Podcasting has exploded in the past decade. Today, more than 100 million Americans regularly listen to podcasts on their desktops, smart phones, or tablets, with programming ranging from comedy to news to true crime, sports, self-help, and spiritualism.
I recently chatted with Stew Redwine, VP of Creative Services at Oxford Road, a Los Angeles-based audio ad agency responsible for the placement of hundreds of millions of dollars in audio ad spend. Oxford Road has lately doubled down on podcast advertising opportunities, so I thought it was a good time for a conversation with Stew, who’s worked with the company since its inception in 2013.
One pressing question I had for Stew, given my background on Madison Avenue, is the degree to which scripted messaging – once considered sacrosanct – is yielding to improvised messaging by podcast hosts even as brands remain averse to “brand-unsafe” programming. As Stew observes, a new generation of tools – some of them provided by Oxford Road – may make it easier for brands to allow host “message riffing” while staying inside brand safety parameters.
In the complete interview below, Stew and I discuss Oxford Road’s origin story, how the company has evolved over the years, Oxford Road’s Audiolytics analytics system used to evaluate ad effectiveness, the inherent persuasive power of audio, the degree to which the COVID pandemic changed podcasting consumption, the types of podcasting ad units available to advertisers, tools that marketers can use to identify the best podcast on which to advertise, how marketers should allocate budget between podcasters with large audiences and those with small audiences, and other issues germane to audio advertising, podcasting advertising, and digital media buying.