. I'm not sharing it with any of my neighbors.

[00:18:12] So all the devices that connect through that IP are still part of my household and while not geo that's a digital household. That's another way to look at targeting people. I 

[00:18:23] Heather Osgood: [00:18:23] like that terminology of looking at a digital household, I've never really thought about it, appropaching it from that perspective.

[00:18:29] And that's so interesting to me. I didn't realize I knew IP addresses. Weren't a hundred percent accurate, but I didn't realize they were that inaccurate. That's really fascinating. 

[00:18:39] Yeah, the 48% accurate versus 50% inaccurate is what blew me away. I always thought it would be like the 2% inaccurate and 50% unknown.

[00:18:48] Cause I'd rather get an unknown value than a wrong value, but it's, it's all interesting. And basically every device graph partner or a data partner in this space has something similar to that and MaxMind, wouldn't [00:19:00] get public with their data if they weren't one of the better match partners out there.

[00:19:04] So I wouldn't expect it to anybody really to have much higher match and still 75% match rate. 25% inaccurate. Still, really rough. but I questioned in this drive for data. If people really need deeper than city, do I need your postal address? Do I have to know your exact household when I know your city and your digital household, I can still track an attribution because I know that the requests originated in your digital household and concluded in your digital household or a device connected to it.

[00:19:31] That's the critical part for attribution, but for targeting, I think that even some of the biggest partners out there. Targeting New York city's close enough. I don't think you need to get specific enough to Brooklyn because you'd be disappointed in how many times Brooklyn might show as New Jersey, for people that are connecting their eyes cell tower.

[00:19:51]I think that's a really good point. I also feel like one of the things that gets overlooked a lot of times is that every time we put [00:20:00] these qualifications on who exactly we're targeting. That piece of the pie gets smaller and smaller. And it sounds wonderful to be like, we are going to target the people who live in Brooklyn, who are age 35, who go to the gym four times a week, who weigh less than 150 pounds or whatever.

[00:20:19]it's really great to think if I target the exact right person than my sales are going to skyrocket. But, you have to look at how many people are you actually reaching every time you put these qualifiers on. So I agree with you. I don't think that we need as much detailed information as everyone says, we need.

[00:20:39] Bryan Barletta: [00:20:39] I think that information can be super valuable when you flip it and put it on the show. So let's take that example, right? Let's say that, my city, 48% of the time, somehow, the inaccurate ones and the unknown and you remove them or say, it's even just cellular versus household.

[00:20:53] If you take that and you take all the information, for me from a geo lookup or a match against Nielsen or a live ramp and all the [00:21:00] demographic data that it says about my household and who I am, and then you apply that to the show. Eventually you're going to see the households because we're not finding just me.

[00:21:09] We're finding every device in my household and my iPad might have different activities on it. Then my iPhone, right? My wife's computer is going to be different than mine. So it's this giant pool of data. If you look at it as the household, and then you compare every household that you know, to the episode and you create an index, then you're able to look at the episode and say this episode, skews towards people who want to buy a truck.

[00:21:33] Heather Osgood: [00:21:33] Right. 

[00:21:34]Bryan Barletta: [00:21:34] over the baseline that we see in the industry, this episode is 10 has people that are 10% more likely to buy a truck. So therefore the show might have that value. And maybe we should target advertisers that way, because I think that the biggest piece of content that we have, or the biggest piece of data we have is the content.

[00:21:52] Really, and I think we need to start adding more attributes to the content or the digital household and stop pretending we can [00:22:00] get the individual user. 

[00:22:01] Heather Osgood: [00:22:01] It is a fascinating approach. I really like that idea a lot, because I think that it does have so much to do with content. I know, I remember I've got an older son and I remember before I was even.

[00:22:12] At all interested in podcasting, he used to listen to welcome to Night Vale. And He, like you said, he would have been a perfect match for the right advertiser, but it had everything to do with the content. He was consuming that show because he was very interested in that content.

[00:22:29] I would never have consumed it cause it didn't interest me at all, but that's, what's so amazing about podcasts, right? Is that we do get that. And I think. yeah, what you're saying is really intriguing because we have this ability to, get in and look at the types of content that you know is being created.

[00:22:46] Bryan Barletta: [00:22:46] Yeah. And I think that, I think Night Vale a great example there. I liked that one because, I'm sure that your son has hobbies and stuff that they don't line up necessarily with night wheels, comment, content, He might be into mountain biking or something like that. And if [00:23:00] he got a programmatic ad.

[00:23:01] That was targeted to him about mountain biking. You're listening to this awesome audio drama, and then you get a disruptive ad from a promo that has nothing to do with the content. And I can't remember where I read it, but I know I read it last week that said that audio, advertisements that are not aligned and with the content can actually be substantially off-putting to users.

[00:23:23] So it doesn't matter that your son might have been in the market for a mountain bike. It, it would have been easier to market some creepy new comic or something like that, or a new, like some horror movie that's coming out or some suspense show on TV because it's, it aligns with the content better.

[00:23:40] It flows it's sounds like part of it's believable, even if it's announcer read that it could be part of that content piece. So I think that. We really do look so much at the user and the contents killer. I think it's really where we need to ship back the focus, especially thanks to all this privacy improvements that Apple is pioneering.

[00:24:00] [00:24:00] Heather Osgood: [00:24:00] Yeah. Yeah, for sure. It's so you wrote a really interesting article that just came out yesterday or today about some of the changes that Apple's making as well as the cookie and I've. I've been hearing the cookies going away and what's going to happen. I feel like it's almost like our lives are going to come crashing down because the cookie is going away as, without is the feelings that I get sometimes.

[00:24:19] But yeah. So tell, can you talk a little bit about some of the changes that Apple's making and that cookie piece as well and how maybe that's going to affect podcasting? 

[00:24:28] Bryan Barletta: [00:24:28] Yeah. So the big thing is that third party cookies were cut off from Apple and Firefox early this year when Google made an announcement at the beginning of the year, Apple and Firefox, both use a different browser engine web kit, and they decided to just cut them off and Google still plans to do it sometimes in 2022, but they've also backtracked and said, if they don't have a better alternative, they'll stop, but third party cookies, aren't all cookies.

[00:24:51] So if I go to a specific website and I take action on their site, that domain, Brian's website.com can cookie me [00:25:00] directly. And let's say that my cookie ID is one, two, three, and then they go to your domain. And you cookie them and it's four or five and six. We can't mesh that together, even though it's the same user, but we have attributes that if there was a central party, we sent them to, they could create ABC, which includes my one, two, three, and your four, five, six.

[00:25:23] And that's where the industry's going. We keep talking about privacy and. Yeah, it's going to be very hard for a third party on a website or in an application to get this data from you and just collect it and collect it. Facebook can't put a pixel on anything they want. They can put an SDK in any app they want, or that they partner with and just gather it, that app that you're participating in, that you choose to use.

[00:25:46] And you give permission to. That you create a login for it. You hopefully read the terms of service, which most people don't that information now. Is what's going to be the focus. So instead of Facebook, just being able to gather it [00:26:00] directly as a third party, those separate partners, each of those sites and apps will have to team up with an identity partner, which is what they're calling the new movement in the space that takes all that first party data, marries it together and creates another ID.

[00:26:15] So I'd love to say that it's like fantastic. But now, the onus is on the user. Every time an app asks, do you want to let this app track you and you say no, also read the terms of service for when you signed in by creating an account on that site, that app, you might be giving them the same permissions that you just said no to allow them to track.

[00:26:36]I think what's really going to happen in relation to podcasting is we're going to see a dip in this old style of how we were collecting data and the dips tend to come and go as new devices cycle through. There's a high turnover for new operating systems because they release a new one there  and that resets your ID most of the time. We're going to see a cycle like that, but instead of just re covering immediately, because you're going to the same experiences [00:27:00] now, it's going to be captured in a completely different way. Apple decided to make the change instead of it being in fall, which truthfully would have very much disrupted Q4 advertising budget.

[00:27:10] They're going to push it to early Q one Q two. But what it just means is that when that dip it happens, we need to be ready to transition over to a different solution. Nielsen's got an identity solution on the way. I'm sure claritas and true optic and all these other companies in the space too. It's whoever gets it up and running the fastest is going to have the least downtime or the least dip and matches. 

[00:27:31] Heather Osgood: [00:27:31] So I didn't realize when I was writing, reading through the information, I guess I'm sure it said third party cookie, but it didn't really click with me what that meant. So essentially when I go to a website and I agree to their cookies, like that's a first person cookie, or maybe second, I dunno.

[00:27:48]Because I'm on there, I'm on their site and every site you go on now, It's are you okay with us in our cookies? And I always say yes, because I'm okay with it. but when we're talking about third party, that's somebody that's [00:28:00] totally unassociated with any of the things that I'm doing, who's coming in and grabbing that information.

[00:28:05] So really we're looking at more than anything, that third party cookie and going away. And then as you're mentioning now, we've got all of these other solutions that are coming into play, which essentially means we're just going to create another company that is able to process through all this information and then sell it to Facebook because they still need to get it.

[00:28:25] Bryan Barletta: [00:28:25] Yeah, kinda. I might, I'm actually shocked that Facebook's angle isn't that they're going to just become an identity partner. they're poised to do it. 

[00:28:32] Heather Osgood: [00:28:32] That's good. Yeah. That's a good observation. I wouldn't, they do that, right? 

[00:28:36] Bryan Barletta: [00:28:36] Yup. But I mean, you know, they took the cookie change really seriously they shut off all of their audience network, which to be really clear, their audience network is only extension out of like facebook.com. There's no issue with facebook.com. This is advertising on apps and other platforms that use the Facebook supper outside of the core Facebook application and website.

[00:28:56] And so audience network, once Apple and Firefox made that change, they just [00:29:00] stopped serving ads for a website's completely. So audience network died there. they're talking about how they're going to have to kill it off in a app as well, which is really interesting. So we'll see. As Apple is under fire for their 30% cut of the app store.

[00:29:16] And Facebook is saying things like, this could end a major revenue source for all publishers on the app store. I think Apple is going to make some tough decisions. I think they're too far down the privacy hole to really backtrack a lot, but I really think that this is a lot of a horse and pony show that they're kind of just put it on the show that this is going to be a big deal because those identity solutions are going to knock it out of the park on getting right back up to speed. There's entire massive industries based on needing that data. and so what it comes down to as a consumer, as you really need to reconsider what apps you use and what sites you use, it's not a bad idea to log out.

[00:29:52] It's not a bad idea to review the privacy. Reading, some things use an incognito browser, use a browser that [00:30:00] doesn't allow any tracking or anything like that if it's concerning to you. But on the other side, sometimes, at least me personally, I'd like to get ads that are relevant to me other than things that I just purchased and they won't leave me alone.

[00:30:12] Heather Osgood: [00:30:12] Yeah. Yeah, I agree. and I think it's so interesting to me because I'm calling on all of these different companies to try and sell ads to them. And the instant that I'm on their website, I just like, Oh my goodness. They just follow me around the internet, like crazy. But I think in my opinion, I would rather see relevant ads, right?

[00:30:30] If I'm looking to buy boots and then suddenly I get ads for the next week, that doesn't necessarily offend me. Cause I'm looking to buy boots. I want these suggestions. I like these recommendations. So think to your point, you have to be really aware of what the terms and conditions are, which I think most people are not.

[00:30:47]And then if it bothers you, then put some practices in play to make sure that you can avoid that. How so we've been talking about this kind of as a general sense, and I know you talked a little bit about how it [00:31:00] applies to podcast, but let's talk a little bit about that attribution space and what's happening in attribution and how attribution tracking may be affected by this.

[00:31:11] Bryan Barletta: [00:31:11] Yeah. So there are only two areas that this identity change will impact podcasting, at least right now, one is any hosting partner that targets off of, demographic or segment targeting. So partners that use Nielsen or Claritas. So megaphone and Art 19 are two examples. They're going to have a little bit of dip in what they can identify.

[00:31:32] So their match rates for, identifying male versus female or their ages are going to drop when that change happens, whether the change is switching to identity preemptively to losing that data, or when Apple cuts it off. And then the company makes a new, like a new movement towards that space.

[00:31:49]The other part is attribution, because right now that third party information is like your device ID. So if I run an ad for someone to [00:32:00] download a new app, that ad in podcasting gets my IP. There's a strong chance that podcast, unless I randomly started streaming it outside of my home was something that I subscribed to.

[00:32:10] So it's downloaded overnight or when I'm connected to wifi automatically. So it's a stronger IP match. It's my digital household. And then it tries to see from any time after I listened to the episode or downloaded the episode, rather did someone in my household go download the app.

[00:32:30] And the only way apps can really do that is passing over that IDFA right. Your ID for advertising. And so attribution partners in app are going to struggle a little bit. I know there's some podcast partners, actually, I think most of the podcasts, attribution partners, pod sites, chartable barometric can all do that for apps.

[00:32:48] And I think that's where we're going to see a lot of struggle. And we're going to see some of the bigger industry players like apps, fire code Chava, in tune have to figure that out because it's really just connecting the dots there. But I [00:33:00] think the other areas that they all use device graphs.

[00:33:02] So the attribution partner to be able to say my IP address is this digital household. What device are in there? That's using. That IDFA data, that cookie data. And so companies like tap ad, are a great example used by podsights and chartable are going to need to figure out other ways to identify the other devices in those households to help them match for attribution.

[00:33:26] Heather Osgood: [00:33:26] So do you think, and correct me if I'm. Wrong on this, but you're talking about just app downloads and app downloads, like tracking app downloads is a relatively new capability of companies like pod sites and chartable right. 

[00:33:42] Bryan Barletta: [00:33:42] I think a lot of them have been able to do it for a while because what they really do is they partner with apps, fire code, Java, tune, these partners that are already built into the app.

[00:33:51] And instead of putting a pixel on a website, you put a pixel into their system. So they've been able to do that for a few years. I think apps going to get hit hardest because [00:34:00] IDFA is the currency and without IDFA, that's going to be an issue, but I think my digital household, what it looks like today with third party cookies and IDFA's is going to be very different than what it looks like with identity IDs.

[00:34:13] And it might be. Less of there might be less tracking. Like I have eight devices in my house and they might show 15 devices tap ad right now because of my parents visiting with their devices a few weeks ago, or, a friend came by and was here for an extended period of time at night, then enough to say Oh, we believe this device might be part of that household and then they, you know how they refresh it. But when they switched to identity, you might not be able to separate it as much. You might not be able to tell as easily that I was in an app versus a website, or you might not see all nine of my devices. You might only see four because of what identity partner they picked these.

[00:34:53] Remember the big thing here is that there's all these identity partners vying for that information. So if I own a website [00:35:00] and I pick one of the top three identity partners, then if. Tap ad uses the one of the other two, my information or my website's information is not provided to them. They don't have access to that.

[00:35:14] So I think the hardest part is we're going to see a dip in what the digital household means, but I think it's going to come back in a stronger way. 

[00:35:23] Heather Osgood: [00:35:23] I feel like to me, that's a positive because when I look at attributions and I think, okay, you do have 15 devices, partnered with that digital household.

[00:35:32] I think really? you could sit there and you could say, okay, we've got the fire TV, we've got the, four laptops and five iPhones and, you could, and if you've got a family, yeah. Maybe 15 is a reasonable number, but it seems like a lot of the digital households that I've looked at through some of the attribution partners we've worked with, it seems like a really big number. And I always wanted to say that seems wrong, right? Accurate. So maybe this will get us so true or data. 

[00:35:58] Bryan Barletta: [00:35:58] Yeah, I think you'll see [00:36:00] more used devices. I think you'll see the drivers of those actions.

[00:36:04]My iPad might be something that I read it on and do a few things, but I might only purchase things on my computer. My phone might be where I listen to podcasts, but I only sign up for new services on my computer as well, in that scenario. I think that we're going to see some of those phased out.

[00:36:20] We're going to see a more holistic view of the household, and we're going to have to be more comfortable with aggregate data because it's not wrong. If you can still tie it to the IP address, if you still know that household, we don't really need to get much more granular than that. If we can find out more about indexing.

[00:36:36]Is this household leaning one way or another? Are the shows that people or listening to leaning one way or another based on the households that listened to them? That's I think that's more actionable and more realistic. I truly believe all this focus on the specific household and the individual user is a hold over from digital, into podcasting and I think we, a lot of us have been telling people whatever they wanted to hear for a [00:37:00] while, because they don't want to be educated on it. 

[00:37:02] Heather Osgood: [00:37:02] Yeah. Yeah. That's fascinating. just to boil it down, if anyone's not familiar with attribution, the way I explain it in the simplest of terms is essentially we could tell who was listening to podcast and then we can tell when someone goes to the website and makes a buying decision. we can tell when they do all kinds of different things, depending on where we put the pixel on their site, but you know that the basics of it, if. people are totally unfamiliar with attribution. That's essentially what it is.

[00:37:26] And the value from an advertising perspective is that, we've had so much direct response to in podcast advertising where you have to enter this unique promo code or this, URL that's specific to get this offer and that's how people are tracking results. But then the beauty of attribution is that we don't have to have any of that.

[00:37:45] We can see that conversions are being made, which is obviously super important to advertisers. And I think what's so fascinating to me about the podcast space is that it's. Changing so rapidly as is all [00:38:00] technology, right? So the whole, digital world and everything else in our world this year in 2020 is changing quickly.

[00:38:05] But, I think that there is so much that is still yet to be discovered or yet to be established in the podcast space. And that's part of what makes it a whole lot of fun to be involved in because we get to be right now, we are the people who are forming this industry and creating how it's going to move forward.

[00:38:24] And obviously a big part of this whole conversation is all around privacy. How private are we? And one of the biggest challenges with podcasts is that when you're not on a device, like a phone or a computer, you don't have this kind of ability to opt out. And so I feel like that's been one of the conversations I've had certainly a number of times, is the privacy issues around all of this with podcasting, in particular because I'm listening to something. So I don't maybe know that I'm being tracked. What are your thoughts or what is your input on the privacy piece of all [00:39:00] of this? 

[00:39:01] Bryan Barletta: [00:39:01] So when I think about privacy, I think about CCPA and GDPR, the whole, practices of being able to opt out or opting in, depending on where you're located for people to track you. And I think that almost everybody in our space is probably compliant in silo, but you don't need to know as a listener, what hosting provider or what tracking provider, the show you listen to uses. You shouldn't have to go out of your way to go opt out of them. In the very near future, I'm going to be putting forward a call to action for all the players in this space. Spotify, Apple, Overcast, anybody who has a marked impression or a percentage count on player space, really they're the ones who should handle opt out and they should put that up there.

[00:39:44] Just like when you opt into a cookie, just like when you consent to give your information away and they should say, do you want to opt out of this data? And then from there, they should pass that onto the host, which passes it on to the publisher of the podcast, [00:40:00] which passes it on to all the attribution partners.

[00:40:02] Because being able to say that you want to opt out is something that has to originate with the user. And right now it's no. There are five different steps I have to opt out of every podcasts, their network, the player, the hosts, the tracking. I'm never going to do that. And there's so much room for error because I would have to be at home connected to my home wifi to get the right IP address to opt out. 

[00:40:26]Heather Osgood: [00:40:26] I think you make such a good point and it's so important for us, especially when you're entrenched in the industry. I heard years ago that if you feel like you need to clean or organize your house, that you should take a picture of it and then look at the picture because you are so familiar and you've looked at this space so many times that you don't see what is actually there, because you're so ingrained in it.

[00:40:49] And I think all of us in the podcast space where we're so ingrained, right? We're all so invested that sometimes it's difficult for us to see from a user perspective what's actually [00:41:00] happening. I had a fun conversation yesterday at a little gathering I was at, where, people ask me what I was doing and, just talking to them about what is a host read ad and, Oh, is that way it sounds like that, and it's fascinating because when we're in the industry, we feel like everybody gets it. Everybody gets this. This is. Super common knowledge, right? yeah, for us, cause we're in it.

[00:41:20] And I think when you're looking at privacy, that's, you're spot on. When I start listening to a podcast I'm going through Apple or iTunes, I'm going through Spotify, I'm going through Pandora, I'm going through overcast. So I am not necessarily looking at this and saying, Gosh, I hope The Daily is not tracking my income cause I'm not thinking about the fact that I'm going to the daily.

[00:41:41] I think about the fact that I'm going to Spotify, And so I think that's really like where are these users connecting with this content? And granted of course there are some lessons. There's that go directly to a podcast on there, computer and listen through somebody's website, but most listening is happening through these [00:42:00] apps.

[00:42:00] Yeah. Huge majority. So why not start the privacy there? Because it's not that we don't want privacy. Everybody wants to be able to be transparent. I think maybe I'm being naive, but I think people want to provide this privacy, but I also think that when we're looking at trying to build a sustainable. Advertising space in podcasts. We have to be able to play with all of the other, entities out there that are providing such rich data. And if we are so limited, it's really gonna, I think, handicap our ability to be able to grow as an industry. What are your thoughts? 

[00:42:38] Bryan Barletta: [00:42:38] I think that you hit a really cool topic.

[00:42:41] And one of the main reasons why I started this is that we, we all rise in sync together. This industry we're dealing with IP and user agent, we're dealing with the RSS feed. We are beholden to apps like Spotify and Apple. Spotify is not a podcast company. They're an app whose content has [00:43:00] podcasts.

[00:43:00]And so Spotify every day is going to be every one of you on advertising, because they're an app with a logged in user and they're able to target aggressively. And that's fantastic for them. But not all podcasts are a hundred percent right. Spotify. And so all the rest of us use iPad can user agent.

[00:43:18] And one of the reasons I start all this was nobody wants to talk to each other, but everybody has ideas for how to be collaborative. I've applied to the IAB checklab as an independent, I'm hoping to get in there. And I think one of the big things I really want to do is get everybody talking together saying like this should be an industry standard.

[00:43:35] These are things that we should all move forward on. There's no competitive advantage to counting downloads better. There's no way to do that. There's a way to gather it correctly and present it based on how you think it should be. But that gathering it correctly, we all have to be aligned there.

[00:43:50] And that's this space. We all have to stop. trying to compete with each other on certain things, right? Like the foundational parts. Compete on the higher level. There are different [00:44:00] reasons to pick megaphone versus arginine team versus a tritone and all these different partners. Super valid reasons, but none of them should be, how do we collect data?

[00:44:09] How do we fire a tracking pixel, a prefix URL? What is, and isn't a download. And so we have to come together and focus there.

[00:44:16]Heather Osgood: [00:44:16] And I feel like to me, Gosh, I started in 2016 in this industry and how to measure a download, like that's been established. We don't need to keep talking about it. Cause we already know, We've already got these building blocks and we've got that first foundational piece set. And what I hear you saying is, okay, now it's time for us as an industry to come together and work on some, maybe more complex issues that really need to be addressed in order for us to, really progress as an industry. 

[00:44:44] Bryan Barletta: [00:44:44] I think, unfortunately I think that's phase two for me, because the truth is if you grab any two vendors, and you trade download information from them on raw requests logs. They're not going to count it the same way. There's going to be differences. Some of them will be small, but from prefixed partner to prefixed partner, [00:45:00] they are all different.

[00:45:01] Heather Osgood: [00:45:01] I know they are. I know 

[00:45:02] Bryan Barletta: [00:45:02] it's a headache and it's something that we need to avoid because that headache takes three hours of account management time on each side to dig it into before you realize it's an engineering issue and then three hours from an engineer, then your 12 man hours into one campaign and the end of the answer is, we can't solve it. And that happens to every campaign 

[00:45:22]Heather Osgood: [00:45:22] Okay. So that is a good point. You're right. Because I feel like we definitely have had that issue ourselves where, you've got one show, it's getting these numbers here, you transfer hosting providers. They're both IB certified. So technically they should have the exact same numbers and they have different numbers. And you're like, why is this different? 

[00:45:38] But to your point, then really what you're saying is. The download doesn't matter, maybe as much as we say it does, especially when we can add all this other value. And ultimately the way I look at it is it doesn't download don't matter. What re what really matters is results, period. So results in what kind of content you're creating, [00:46:00] who is. Is getting that content in terms of, are you building an audience? Does your audience like what it is that you're building? Are you hearing from your audience that they like it? And then from an advertiser amazing perspective, our advertisers getting results from the campaigns, they run on your shows and unfortunately, We do have to help with that results piece because it's not always as black and white as, Oh yeah, I ran an ad. I got a sale. So we need to hope that process along. So maybe defining what a download is a passe conversation, because it's never going to result in us coming up with the same number. 

[00:46:36] Yeah, I hope we can get closer. And I hope we can put a lot of that too, but I don't think you're wrong. I don't think everybody's gonna agree 100% because there's no hard rules.

[00:46:44] It's all best practices. Sure. But you're right. Download is not the most important thing. The results are really important and empowering people to make those results are really critical and not trying to copy everything digital does. And realizing that sometimes by podcasting is closer to radio or out [00:47:00] of home.

[00:47:01] It is, and I know we need to start wrapping it up here, but one of the things that I always liked, I tell people when I talk to them is if you have, online, digital advertising in one hand, and you have radio traditional out of home advertising on the other hand, podcasts are really in the middle and.

[00:47:17] I'm okay with that. I'm okay with the fact that we aren't digital. And, but we're also better in my opinion and radio. So it's like, we can be our own thing. And we can be really good at what we're good at. And we can be really honest about the information we can provide, and do that to the best of our abilities and look at what differentiates us instead of maybe where the sameness is, and there's anything wrong with looking at that sameness, but what makes us different and better because of that?

[00:47:44] Bryan Barletta: [00:47:44] I completely agree. 

[00:47:45] Heather Osgood: [00:47:45] Yeah. Bryan, thank you so much for being on the show. I could probably talk to you for another 30 minutes to an hour about all the fun stuff happening in podcasting, but can you just tell us a little bit about where people can reach you and how they can get in touch? 

[00:47:57] Bryan Barletta: [00:47:57] Yeah. So soundsprofitable.com will [00:48:00] redirect you to the Podnews site. Where we have all of the articles. We had the fourth one posted up today. Very excited for that. You can email me at bryan@sounds profitable.com. I spelled it both ways, but I prefer it with the Y. So it should be easy to get in touch with me that way.

[00:48:16] I'm very excited to talk to basically anybody in this space. I'm doing this full time for awhile to make it sure I can talk to everybody in the space and see how cool and how far we can push this concept. 

[00:48:25] Heather Osgood: [00:48:25] Awesome,  it was great having you on the show and I am sure we'll talk to you again real soon.

[00:48:29] Bryan Barletta: [00:48:29] Awesome. Thanks for having me take care.