We sat down with Bryan Barletta to get the inside scoop about the current state of podcast adtech, everything from the golden metric to the biggest problems in the industry.
It has been a big year for podcast advertising - US podcast ad spending is set to increase by 38.7% YoY and, in just two years, US podcast ad spending has increased from $701 million to $1.33 billion in 2021. We sat down with Bryan Barletta to get the inside scoop about the current state of podcast adtech, everything from the golden metric to the biggest problems in the industry.
When it comes to understanding podcast ad-tech, Bryan should be your go-to guy. Bryan has worked in adtech for over 12 years. In August 2020, he left his role as a Senior Product Manager at Megaphone and decided to take a risk - dive headfirst into the wild west of podcast adtech. Over the last year, Bryan’s newsletter and podcast, SoundsProfitable, which breaks down the technical details of the podcast advertising space has been read and listened to by a substantial number of people in the industry (3,481 active newsletter subscribers to be exact!). You can find him on Linkedin, Twitter, and of course, sign up to receive his in-depth newsletter.
You can listen to the episode here:
Bryan shares his thoughts on the following topics…
What is the golden metric in podcast advertising: [16:02]
“I think that download is the one that we need to focus on and we got to let go of listen, right? Because listen is not a metric of the podcast ecosystem. It's a metric of an app ecosystem. It's a metric of streaming audio. But, download is something universal."
What are some tried and true methods in podcast advertising? [24:35]
"Programmatic always works. It's great. You really should spend time making sure that you secure yourself and have yourself handled correctly so that you can block the things you don't want to be associated with...That's gonna pay off nine times out of 10. I really believe that."
Biggest or recurring problems in the podcast adtech world: [28:32]
"I think the biggest one is the argument with streaming. I think that that is the hardest for everybody. I think that, people who are buying podcast advertising right now, either realize they're onto something really cool and are digging into it, and are not talking about it that much. I think that there are a lot of people finding tons of success in podcast advertising who don't want people to know about it, and that's a shame for the industry. I would say the question and the issue that I run up to a lot of is how do we know that they actually listened to it? And the answer is simple - we don't. But you also don't know that they watched everything on the TV, you know, you don't know, they watch it on YouTube ads, you know, uh, all these different things. There's no way to know outside of attribution really, or surveys to tell if the ad was effective and that's more important."
His perspective on live audio tools and its possible effects on the podcast industry [30:02]
"I that they're all really neat. I think that they would have done way better earlier on in the pandemic. but I think of it just like another way to record, right? I don't think about it disrupting podcasting. I think I personally am so over tuning into something live right now that I'll just wait for the on demand version and if they don't have it, then I probably didn't care or someone that I respect we'll recap it. I don't think it's going to cannibalize anything. I think that the people in clubhouse want to be in something live. so I don't think we're losing share on podcasting. I just view it as another format."
Noam Schulman: [00:00:00] Welcome to the thought leaders podcast. We discuss what's trending in the online sphere from podcasts ad tech to the explosion of gaming. We sit down with experts in the field who share their experiences, successes, setbacks, and tips for anyone who wants to understand more about the world of digital content.
David Tintner: So let's kick this thing. Well, thank you very much, Brian, for joining me today, I'm joined with Brian Barletta. The founder of sounds profitable. And Brian describes himself as the buzzword of podcast ad tech. I love that Brian and I pulled that right off your LinkedIn.
David Tintner: And I just was laughing myself as I was reading that. Thank you very much for joining us today.
Bryan Barletta: Yeah, thanks for having me. I played on that. I it's so funny. These people are like, what's your title? And I'm like, janitor. I'm like, I don't know. And at the end of the day, like everybody's got a cool buzzword for their title.
Bryan Barletta: So I figured I'd just, uh, be sarcastic when I put that up there. I'm glad you liked
David Tintner: it. I was actually laughing in my chair and [00:01:00] I was like, I want Brian to know that I appreciated that. So, so Brian, You've basically become the person, the go-to in the industry for everything about podcast ad tech.
David Tintner: what I would like to know is how did you get there? How did you get to be the guy who knows everything, every detail going on in industry?
Bryan Barletta: Oh, wow. Um, uh, I mean, I guess the easiest way was, you know, I, I dove into ad tech when everybody treated it like a chore. I mean, I, I can remember the first company I was at 13 years ago where the CTO is the person fighting the.
Bryan Barletta: Uh, and, and like a text-based interface and he was so fed up with it. I was just like, oh, let me do it. And I just thought it was really clever. I ultimately caused millions of dollars in damages because I served ads on the New York times iPad app that could not be closed. Um, but that didn't deter me. I didn't get fired.
Bryan Barletta: and I just kept diving into it because I think that it's so interesting because. [00:02:00] Sales is very neat. And I think it's cool. And you know, your paycheck reflects on what you do. And I think that the creative side is amazing. Um, but I think that being the glue that connects all those things together and makes everybody happy and lets them do their job without stress is, is really fun.
Bryan Barletta: And that's, to me what ad tech is, right? It's the, it's it's everything from the analytics to the infrastructure, to the advertising that just pulls it together. And so just being able to. You know, know that what I did help positively impact their ability to create that or sell that is what drove me.
Bryan Barletta: And so, you know, I started off at barometric, uh, which was acquired by, Claritas for podcast attribution. I went over to megaphone. I was there for about nine months. I was the senior product manager of data and monetization, and I, I truly am passionate about ad tech. So I think that step one, start with the bug, uh, or step two, dig into something that you don't hate yet.
David Tintner: And I how you described that as being the glue. Um, because you know, you had these positions where you were, as you mentioned, the product [00:03:00] manager, but it seems like you were always kind of being the go-between between the business side, being the technology side and really kind of.
David Tintner: Finding how to make everything drive value at all. The tech actually brings value back to the users or the businesses or the clients. Is that kind of how you saw your role there? Yeah,
Bryan Barletta: absolutely. It's so funny. I spent a lot of time training people to become sales engineers, which is like the primary title, I think for like the glue or solutions architects is another name for it.
Bryan Barletta: And what it really is, is it's like an engineer who can understand the sales cycle or a salesperson who, you know, is like a super user of the platform. Um, and that's, it's just so critical, right? Like that's, that's such a valuable. Set of knowledge that I think that if anybody is too far on one of them, that my goal with the type of stuff that I'm teaching is to help people center themselves around it so that they can be both.
David Tintner: Absolutely. [00:04:00] I love that. So, as you had multiple positions in ad tech space, you were deeply involved in technology. You were understanding what drove value back to the business. And maybe you can take us from how you got from there to what you're doing now at SoundsProfitable .
Bryan Barletta: Yeah. So in August of last year 2020, I left megaphone, before the Spotify acquisition and I was trying to figure out what I really wanted to do next.
Bryan Barletta: Um, I really felt like we were not onboarding people into any industry. Um, but podcasting there's so much potential ahead of. That we're spending so little time on the past or the present even. Um, so it's hard to get people up to speed. It's hard to look at these people that are account managers, um, you know, even product managers, salespeople, and.
Bryan Barletta: Realize that in two to five years, they're going to be the people that are the directors and VPs, because they're just not empowered enough for it. And there were a lot of topics that I felt like I couldn't talk about. When I was at one specific company, there was a [00:05:00] lot of knowledge. I felt like I couldn't accumulate, uh, when I had to be in my specific silo and not know how everybody else's platform work.
Bryan Barletta: So I took a risk. I reached out to James Cridland and pod. And we started collaborating and we, you know, he started sharing some of my articles I wrote on medium. And then I said, could we do it as a newsletter? And so we partnered up, I own sounds profitable. It's part of the pod news network and James has supported it and blown it up.
Bryan Barletta: And then Evo Terra has helped me, uh, through editing and producing and planning all of it. Yeah. It kinda just exploded. I took a risk, uh, like you do at the worst times. Right? My son's birthday was just coming up and we're planning on having a second kid. And I was like, sure, why not? Um, and here we are here, we are almost, you know, it's about 10 months later, um, a substantial number of people in the industry are reading it and we're putting out a piece of great content to learn from completely free every week.
David Tintner: I love that. And I can definitely speak from my own experience as well, that [00:06:00] when you get the entrepreneur bug, uh, when it bites, I mean, there's just, you can't wait for the right time or, or try to time it. I mean, you gotta just gotta go for it. And it sounds like that's exactly what you did. And it now looks like that was a, an excellent decision for you.
David Tintner: Yeah.
Bryan Barletta: Thank you. Thank you. I think you're right there.
David Tintner: So where you were, you had all these roles in ad tech, and, but before megaphone, you weren't specifically zeroed in on podcasts, right?
Bryan Barletta: Well, Baremetrics started at attribution overall, but very early on, we found the benefit of focusing on, podcasting, because there weren't a lot of competitors in this space about, I guess, six or seven years ago. Now at this point, um, progressive auto insurance and w NYC were just like, can you actually track attribution, in podcasting and the sales guy's like, yeah, absolutely.
Bryan Barletta: And I'm sitting there like, oh, sure. We can figure that out. And that, that kind of led down the rabbit hole, everything else, kind of lost its color and podcasting became the focus [00:07:00] we did. And I think clarity is still does attribution outside of other, uh, other than podcasting. But the, the big thing there was really, we had this opportunity and we dove into it.
David Tintner: And it's funny. And we definitely see that with thought leaders too, that the, kind of ceiling on how big the opportunity is with inside the world of podcasts is basically just limitless. Um, you know, the further we dive into it as well, just the bigger we realize it is. So that totally makes
Bryan Barletta: sense.
Bryan Barletta: Yeah. One of the things that's always hard to look at is like, we have all these things going on in the world right now that are taking more attention or more ad spender or whatnot. But, um, and I am not a cryptocurrency fan in any capacity. I don't really dig into it. But if you look at it, right, like the people yelling about this, just going to get bigger, it's just going to get bigger.
Bryan Barletta: And everybody says they're crazy. And then years later it continues to just get bigger and bigger podcasting. Isn't a huge ad spend industry today. But there's too much behind it. There's too much momentum. The speed at which it gets bigger, the speed at [00:08:00] which it starts to compete with CTV or other things like that or radio, or I don't know when it's going to be there, like a bigger part of the pie.
Bryan Barletta: But it is going to be there at some point. And so any company that takes a gamble on it, now, the question just becomes when it becomes everybody else's primary focus. And if it's already your primary focus or a majority of your focus, I think there's just so much room for like success, right? Like when the tide changes towards podcasting, if you are already geared up to keep that flow going, you're going to win.
David Tintner: So, so let's talk about that, keeping that flow going, or kind of when the tide changes and podcasting ad spend just reaches the Heights that we both think it will, you've kind of gone all in on the ad tech side of podcasting. Is that what you think will take it we'll, we'll take it. There is that what's missing in the world of podcasting right now, in order for the ad spend to be [00:09:00] comparable to those other formats
Bryan Barletta: I don't, I don't know.
Bryan Barletta: I mean, so for me, ad tech is anything that enables advertising, right? So it's all the way from the hosting to the actual serving of the ads, the analytics, everything in between. So I consider the thought leader platform, you know, and how you handle, the information about podcasting ad tech. Right? So I think that that type of technology.
Bryan Barletta: It is absolutely what's going to drive things forward. I think innovation comes from information, right? We figure out where the holes are. We figure out what we can do more with less. And that's where the power really comes from. I think that there is tons of unsold inventory, and I think that there is a staggering number of advertisers, not in this space.
Bryan Barletta: Uh, and so I think. That ad tech yeah. Is really going to drive it. I think that the salespeople with the relationships, with those advertisers who haven't tried out podcasting are really going to be what make or break it. I mean, it's the, it's the core technology that's going to enable it. And right now we're seeing apple and Spotify and potentially Amazon and Google in the [00:10:00] near future kind of silo it off and say, well, I understand it's open, but we have our own version of it.
Bryan Barletta: And that has the risk of fragmenting it for the whole industry but making them millions or billions of dollars.
David Tintner: That's interesting. you said that as, um, what you see happening with kind of, apple, Google, Spotify right now is it's technically a bad thing for the industry or something that is going to keep it smaller.
David Tintner: Well, if
Bryan Barletta: you think about it, right? Like the, the big factor podcasting that everybody likes to focus on is that the publishers actually own what's going on. Right? Like the publisher picks their hosting platform. Their hosting platform is where their data, uh, or where their episodes are gathered from. But the problem is, is that the apps that are gathering it once they hit a substantial size, can get analytics that they don't
Bryan Barletta: have any obligation apparently to share directly with the publishers now, apple, Spotify, and Google all provide login portals that provide app based metrics. They can't come through the RSS feed. Uh, let's say, let's [00:11:00] not say can't let's say won't right, because they're not those apps. Aren't going to start passing freely data, whether aggregate or individualized.
Bryan Barletta: And so. They're motivated to keep you in their own platform. You can see this with apple, pushing the ability to do paid subscriptions. And one part of it is that you upload the audio file directly to them as a hosting platform with no RSS feed for that additional hosting, meaning they own it.
Bryan Barletta: Right. And now the non third party validate. Metrics that they provide you or all you're going to get for that data. And you don't have it in your hosting platform. And they're gonna be able to tell you listens. They're gonna be able to tell you downloads, it's not validated. You're trusting them completely.
Bryan Barletta: It's not gonna match between apple, Spotify, or Google, but they're offering you things that the openness of the RSS can't right? That only the tool and the app in front of the listeners. We see what Spotify too, with their subscription offering. That's only available if you host on anchor, which gets more into the full stack, right?
Bryan Barletta: We have Spotify and [00:12:00] Amazon are two companies that own hosting and the app, and then own other technology or ad sales teams. And so that's really interesting there, right? Spotify has already proven to you that if you host with anchor, you're going to get more features. If you host with megaphone, you're going to get access to their in-app advertising, offering a whether for them to sell it for you or you to sell it yourself.
Bryan Barletta: At some point, some of these offerings are going to be compelling enough that a publisher really will have to decide. Is it worth it if 40% of my inventory is not in Spotify when it's so easy to run and I can make so much more money just focusing on Spotify, should I kill the open nature of my remaining stuff?
Bryan Barletta: Because it takes four times the effort for the same return.
David Tintner: So, and I think that's kind of like what we saw with Joe Rogan, let's say, or someone who bought into, the exclusive deals with Spotify, right?
Bryan Barletta: Yeah. I mean, I think that, that makes a lot of sense. I think that if any, any single host out there or any publisher out [00:13:00] there that can take a deal right now to be exclusive, or even more like the, the deal with, with Amazon that just went through, I'm blanking out of the name of the show, but they, all it is, is they're just going to have it a week early on Amazon.
Bryan Barletta: I think that now's a good time to cut deals with a timeline, for any creator because there's a narrative to it. if you decide to leave, right? Like there's, there's so much opportunity for these people to, to make a bunch of money and give it a shot. If it works awesome that they get to be a success story.
Bryan Barletta: If it doesn't work, uh, they can go like the Joe boudin route. And, uh, that's now their narrative. I left Spotify. It didn't work. But I think at some point it's not going to be million dollar deals. I think at some point, someone at Spotify will call sounds profitable and say, Hey, 60% of all your downloads are through Spotify.
Bryan Barletta: We can empower you to do your own ad selling with our app based tools. We only take X percent. We're also going to sell the inventory for you. We'll take Y [00:14:00] percent. And if you go exclusive, we'll bump that up Z percent. And at some point I'm going to go. That other 40%, I have an account manager for, I have a sales person for, I have to constantly argue why I can't provide the same metrics there that I can in the Spotify ad serving side of it.
Bryan Barletta: And then there's no millions that are exchanged. Someone just made a value proposition that proved that I should take that increase that bump by just cutting off my RSS feed. And that's what scares me
David Tintner: and if I've understood correctly, then the real value proposition is in the metrics. Right? There's a couple other things here, but I think that that's what you've you've honed in on is like, this is the killer feature that we have some special metrics that you can use to sell to your ads, to brands that no one else has that are verifiable, that are exactly what the brand needs is that correct?
Bryan Barletta: Yeah, I think that that's really what the sale becomes for them, because remember Spotify is doing app based advertising. And so when [00:15:00] they can go to trade desk and when they can go to major partners out there using those tools and say like, Hey, you can buy this like programmatic streaming audio.
Bryan Barletta: It happens in real time. It's not based on the download, which broadcasting is primarily based on. but it's based on the stream because we know as the app, when it exactly happened, it's a tough value proposition. I mean at the end of the day, we're going through the same thing in podcasting that we went through and search in social and all these other things compared to display it's at the metrics are different, right?
Bryan Barletta: You don't yell at the person with the billboard that can do digital out of home and say, well, can you tell me exactly who at what time saw it and make sure they fit the demographic, right? You don't complain about the video at the gas station and understanding who they specifically approach, but podcasting
Bryan Barletta: is in that fighting phase where we need to represent ourselves and we need to push back and we have to say that there are enough metrics, but unfortunately our competition is from within ourselves, which is big companies like Spotify, apple, Amazon, and Google, who can simply say [00:16:00] we can do podcasting better specifically with us and you already work with us.
Bryan Barletta: So keep working with us
David Tintner: so on your show and in your newsletter, you've discussed a lot about the different metrics and you mentioned a few of them even now, but what is the golden metric or something that everyone is, you know, this is the thing that everyone is striving for. And if you have this, you know, you have just nailed it in podcasting
Bryan Barletta: well, I mean like the types of metrics, I think that download is the one that we need to focus on and we got to let go of listen, right? Because listen is not a metric of the podcast ecosystem. It's a metric of an app ecosystem. It's a metric of streaming audio. So the apps themselves can tell you, listen, when the listener actually
Bryan Barletta: pressed play when like to the timestamp, right? When they actually made it a set number of seconds into it, how far into it they went into. But, download is something universal, even companies that are not, or hosting platforms that are not IAB certified, which is the bureau that oversees and certifies validity of [00:17:00] metrics and compliance that their regulations it's.
Bryan Barletta: You know, everybody follows what a download is, right? It's 60 seconds of audio being sent to the listeners device. And as we move away from auto downloads on most apps, or restricting how they work, right, it's only three to five episodes before it shuts off on apple podcasts
Bryan Barletta: when a listener presses play it's a progressive download. And I can press play on an episode for one second, turn on airplane mode, and I've got a minute 30 of the episode downloaded. So what we need to focus on is that a download is intent to listen and that's, what's important, right? And, it's the people buying advertising and worried about, oh, did they listen to the ad?
Bryan Barletta: We'll use attribution use other things like that to focus on was the ad effect. Because if an ad, if a podcast has a ton of downloads, but nobody's listening all the way through then a campaign with attribution will show that because that specific podcast will perform very poorly.
David Tintner: And what's the [00:18:00] best way today to run a campaign with attribution.
Bryan Barletta: There are so many great partners out there. Um, you know, there, I think that for digital to digital, I can just list all the ones that I know. And I work with, um, art Sy, uh, chartable pods. Claritas, uh, loop me leads are X. Um, AdsWizz has their own for their programmatic platform. I don't think there's a wrong answer for attribution.
Bryan Barletta: I think at the end of the day, it's like it's picking a brand, right? It's brand allegiance, no pod sites versus chartable no, one's going to tell you necessarily better data. They're going to tell you data and presented in a way that works for you because everything is directional and how you act on it and grow.
Bryan Barletta: That is more important than what it says. If you run one attribution campaign with each of them, you know, like that's the end of the story. But if you take that advertiser and you say, well, we're going to run a second one with the same partner, then you're gonna be able to see the growth and the change from your strategy.
Bryan Barletta: So no wrong partner. I just [00:19:00] recommend everybody do it.
David Tintner: Okay. So essentially it doesn't matter. As much, if let's say one is slightly more accurate than the other, what matters more than anything is that you're using a partner repeatedly and you're able to understand differences between each time that you run an attribution campaign
Bryan Barletta: well, yeah, I think that there's no way for one, to be more accurate than the other, it's all opinion, right? Like, because we're not getting the full data set and if we're not getting the full data set than we're making inferences, and if we're making inferences, it's based on whose inference you liked the best, right?
Bryan Barletta: Like who looks at the data the same way that you do, who can break it down and explain it the same way you do? That's what's more appealing. What UI do you like? How quickly does it respond back to it? Can you and your teams use it quick enough to make changes to show results that's what's more important because just like the podcast that don't perform, attribution companies don't stick around.
Bryan Barletta: If they're not, if they don't have active clients that they're not proving their value.
David Tintner: So take us through your current, content [00:20:00] set up, you got the newsletter, you got the podcast, right? And you're selling ads and everything that you do as well. what are you focusing on today with content and what are you focusing on tomorrow?
Bryan Barletta: Yeah. So I view myself a little bit different. I think that the B2B space is very interesting. I think, a direct to consumer is really tough, but when it's business to business, it's way different. And so from day one, I focused on the fact that I'm going to write content that basically anybody in the space that reads is going to find value from and even more so people creating content are going to find value of using it as a base of.
Bryan Barletta: Here's an unbiased view and how they explain XYZ. And here's why we say we're the best at it. Um, and so I did a sponsorship model, so I differentiate sponsorship from advertising because advertising is about metrics. It is about number of impressions. It is about performance and all that. And I said, for this.
Bryan Barletta: Anybody who sponsors it, you're focusing on helping me create more content. So your focus and your value really comes from [00:21:00] your logo in your association, right? You can feel comfortable sharing that article with your client when they're asking, how does geo-targeting work because your logo is on it. So I set my sponsorship based around the newsletter, which is my primary piece.
Bryan Barletta: We have as of today, 3,300 subscribers to the newsletter in 10 months. we're seeing an awesome 50% open rate and we have a total. 52 sponsors at 10 months, which is, uh, blows my mind. Uh, thank you for being one of my first, uh, custom sponsors. We do an awesome segment where we specifically do market insight and Noam from your team has started writing it and it's I love it.
Bryan Barletta: I'm so happy with it. And so the podcast is an extension of the newsletter because there's two versions of the podcast. One is I interview people. I take the topics from any of my articles that I find experts in this space, and we talk about it. We let them kind of guide it towards what they like and what is interesting to them about it, so that we can expand on it in ways that they don't get to, because a lot of them are [00:22:00] salespeople or marketing people and I want
Bryan Barletta: people to hear them laugh. I want people to hear the human side of them. Uh, and, and they're not here to sell. Right. They're here to tell you about the things they're passionate about related to that topic. And then the other one is I narrate the articles and I have my
Bryan Barletta: sit with the, he does the, like the, the section titles, um, and that's been a really fun bonding experience for us.
Bryan Barletta: And then I just do our rotating version of the do dynamic ad insertion for the sponsors. I do an ad read for every sponsor I have, and then we put it in rotation and basically every download it cycles through who's next, making sure it's an even split of downloads. And right now I do have two ad slots in the middle that I basically just
Bryan Barletta: left available for anybody. Anybody can submit me an ad and I just run it for them. We're going to change things up in the near term, reformat the whole podcast. And I'm really excited about that. And we'll be announcing that soon, but yeah, I mean, I don't sell any ads directly on the podcast. I sell it overall to the whole brand.
Bryan Barletta: and because I was doing something different because [00:23:00] my intention is to talk to someone on a business level, not an individual level. I focused on sponsorship and endorsed.
David Tintner: And I love that. And Brian, I'm not sure if you know this, but actually that is kind of what I did originally with hacking UI, my newsletter and podcast and how thought leaders was essentially born, same kind of setup.
David Tintner: about six years ago, we were doing a B2B newsletter podcasts blog about, uh, web design and development and went the sponsorship route as well and never looked back. And I think he really touched on. There that there is a major difference between B2B content and B2C content and the way it can be monetized.
David Tintner: I know. And I've been following your monetization on all of your content really closely, and I can say, as a sponsor as well, it's working great for us. And it's not about the numbers that you would see with something that's a, B2C ad or, or content for more general audience, it's about, you can drive real sales of [00:24:00] expensive products for brands.
David Tintner: And that's something that I think as you found yourself with sponsorships, I found with hacking UI that the ad world, or let's say the programmatic ad world still hasn't really caught up on.
Bryan Barletta: Yeah, no, I agree with you. I mean, the whole space is just, it's so interesting. There's so many different ways to attack it.
Bryan Barletta: And I think that anybody in, in podcast advertising or anybody in any advertising scenario, like there are so many different ways to monetize it. And if you. Are not interested in learning and focusing and taking your shot and ask people to try something outside the box. There are some really great tried and true methods.
Bryan Barletta: Programmatic always works. It's great. You really should spend time making sure that you secure yourself and have yourself handled correctly so that you can block the things you don't want to be associated with. but you know, if you can call a company directly and say, here's my pitch, let's do something unique.
Bryan Barletta: That's gonna pay off nine times out of 10 I really believe that. I think that once you get a flow, once you get a few in there and you, you think outside the box, but that [00:25:00] becomes a full-time job. And if your job is to create content and not sell well, then, you know, it's tough. It's it takes a lot of passion and a lot of effort to combine the two and, and you know, it it's way easier to plug something in, but that's the difference between a $2 CPM and a $50 CPM.
David Tintner: Totally. And today's is that your job? Completely. Are you split between creating content and selling or do you have any help with that?
Bryan Barletta: Yeah, it's completely me. It's uh, I was not expecting things to go in the direction they were right now and it's been so awesome. I think that sometime next year, I'm going to be planning to figure out how to expand things more.
Bryan Barletta: I do have someone who handles like my social media for me, uh, and is helping me, guests on more, uh, podcasts and panels, um, which has been really great because I don't have a lot of outreach there. And there are so many great people in podcasts and, you know, events that I haven't been a part of because it was in the backroom working with engineers. and then I have an amazing team for, uh, helping me edit the article and helping me edit the [00:26:00] podcast and come up with ideas there. But at some point I'm going to have to expand it.
Bryan Barletta: The biggest thing that I've found is that. People need to remember to treat themselves as a resource. I do one hour of consulting with all my sponsors every month and we get to talk about whatever they want. And that can be something that, you know, I answer a question that they have, because they could only think about it inside their box because they weren't able to see
Bryan Barletta: what the rest of the space is doing. There's no one in the rest of the space is going to talk to them about the truth. They're going to talk to them about their competitive and marketing space. But when they say, oh, we're the only one who does X, Y, and Z. And I get to be like, well, here are four other companies that have been doing that longer.
Bryan Barletta: How about we figure out how to differentiate? That seems to provide a ton of value to
David Tintner: that is so cool. I didn't know you do that. It's really If you will almost taking what influencer marketing is on the, on the DTC side. And you're kind of doing that on the B2B side, um, obviously instead of being, you know, just an influencer, you're being a [00:27:00] consultant and influencing the internal team within the very company or the very brand that's.
David Tintner: Coming to you because they also want to reach your audience. Same way that you let's say influence your audience. You're going, and you're doing that as a consultant internally at the brand. I had no idea that you did that and that's really, really
Bryan Barletta: cool.
David Tintner: And I'm sure you're probably, you know, um, obviously you, you do it as, you know, you, you want to learn yourself and you want to help your sponsors and get renewals, but I'm sure you're learning tons.
David Tintner: That's helping, um, to grow your business as well.
Bryan Barletta: Yeah. It's I mean, it's great because you hear the same question repeated two or three times, and it's a great article. It's a great area to focus on. Right? You see a deficit in people, trying to figure out something specific and you know that there's not enough education around it or not enough competitors in the space.
Bryan Barletta: And I think that my biggest advantage is that I'm not building something to sell. Like I'm all I'm selling is myself and the knowledge, right? Like the only people who can pay me are the sponsors. And every piece of information I put out is to grow [00:28:00] the space. So when people tell me these problems, it's nice because I'm not going to turn around and be like, well, I built a product and you should buy it from me.
Bryan Barletta: Or I have an exclusive service. It's simply like, cool. Here's how we have to do it. Here's a call to action. Here's you know, who we can connect. And that just helps the space because everybody has these cool ideas. I'm honestly just in this lucky position where my sponsors have given me the ability to take that cool idea, whether I generate it or hear it from somebody else and just kind of connect it to a path, kick it back over to them and say, yeah, you should super run with this.
David Tintner: what are some of the biggest problems or most recurring problems or ideas that you hear over and over?
Bryan Barletta: I think the biggest one is the argument with streaming I think that that is the hardest for everybody. I think that, people who are buying podcast advertising right now, either realize they're onto something really cool and are digging into it, and are not talking about it that much.
Bryan Barletta: I think that there are a lot of people finding tons of success in podcast advertising who don't want people to know about it, and that's a shame for the industry, but I understand [00:29:00] regarding the secrets of the podcast that worked for them or the strategy that they have. Um, but I think at the end of the day, the bigger the advertiser would get.
Bryan Barletta: You know, the more they want to focus on reach, the more they want to focus on using all the tools that they have internally to them, the less they want to send over an IO and an email and treat it manually for something that is not financially worth investing in on their end. I would say the question and the issue that I run up to a lot of is how do we know that they actually listened to it?
Bryan Barletta: And the answer is simple - we don't. But you also don't know that they watched everything on the TV, you know, you don't know, they watch it on YouTube ads, you know, uh, all these different things. There's no way to know outside of attribution really, or surveys to tell if the ad was effective and that's more important.
David Tintner: So the biggest problem is still really around. let's say metrics, attribution, and really measuring these things.
Bryan Barletta: I think it's the narrative around it. I think the tools work great. Um, but the [00:30:00] narrative is the bigger problem.
David Tintner: How do you feel about, live audio tools like clubhouse and Spotify is getting in the mix with their own tool?
David Tintner: Facebook says they have one coming. Is this going to be making some serious impact in the world of podcasting in any way? Or is this just a fad that's going to disappear?
Bryan Barletta: I that they're all really neat. I think that they would have done way better earlier on in the pandemic. but I think of it just like another way to record, right.
Bryan Barletta: I don't think about it like that social media aspect. I don't think about it disrupting podcasting. I think I personally am so over tuning into something live right now that I'll just wait for the on demand version and if they don't have it, then I probably didn't care or someone that I respect we'll recap it.
Bryan Barletta: And so that'll be valuable there, but. I don't think it's going to cannibalize anything. I think that the people in clubhouse want to be in something live, uh, and if they weren't in that they would have been in a [00:31:00] discord chat or they would have been at a live event or they would have been talking to people.
Bryan Barletta: so I don't think we're like losing share on podcasting. I just view it as another format. Right. We're using. Riverside right now to record, and we could theoretically have done this whole thing in clubhouse by using the right technology disclosing that we're recording. So I think that that's, that's the interesting way to look at it.
David Tintner: I'm happy you said that. And I also am kind of not finding the value as much in live. I almost want the host and producer to do the work for me to cut it down, to bring me the edited version, the thought-out version, and, you know, strip out all the, the white space that I don't need to hear.
David Tintner: at, at thought leaders, one of the things that we're leaning really heavily into is transcribing all of the content that we analyze. We're transcribing podcasts, we're transcribing YouTube videos of transcribing Twitch, and we realized that that's a great way that you can kind of jump in and just catch the stuff that matters to you.
David Tintner: [00:32:00] To search quickly through texts, find snippets, pull pieces, jump to a timestamp. I don't really want the live version in most cases.
Bryan Barletta: Yeah. I don't have a lot of time to consume content right now.
Bryan Barletta: I think that that's the truth, right? Like I think that some people like the raw and live, but there's a value in it being produced. There's a value in it being cleaned up and package It's the same reason why I'm not interested in watching certain types of shows. And so for me, Right now where I am in life. I need something that's digestible. I need something that gets the point across quickly and good or helps make me slow down.
Bryan Barletta: And you can only do that. If you spend some time and effort into. Producing it,
David Tintner: Absolutely. I could not agree
Bryan Barletta: more. You, you made a comment real quick on this. You said that you focused on transcription, but I actually challenge you.
Bryan Barletta: I don't think you focused on transcription. I think you focus on insights on text, and I think that's a big differentiation. You [00:33:00] guys jumped from 12,000. podcast that you were transcribing to 50,000 and that increased your pool of what you're digging into with texts and if tomorrow something's changed in the industry and every podcast had transcripts, you guys, your value proposition isn't that you transcribed 50,000 podcasts.
Bryan Barletta: It's what you can do with all that text. And I think that that's really the future. Like I think market insights for these types of things we are as an industry, there's, there's so much room for us to do so many interesting things. And that's where we really need to focus on that pool of how many you're going to transcribe that can change overnight.
Bryan Barletta: You could pay and get more of them. The industry could change and you could get all of the. What you guys are doing with it and you're reporting to on it actually is what interests me and why I reached out to work with you in the first place, because I really liked that. I really liked the fact that, that the insights and the digging through it and the hands-on is way more important than just like, Hey, you can search for Casper [00:34:00] mattress and see just how many Casper mattresses or Casper ads have been out.
David Tintner: Absolutely. I think you're, you're, you're definitely hit the nail on the head. The transcription for us was just like, let's call that the raw data or the enabler, but then once we have the raw data in our internal language, we call it connectors. We're constantly building more and more connectors on top of this raw data.
David Tintner: So a connector can be like brand extraction. You mentioned red fine Casper. So that's a connector that we have today. Um, a connector could be sentiment analysis. It could be understanding w we have a connector about to come out that saying, is this sponsored or not? For each piece of text, they use as an NLP model to run over every piece of text and say, you know, with fairly decent accuracy.
David Tintner: Is this likely a piece of paid for, essentially audio video, but we've transcribed it down to text, where we can add more connectors in the future for other types of entity extraction, identify people identify a game in inside of the contents. [00:35:00] Uh, but we need that raw data to be able to go into the deep analysis of the content itself.
Bryan Barletta: That. And honestly, I'm really excited about that. I want to see what more you guys do with that raw data. And I want to hear you talk about it more to get nerdy on that stuff, man. I think at the end of the day, there's like you have your specific way of digging into it and that's, what's really cool. I think that's what drives a lot of people to work with you.
Bryan Barletta: That's the important thing to focus on. You could tell people exactly how to do this. You could talk through it, I guess exactly how you do all this. I can't compete with you. I can't go copy that. Right. And even if I could copy that, I got to shift my entire business model to go do that alienating the people I'm currently working with.
Bryan Barletta: So I want to hear you guys talk about it more because people want to hear that people want to understand how the gears work and you guys have a lot of gears. And that's really cool because if you log into the platform, there's a lot of things you can mess around with. You can change a lot of settings and get basically any result.
David Tintner: Thanks, Brian, [00:36:00] appreciate the, I'll tell you, I'll give you kind of the early, uh, access into one of the things that we are releasing very soon. Um, and maybe by the time this podcast comes alive, it will already be out. But, um, nobody else knows this at the moment outside of the company, besides you now, Brian, that we, we are releasing, we working very heavily on network insights on podcast networks.
David Tintner: So up until now, everything has been around the channel, right? The. And shall we tags which network the podcast was on, but we never had, we have a thought leaders report, which is essentially a report of all the channels and aggregations based off of, um, all of their content telling you how many sponsors they had, or how many w all sorts of metrics around it.
David Tintner: What we're doing now for the first time is we're actually taking that report and we're going to allow people to flip it to be a report of networks or even podcast hosts. We'd love your feedback on it, but we're really excited to start digging into what is going on [00:37:00] at the network level and in our preliminary research on it, we're seeing crazy stuff like crazy differences between the networks and tracking down like sponsor relationships, which on the surface look
David Tintner: really, spread out and then all of a sudden you realize like, oh my God, that giant brand is appearing in all of those different podcasts in all of those different categories was actually only working with one network.
Bryan Barletta: Yeah. That's and that's the type of insights that I'm talking about. That level of looking at things doesn't happen often in podcasting, because there's so much thing so much more to look forward, right. Instead of you guys trying to do more outside of what you already did, what you did is you looked at the data points you had and you flip them and you combine them and you tag them and you did more, what you have, right.
Bryan Barletta: You looked at the constraints, you didn't think of what other vertical or what other value you could add into it. You did more of what you have. That is absolutely where we need to spend the next two years. [00:38:00] That is what's going to make or break everything in this space because it's not the downloads aren't enough.
Bryan Barletta: It's that we haven't spent enough time to show why downloads are more than enough because there's always someone who's going to say yes for that person who says no, and that's, that's the big thing I like to focus on. So I'm really excited to get a walk through that and play.
David Tintner: Yeah, definitely. Well, um, Brian, thank you very, very much for joining us today. And I know we're just about out of time here. So I wanted to wrap up by giving you a chance, first of all, to let everyone know where they can reach you and how they can get in touch with you. And I can say from firsthand experience, he's super accessible and you should reach out how should people find.
Bryan Barletta: Yeah, you can find firstname.lastname@example.org. That's the website. We've got the newsletter. It links out to the podcasts and everything there that is easily hands down the best way to find me. Um, I truly mean it. If you reply back to any email, I will respond. you can follow us on Twitter at [00:39:00] sounds, prof news. Uh, and then we also have the podcast, which you can find, you know, wherever you listen to podcasts because you're listening to a podcast or.
David Tintner: And thank you for everything you do. Brian, you're pushing the industry forward and you're making podcasting, uh, grow and you're helping a lot of creators out there earn a living. So thank you very much for your work and thanks for joining us.
Bryan Barletta: Thanks for having me.
Noam: Thank you for listening to the thought leaders podcast. If you'd like to learn more about what's trending in the online sphere, make sure to follow us on LinkedIn and sign up for our weekly newsletter. I thought leaders.io. Subscribe now wherever you get your podcasts to stay tuned for the next episode, this podcast was hosted by David Tintner edited by and produced by me, Noam Yadin.