Marketers bullish on podcast programmatic … but most selected marketers don’t know what programmatic is

In an exceptionally interesting report from global podcast behemoth Acast — “The Rise of Programmatic Podcast Ad Buying” — we learn about a generally bullish attitude among podcast marketers toward programmatic advertising in podcasts. There are numerous interesting details and measurements.

A Key Point and its Refinements

The lead bullet point Acast emphasizes is this: Marketers expect the share of podcast spend  bought programmatically to nearly triple in the next five years. 

Digging in, we see context which adds color to that general approval of programmatic, and expectation of its growth. First is the tailored nature of the study. Acast refined its selection of survey respondents from the initial cohort by administering a quick test: Did the marketers know enough about programmatic to offer meaningful participation?

Mostly not. Acast asked marketers to pick a definition of “programmatic buying” from a list of marketing terms. Only 39% chose the correct answer. That is startling to us, and Acast noted that the screening results “further [indicated] the education gap this report serves to address.”

Nevertheless, the screening test allowed enough participants to proceed with the study. Even so, only 42% of the survey group had “detailed understanding” of programmatic buying. Fifty-nine percent had actually purchased programmatic ad buys.

The Main Learnings

The respondets like the podcast marketing opportunity, expect the share of programmatic to grow, prefer self-serve programs, and perceive podcasts to be under-sponsored generally. The slide below details Acast’s main points.


In a more general finding, the study found that programmatic-savvy marketers regard podcasting with extreme favorability for safety, targeting potential, value, and other key characteristics. These findings are illustrated below — and notice that podcasting is trashed by participating marketers for its lack of diverse audience reach.


Acast did not supply us with a download destination for “The Rise of Programmatic Podcast Ad Buying, but queries can be directed to

Brad Hill