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Podcasts are buying “listeners” to rack up download numbers

Well this seems shady…

Podcasters are using—or abusing—video game ads to make users download shows so they can boost stats and increase prices on ad placements.

Playing the players: Freemium video games incentivize actions such as downloading a podcast, for example, to earn some kind of “virtual loot.”

And since podcast companies rely on download numbers for ad sales, this tactic allows them to ramp up their “listener” count quickly.

Not listening: Unsurprisingly, users that download podcasts this way rarely have listening intent.

That’s bad news for marketers, who risk overpaying on podcast ad placements.

Why we care: If you’re running podcast ads, make sure you rely on the foundations of marketing—loyal user base, community building, brand ambassadors, and honesty.

And if you’re buying ad placements, find out where podcasters get their listeners before you sign any checks.