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Vocalize For A Better Podcast Ad Experience
Episode 10221st March 2022 • Podcast Pontifications • Evo Terra
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Evo Terra:

Podcast advertising has much greater recall than other forms of ads.

Evo Terra:

But how many times have you forgotten the URL, a coupon code, or even

Evo Terra:

the name of an advertiser when you were ready to take action?

Evo Terra:

Hello, and welcome to another Podcast Pontifications with me, Evo Terra.

Evo Terra:

Podcast advertising is hard on all sides of the equation if I'm honest.

Evo Terra:

It's hard to efficiently buy, it's hard to efficiently place, and it's hard for

Evo Terra:

the ad buyers to integrate podcasting ads with the rest of their ad buys.

Evo Terra:

And, yeah, okay, okay, sure, I recognize that a billion dollars

Evo Terra:

or so is already being spent on podcast advertising just in the U.S..

Evo Terra:

So the hurdles aren't insurmountable.

Evo Terra:

But still, they could be made better.

Evo Terra:

Especially for brand advertisers who've invested quite a lot to build

Evo Terra:

up their brand equity - brand equity that they can't often leverage in

Evo Terra:

podcast ads, whether they're live read, or programmatically inserted.

Evo Terra:

One company, Vocalize Inc., is trying to change that.

Evo Terra:

Vocalize Inc.

Evo Terra:

is the Branded Benefits Sponsor this month, and I recently sat down with CEO

Evo Terra:

CJ Silva and asked him what Vocalize is doing to make podcasting better.

CJ Silva:

So there is an inherent flaw in podcast advertising

CJ Silva:

as it stands right now.

CJ Silva:

The call to action, the way that listeners connect to brands and the

CJ Silva:

talent on the podcast is hard to remember.

CJ Silva:

It's usually a URL.

CJ Silva:

It's a string of letters - .com, .org - followed by, typically, an offer

CJ Silva:

code, something that people forget right away after they hear it, right?

CJ Silva:

They want to get back to listening to the content.

CJ Silva:

So the ads aren't foremost on their mind.

CJ Silva:

What's important to them is really the podcast, right?

CJ Silva:

The content.

CJ Silva:

So what Vocalize does is makes it easy for people to remember how to

CJ Silva:

connect with the brands or the talent.

CJ Silva:

What we do is we allow the brand or the talent to create a unique phrase, and

CJ Silva:

when that phrase is spoken into Siri or Google Assistant, it will take that

CJ Silva:

listener directly to the website that the brand or the talent wants them to go to.

CJ Silva:

So, for example, let's use Nike.

CJ Silva:

Nike has a world famous motto in "Just do it."

CJ Silva:

So instead of providing the listener a call to action of go to

CJ Silva:

www.nike.com/podcastshowname, they can just simply Vocalize "Just do it."

CJ Silva:

So, the listener can then just into Siri, say, "Hey, Siri, Vocalize."

CJ Silva:

Siri will ask for a phrase, and all they have to do is say, "Just do it."

CJ Silva:

Safari's going to open automatically to the website

CJ Silva:

that Nike wants them to land on.

CJ Silva:

And Nike can actually set a different website based on the

CJ Silva:

state where the user's located.

CJ Silva:

So they may have a different landing page they want for people in Florida because

CJ Silva:

it's warm weather versus somebody who's still in the colder weather in Maine.

CJ Silva:

So they can use the same campaign and still deliver a user to

CJ Silva:

a more targeted experience.

CJ Silva:

Additionally, you're getting the listener to speak something about

CJ Silva:

your branding, which is really unique and it's something memorable.

CJ Silva:

It's simple for people to remember.

Evo Terra:

So it sounds like Vocalize is mostly an ad tech play.

Evo Terra:

Do you agree with that summation?

CJ Silva:

Absolutely.

CJ Silva:

The origin of the company was really listening to a podcast, I heard an ad

CJ Silva:

for a company called Boll & Branch.

CJ Silva:

I'm not sure if you're familiar with them, sheet company.

CJ Silva:

Kind of great messaging where they say three former U.S.

CJ Silva:

presidents sleep on their sheets and it was something that resonated with me.

CJ Silva:

But like most podcast listeners, I didn't remember the name of the company.

CJ Silva:

I didn't remember the website they announced three times during the ad,

CJ Silva:

using up valuable time in that ad read.

CJ Silva:

And a few weeks later I was looking for sheets, believe it or not, and

CJ Silva:

I was like, oh, you know what, there was that company I heard, couldn't

CJ Silva:

remember the name, but I remembered they said presidents use their sheets.

CJ Silva:

So, did what most listeners do, opened up Google, typed

CJ Silva:

presidents and sheets, nothing.

CJ Silva:

Nothing came back about Boll & Branch, which I was really surprised.

CJ Silva:

I was like, wow, I was like, I wonder how much they spent for that ad

CJ Silva:

in order for me to see every other competitor that they have out there.

CJ Silva:

So the minimum ad spend on that platform was about $10,000.

CJ Silva:

I was like, what a waste.

CJ Silva:

They just spent ten grand to send me to see every other competitor

CJ Silva:

except for their product.

CJ Silva:

And, you know, that's when I was like, it would've been a lot cooler if they

CJ Silva:

just told me to grab my phone and say, "Sleep like a president" into Siri.

CJ Silva:

And I would have remembered that.

CJ Silva:

I would have remembered that two weeks later, but I wouldn't remember the name

CJ Silva:

of their website, the name of the company, and especially not the offer code.

Evo Terra:

Does this work out of the box?

Evo Terra:

Does a brand need to do anything other than register

Evo Terra:

their Vocalize phrase with you?

Evo Terra:

And it just works?

CJ Silva:

So, yeah that's all they have to do.

CJ Silva:

So we have a marketplace on the backend.

CJ Silva:

It's similar to registering a domain name.

CJ Silva:

In this case, you would register your phrase and then set the

CJ Silva:

destination URL, and that's it.

CJ Silva:

The end user right now needs to have either our app or an

CJ Silva:

app that has our SDK installed.

CJ Silva:

So we're actively looking for SDK partners such as podcast players

CJ Silva:

that are looking to provide a better experience for their listeners,

CJ Silva:

something different against all the other podcast players that are out there.

Evo Terra:

It sounds to me like you're really looking at this more

Evo Terra:

as a play for brand advertisers than direct response advertisers, yeah?

CJ Silva:

Correct.

CJ Silva:

But there is some benefit to direct response, right?

CJ Silva:

Because now the websites you can be delivered to don't have to

CJ Silva:

be published websites, right?

CJ Silva:

They can be deep links, something that's not searchable.

CJ Silva:

So now you have the exclusivity factor.

CJ Silva:

So if you're a podcaster, the only way that somebody can access this

CJ Silva:

content is to speak this phrase.

CJ Silva:

So there's no way they could go to Google and search for it or find it.

CJ Silva:

It's not going to be something memorable for somebody other than copying and

CJ Silva:

pasting it, sending it via email.

CJ Silva:

So we've created speakeasies on the internet, right?

CJ Silva:

So now somebody can say this unique phrase and get into somewhere unique and

CJ Silva:

get that exclusive content that there would be no other way for them to get.

Evo Terra:

Yeah, so it's like click-based advertising where you can put a click

Evo Terra:

for a deep link, but really we've tried that in podcasting, it just simply

Evo Terra:

doesn't work for a lot of reasons.

Evo Terra:

But one thing we can universally do is say something aloud.

Evo Terra:

Vocalize is doing something that's, well, unique in this space, but there are lots

Evo Terra:

of other options where brands are trying to place ads and track the efficacy of

Evo Terra:

their ads and get their name out there.

Evo Terra:

What is it you think that Vocalize offers that's better

Evo Terra:

than the existing standards today?

CJ Silva:

A lot of the tracking that's being done in podcasting

CJ Silva:

is based off of IP tracking.

CJ Silva:

Right?

CJ Silva:

So we know that a podcast was delivered to this IP address

CJ Silva:

or this household or this area.

CJ Silva:

And then we look to see conversions based off of that

CJ Silva:

within a certain amount of time.

CJ Silva:

Now we can see direct correlation.

CJ Silva:

We can see how many times those phrases were actually said.

CJ Silva:

We know when those phrases, where they're said, where

CJ Silva:

they're coming from on what day.

CJ Silva:

So the attribution could be much higher.

CJ Silva:

With the implementation of the tracking pixel, we can get really granular so

CJ Silva:

now we know exactly the conversion where it came from, from the point at

CJ Silva:

which the user spoke that phrase all the way to the desired effect for that ad.

CJ Silva:

The hurdle we have is education, right?

CJ Silva:

Because it is changing consumer behavior.

CJ Silva:

We've all accepted URLs as the way the internet works.

CJ Silva:

And honestly, they suck.

CJ Silva:

I mean, they're really, guys like me invented it years ago

CJ Silva:

and it just became the norm.

CJ Silva:

And they created domain names, which are our pseudo language because IP

CJ Silva:

addresses were way too cumbersome.

CJ Silva:

I mean, there's a reason Google is a multi-billion dollar company, right?

CJ Silva:

Because it's not easy to remove URLS.

CJ Silva:

Right?

CJ Silva:

We all remember jingles from when we were little kids, the DOUBLEMINT Gum.

CJ Silva:

We all sing them, honestly, they just, they stick.

CJ Silva:

So if you can use that same capability within humans, something that's

CJ Silva:

easy to remember, it's something that they'll go back to at any time.

Evo Terra:

What's next for Vocalize?

CJ Silva:

So we're in talks with some major companies

CJ Silva:

as far as deploying our SDK.

CJ Silva:

I can't mention their names, but this would Vocalize-enable upwards of thirty

CJ Silva:

million daily average users instantly by them adding our SDK into their app

CJ Silva:

a lot of people have installed already.

CJ Silva:

We're also building out our development teams so we can fully

CJ Silva:

execute some of the roadmap I mentioned with the tracking pixels.

CJ Silva:

But we're looking to also expand our exhaust data capabilities.

CJ Silva:

So being able to find out how many people said certain phrases on certain

CJ Silva:

times, and then potentially export that in a much more unique way.

CJ Silva:

Right now we can do it in a CSV file, just some raw data that they can pop up.

CJ Silva:

But we want to make that a little bit more user-friendly as well.

CJ Silva:

So that's really, we're focusing on our SDK work.

CJ Silva:

The focus is we're not going to get fifty million people to

CJ Silva:

download our Vocalize app, right?

CJ Silva:

Not going to happen.

CJ Silva:

But to focus on our SDK partners and we're making really good progress there, as

CJ Silva:

well as building out our development team.

CJ Silva:

We're really excited with what's upcoming in the next few months.

Evo Terra:

If podcasters are interested in this, what should they do right now?

CJ Silva:

They reach out to me.

CJ Silva:

You can purchase your phrase on Vocalizemysite.com.

CJ Silva:

If you have the app, you can just Vocalize "best website ever," if

CJ Silva:

you want to get right to our site.

CJ Silva:

Or you can email me, you can just email cj@Vocalizemysite.com and that's

CJ Silva:

Vocalize with a 'Z' for those Anglicised listeners that may use an 'S' in there.

CJ Silva:

It's real simple.

CJ Silva:

It takes about five minutes to set up a phrase and it works instantly.

CJ Silva:

Even if you change the URL destination, it updates instantly.

CJ Silva:

It's not like a domain name where it takes about twenty-four hours to hit

CJ Silva:

and propagate across the internet.

CJ Silva:

It's immediate.

Evo Terra:

Special thanks to CJ for coming on the show to explain how

Evo Terra:

Vocalize is making podcasting better.

Evo Terra:

This conversation sparked a few ideas for me.

Evo Terra:

Like, how do we make our podcasts more attractive to brand-based advertisers?

Evo Terra:

What does a world where voice assistants are much more universal

Evo Terra:

look like for podcasters?

Evo Terra:

And what can we podcasters do to make our own content more memorable?

Evo Terra:

Those are topics I'll be exploring the rest of this week.

Evo Terra:

But for now, I shall be back directly with yet another Podcast Pontifications.

Evo Terra:

Cheers!

Sheila Dee:

Podcast Pontifications is written and narrated by Evo Terra.

Sheila Dee:

He's on a mission to make podcasting better.

Sheila Dee:

Links to everything mentioned in today's episode are in the notes

Sheila Dee:

section of your podcast listening app.

Sheila Dee:

A written-to-be-read article based on today's episode is available at

Sheila Dee:

podcastpontifications.com where you'll also find a video version and a corrected

Sheila Dee:

transcript, both created by Allie Press.

Sheila Dee:

Podcast Pontifications is a production of Simpler Media.