Podcast listenership has exploded – Acast COO and president Oskar Serrander says that 90 million Americans listen to podcasts every month – and brands are starting to ride the wave.

Acast, launched in 2014, is a global podcasting network that serves as the gatekeeper for brands and agencies to the podcasts it hosts, which have become valuable advertising real estate. Long a go-to channel for upstart direct-to-consumer brands, podcasts are now on the radar of brands of all sizes across all categories, according to Serrander, who spoke with BeetTV during Advertising Week.

“We’ve seen tremendous growth, of new brands and advertisers embracing audio but specifically podcasting,” says Serrander. “What makes podcasting different than music streaming and radio is the intimacy. You’re so close and intimate with the listener that any type of advertising really reaches through. And it’s a medium that’s really quite early in its day that you still have the attention from the audience.”

That’s good business for Acast, which has developed a suite of tools and launched its own in-house agency, Acast Creative, to help brands adapt to advertising on podcasts. Acast’s goal, says Serrander, is to create a medium where brands are invited and appreciated – and listeners aren’t turned off – so making sure advertising fits naturally into the content surrounding it is key.

“As it is so intimate, you don’t have a lot of room to scream and shout that much,” he says. “You have to find the right tonality and alignment for the content that’s being listened to.”

Acast’s listener data guides brands in figuring out how to reach their desired demographics by using contextually related data points to target listeners. The secret sauce, according to Serrander, is understanding what customers are listening to and aligning tonality and content to reach mass audiences at scale. It’s a fine art.

“Podcasting is a mindful medium, and you have to really pay attention in the creative process to make it successful. That’s where the magic is,” Serrander says.

Now, Acast is putting more muscle behind its in-house agency in order to ramp up its tools and services that it offers brands and meet demand.

“Brands are so interested in the medium but need some help around best practices.”

This video is part of a series of interviews conducted during Advertising Week New York, 2019.  This series is co-production of Beet.TV and Advertising Week.   The series is sponsored by Roundel, a Target company.  Please see more videos from Advertising Week right here.