Pandora, the largest digital audio platform in the US, is planning to take advantage of the growing podcast market by introducing a more efficient search tool for users that will ultimately help brands improve their targeting in this medium.

“Pandora created personalised music discovery – that doesn’t exist in podcasts,” Pandora CEO Roger Lynch told The Verge earlier this year. “We’re building for podcasts what we did for music, which is the podcast genome.”

The Podcast Genome Project, due to launch later this year, is intended to help people more efficiently locate podcasts that interest them – and better discovery by users opens up far greater opportunities for brands to target relevant audiences, the company believes.

Lizzie Widhelm, SVP of ad innovation and sales enablement at Pandora, explained to AdExchanger that the genome project aimed “to bring [listeners] podcasts that align with their interests and Pandora listening behaviour.

But, she added, “That’s hard to do. You need to know at the episodic level, who was on the show? What were they talking about? What’s the context of the conversation? What kind of story are they telling?”

And then all that has to be analysed, tagged and served up appropriately. “Brands will be able to say, ‘I want to talk to moms 25 to 44. Tell me where I should be?’”

Widhelm outlined an imminent future where “we’ll show them [advertisers] a media plan that might run across multiple shows, targeting their audience within the time frame they want to reach them. They won’t have to buy a whole show.”

According to Edison Research, 26% of people in the US (73 million) listen to at least one podcast a month – and 51% of these listeners have an annual income of $75,000 or more – with 15% of them earning $150,000, or more.

“Listeners are gravitating toward spoken word content and we want to provide easy and effortless access,” Widhelm said. “Nailing the personalization piece is going to set us apart.”

Sourced from Ad Exchanger, The Verge, Edison research; additional content by WARC staff