iHeart Media Rolls Out New Ad Marketplace for Podcasts

Competitors, including Spotify, have gone a similar route

iHeartRadio is going live with a new ad marketplace. iHeartRadio
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Chasing industry trends, iHeart Media is about to become the latest audio company to release a custom ad network. Executives say iHeartPodcast AdSuite will tempt brands and potential partners—and set the company apart from its competitors—with a unique array of ad formats across platforms and custom tools.

The new options are available to longtime advertisers, or what iHeart Media calls “premium brands,” immediately, with the goal of making real-time dashboards available to all brands by the third quarter of the year.

“These brands are using 2020 as their year to jump in and invest,” Conal Byrne, president of the iHeartPodcast Network, told Adweek. “As that happens, the timing felt right for us to try and help brands make more sense of the podcasting medium as it relates to what they can buy, what they should buy, what products make podcasting so unique and better than other mediums and how to report back the performance of their campaign.”

What will set this network apart from competitors, executives say, is the ability to offer advertising opportunities across platforms—at such a sizable scale; iHeartMedia boasts a reach of more than 150 million downloads each month with over 750 original podcasts.

Included in iHeartMedia’s products is a quick snapshot of audience insights, dubbed AdSuite Insights, and iHeartPodcast TakeOver, letting advertisers appear as the first ad in every iHeartPodcast that day.

“When you can start to take the creativity in host-read ads that are coming out of podcasting and deliver an amplification technique to push that over broadcast radio, all of a sudden, brands can get much more exposure to audiences they really covet through the creativity coming out in the podcasting space,” said Carter Brokaw, president of digital revenue strategy for iHeartMedia.

The new offering will be announced today at Podfront LA 2020. Some of iHeartMedia’s competitors have touted new advertising opportunities of their own including Spotify, which recently announced its Steaming Ad Insertion technology that provides updates to brands including reach and ad impressions.

The new iHeartMedia marketplace comes after the network had a wave of layoffs last month, resulting in what estimates said put at least 850 people out of jobs.

It also comes at a time when the podcasting battle between iHeart and Spotify is heating up. Last week, Spotify picked up Bill Simmons’ content machine The Ringer, which Bloomberg reports was a $250 million deal. That acquisition comes on the heels of Spotify hoovering up two other podcast powerhouses, Gimlet and Anchor, last year.


@SaraJerde sara.jerde@adweek.com Sara Jerde is publishing editor at Adweek, where she covers traditional and digital publishers’ business models. She also oversees political coverage ahead of the 2020 election.