CHICAGO: The evolution of podcasting has taken another step with the launch of PodWave, a "quasi-programmatic" marketplace for podcast advertisers.

Some 56m Americans listen to podcasts each month and, since the successful Serial podcast, the advertising industry has been taking an increased interest in this area, with the IAB last year running the first-ever podcast upfront and the Panoply podcast network developing new ad insertion and measurement products.

Created by AdsWizz, an adtech firm serving the digital audio market, PodWave promises to provide premium publishers with ad creatives specifically tailored to best fit podcast content.

It also enables advertisers to deliver targeted audio ads tailored to listeners' locations, listening devices, demographic categories and other profile elements, including the subject matter of the podcast.

"Podcasters that use AdsWizz's server-side solution are able to insert one-to-one targeted ads, regardless of the service or device," said Alexis van de Wyer, CEO of AdzWizz.

And that, Ad Exchanger added, includes podcasts syndicated to streaming platforms like Pandora and Spotify.

PodWave inventory will be sold by National Public Media (NPM), the sponsorship sales team for NPR and PBS stations and their digital offerings.

"The idea is: if people want to buy a specific network show, they can go directly to a publisher," said Gina Garrubbo, president-CEO at NPM. "But it's time-consuming, and it's not the way a lot of agencies and brands to want to buy media.

"This is a quasi-programmatic solution, a scalable solution, that makes it easy for brands to target specific genres, specific demographics, across multiple publishers," she told Advertising Age.

Even if it's not the full programmatic package, it has the potential to be a game changer. Stuart Mays, Director of Commercial Strategy at Global Media & Entertainment, speaking at last year's Ad Week Europe, said: "If you get programmatic right in digital audio, then it's going to be an accelerator."

Readers can download an Admap article explaining programmatic advertising

Data sourced from AdsWizz, Advertising Age, Ad Exchanger; additional content by Warc staff