Hi. I’m Joel Sharpton. And I’ve been a loud advocate and avid user of dynamic ad-insertion for my podcasts for the last several years. This weekend, I moved all my podcasts away from that model & to a whole new media host. Here’s my explanation of why I made that move, and why I used the technology in the first place.
About four years ago, I met Jay Soderberg who had just joined the Blog Talk Radio team as an executive in charge of their Prime Program. Blog Talk had a reputation in the podcasting industry but it was basically only for bad audio quality. Blog Talk did in fact have some revolutionary tech, it’s recording platform which had allowed folks to host and stream call-in radio-like shows with very little technical know how or setup & even more important, their dynamic ad insertion tech. They had not only pre and post-roll ad stitching but midroll as well. Dropping advertisements right into the middle of the show, which at the time was not only novel but basically exclusive for indie podcasters.
Until this point I’d been hosting or cohosting three podcasts but was hoping to do more over time. I’d also been very fortunate to have a partner who bankrolled a lot of the expenses since I was handling all the technical stuff & the actual editing.
To be very frank, in the years before my move to Blog Talk there were definitely months where paying for hosting multiple shows & the websites domains associated would have been difficult for me alone. I certainly wouldn’t have been able to justify starting a new show unless I had investment or sponsorship before it even launched.
BlogTalkRadio allowed me to forget about that concern. While also taking the expense off my partner. It turned the cost for hosting my shows from $5-$20 a month to an actual payment to me in that same range, even though none of my audiences was ever very large.
That’s why I was happy to use the service and recommend it to others. For hobbyist podcasters in a small niche where sponsors are unlikely and listener support wouldn’t work, this is a way to make your show a plus in the ledger anyway. That’s as true today of services like Spreaker’s prime program and Anchor’s ad system as well. There’s nothing wrong with it, and there’s no shame in it. Know what it is, know what it could do for your show and you, and then decide if it’s the right fit.
So. Since I love it so much, why I have I decided to stop using it?
Well, again, to be very frank I’m in a much better place than I was when I started podcasting for lots of reasons but primarily because I now have a business built on my podcasting and helping others polish and perfect their shows.
The expenses I incur for hosting media pale in comparison to my website, taxes, software and hardware purchases etc. My personal calculations are just much different than they were in the past.
Meanwhile, nothing’s changed about my belief in dynamic advertising for podcasts. If anything, I think the future means more of that, not less. It’s the model that YouTubers and the generation raised on YouTube expect, and through companies like Voxnest and Anchor it appears to be available to the masses if they want it.
So, again. Since I love it so much, why I have I decided to stop using it?
The reasons are THREE!
1. There is some exciting new developments in hosting. - I had been wanting to try out Captivate from Rebel Base Media for a while and it came out of beta last week. Good timing, right? If you wanna try it you can use my link here to try it out with a 7 day trial
2. Most of my shows are not a good fit for advertising that isn’t super targeted or advertising at all. - I have a progressive religious podcast that I just put on Squarespace to start specifically because I didn’t want any advertisement. I’ve got another that is super short personal stories. Tiny audience & no way to fit in an ad break that won’t ruin it.
3. I wanna try some new things with Always Listening specifically. Things that just won’t fit with having a generic insurance ad or burger joint etc. - specifically? Direct podcast sponsorship. We’re gonna do promos for your podcast, at reasonable rates based on demand available today at the link below.
So that’s it. I’m experimenting in a couple different ways with my shows & I’ve outgrown dynamic ad insertion personally. At least as it’s currently available and for my current needs.
But my point here broadly is that that’s what I’M doing. Not necessarily what you should be doing, or what every right-thinking podcaster should do.
Is your show a hobby? Is money tight but your passion meter full? Then maybe the generic insurance ad and a spot about the burger place is just right for your show. As long as it keeps you podcasting, don’t let anybody tell you different.
I damn sure didn’t.