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adStream: Pre-rolls and spot loads in Stitcher

adStream is a journal of ad-stalking and interesting commercial sightings in streaming audio services.


adstream - jan 2015 - stitcher squarespace 250wWith podcasts and other on-demand talk programming so much in the post-Serial news flow, we turned our ad-stalking mindset to audio ads in podcast streams. We opened the Stitcher app to gauge how much interruption there is, and of what type.

We discovered a similar spot load equation as in music platforms, but because talk programs run long, we encountered vast stretches of uninterrupted listening.

Our Stitcher test account has a history of preferences, so it algorithmically programs a stream of archived shows, packaged program excerpts, and podcasts. the program lengths during our listening sessions ranged from two minutes to 48 minutes. The session started with a pre-roll for Squarespace, a blogging platform. As we noted in an adStream in October, pre-rolls give marketers an outstanding showcase. They usually can’t be skipped, as the program elements can (or many YouTube ads). Pre-rolls are mild speed bumps for the user.

We heard our next ad (the identical Squarespace spot) after six programs — well over an hour of listening.

The Squarespace campaign included an accompanying visual (the IAB calls these Companion Ads) which enjoyed a full-screen takeover of the iOS app. Interestingly, the companion banner remained indefinitely after the Stitcher stream resumed. We could close it out with a well-marked X.

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Brad Hill

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