Podsights' $4M Venture Round | Attribution, Opportunity and The Future

March 23, 2021

Podsights Funding 2021

Podsights raised $4M in new venture funding led by Newark Venture Partners with participation from Graham Holdings, Aglaé Ventures, and our existing investors Greycroft, Supernode Global, BDMI, and Betaworks. We wanted to recap Podsights to date and outline where we are going with our war chest (hint: hiring).

Podcast Attribution

Brands, specifically marketers, continue to be the lifeblood of podcasting. Without sponsorship, we would have little of the fantastic content produced by incredibly talented podcasters, publishers, and producers. Podsights’ mission is to empower these marketers to invest in the medium and grow podcasting.

Two years ago, we set off to answer what seemed like a relatively simple question: “Is my podcast advertising working?“. Since then, we’ve worked with over 750 brands, a few billion impressions, and over $128M in advertising spend. Below is the number of impressions that we measured as part of campaigns by month:

In 2020 we expanded the product to include incremental lift, branded podcast measurement, reach/frequency, and overlap across campaigns. From the prominent new features to the thousands of tweaks, everything Podsights builds enables marketers to validate and scale their podcast advertising.

“Podsights has allowed us to scale our podcast advertising program confidently,” said Jillian Hope, senior marketing manager, advertising, at HubSpot. “Previously, we had very little data to help make decisions or prove ROI. Podsights’ attribution and reporting tools have been invaluable in helping us prove the effectiveness of audio advertising.”

Opportunity

Podcasting is a haven for marketers seeking new audiences outside of social and digital. Those marketers are successful because of feedback loops. If a creative does well, we spend more on it, an audience converts, we find more of that audience.

Podcasting lacks feedback loops. We can determine what works at a show level, but scaling past a few shows or one publisher, we lose the narrative of what’s working. We introduce the bias of what shows the marketer likes, and we never truly find the brand’s audience.

In practice, it’s a prediction problem. If Podsights is running a marketer’s attribution, can we help predict what shows will also resonate with their users? Or more simply, to answer a new question: “What show should I buy?”

Podsights happens to be one of the better companies in the space to solve this problem. We are a 3rd party, so unbiased by serving or selling ads, and we thoroughly understand the obstacles marketers face.

We don’t believe in half measures. If we were going to build out the platform, we had to bring in additional capital to grow our team and scale our product. With that, we got out a big duffle bag and went looking for people to fill it (with money, we didn’t put people in the bag).

Investment

Our current financing is led by Newark Venture Partners (NVP), with Allison Williams joining our board. Audible is NVP’s founding corporate investor, which, without explaining the mechanics of LPs and VC firms, means they are tight. NVP brings deep expertise in the audio space.

“The fastest growth category in advertising, Podcast advertising offers an engaged listener-base that has proven strong brand recall and conversion. Podcast advertising needs better tools for marketers to put real budget behind it, and we have no doubt that Podsights is the right team to make this happen. As proven leaders in Podcast attribution, this is just the beginning of what they plan to offer brands, publishers and agencies. We are very excited to be a part of the team.” - Allison Williams, Principal at Newark Venture Partners

Additional investors include Graham Holdings, who seem to be kingmakers in the space, with previous bets such as Megaphone and Gimlet and Aglaé Ventures, the investment arm of Groupe Arnault, whose namesake is the CEO of LVMH. We are also excited to welcome back all our existing investors who believed in us from the start — Greycroft, Supernode Global, BDMI, and Betaworks.

Fun fact, Podsights is profitable, so the entirety of this investment is headed towards new products and people.

Future

Honestly, we don’t see a world where podcasting is purely programmatic. First-run, host-read ads make the medium effective, and targeted run of network or run of show placements make the medium scalable.

We want to keep what makes podcasting special without devolving into display ads. To that end, here’s the future.

There are two driving factors: context and audience. For context, we are using speech-to-text to determine what themes run across hundreds of episodes in these large campaigns are most effective.

For audience, Podsights has entered into agreements with two of the leading segment providers to bring audience insights to campaigns.

We are also relying on our internal database of hundreds of thousands of podcast ads to understand the competitive landscape for a brand and benchmarks by industry.

With these data points, Podsights will help marketers answer the question, “What podcasts should I buy?”

Podsights will work with publishers who have opted in on our platform. If you are interested in joining our alpha, drop us a note.

For the record, we aren’t building an ad server. We have plenty of friends with great ones. We want to help them build audiences for always-on advertising, something missing from the podcasting’s current offerings.

We started 2020 with a team of 4, and we are currently a team of 15. Podsights is looking for people to build the future with us. Or, if you know someone that wants to, that’s cool too, and we’d like to talk to them. Here are our current openings:

I’m at sean@podsights.com if you want to chat directly.

Onward.