Agatha Tutia
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Podessa: Podcast-Sponsor Platform

Podessa

A web-based app for podcast-sponsor analytics

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UX Design, Visual Design | Entrepreneurship Competition


The Project

Objective

Pitch a viable and profitable idea to investors, and get funded.

My Skills to the Project

Lean Research, Idea Validation, Iterative Design, Lean Prototyping

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Timeline

3 weeks

Team

Doug Christ
Sam Quinn
Mikhail Skobov
Rick Paz
Ryan Besch
Temo Ojeda

Tools

Sketch
InVision
Photoshop
Principle

Achievement

1st place with "$3 million" of funding


The average podcast listener is young, wealthy, educated, employed full-time, both using social media and following brands on it... and nearly always completing the episode to which they start to listen — creating an appetizing opportunity for advertisers and an intimate bond between hosts…and their listeners.
— Mac King

 

Opportunity

With an increase in podcast popularity, the market surrounding podcast advertising is relatively fresh and highly profitable.

We looked into ad transcription, podcast-sponsor analytics, podcast spending and outcomes, and dynamic ad insertion and ad bidding.

 

Minimal Viable Product (MVP) 1

A Dynamic Ad Exchange

We initially explored a data analytics and ad bidding platform. I whiteboarded a preliminary flow for what the MVP could be based on secondary research and emails from an ad agency from other websites.

whiteboard1

Publisher Flow

1. Review dashboard with revenue and advertisement analytics
2. See a notification of advertiser bidding on a podcast episode
3. Review proposed ad and accept
4. Look at another bidding war
5. Accept a particular bid over the others

Whiteboard2

Sponsor Flow

1. Review dashboard on podcast and ad spending analytics
2. Bid for an ad
3. See notification of acceptance
4. Connect promo link to ad


Lean Research

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Expert Advice: Karo Chakhlasyan, Wondery

We reached out to Chakhlasyan and gained key insights.

1.

Networks, publishers, and agencies want and will pay for advertiser-podcast data

2.

Many have tried and failed in creating an ad exchange

3.

Market share for a streaming platform narrow due to Apple Podcast, Spotify, and others

4.

There is only one key competitor, Magellan

 

Competitor Assessment: Magellan

Magellan provides a weekly report that shows you every advertiser (they have over 1000 brands documented) on the top 200 podcasts from iTunes including:

  • Sponsor/Brand spending trends
  • Podcast revenue data
  • Audio recordings of advertisements

Without access to what the actual product looked like, we were left to speculate that it was:

A.

A generated PDF emailed out weekly or

B.

A web-based platform with limited capabilities in tracking data

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With these insights, we decided to focus solely on advertiser-podcast data analytics for marketing and ad agencies, and compete directly with Magellan.
 

Design Patterns

Moving forward, I reviewed how Netflix, Spotify, iTunes, Google Analytics, Wikipedia and Etsy organized their UI elements for a better understanding of information design.


MVP 2

A Podcast-Advertiser Analytics Platform

An advertising agency is working for a client interested in podcasts. Their goals are to find the most listened podcast and what their client's competitors are doing.
 

1.

You check out the rankings for what’s popular and see that NPR is the number one Publisher.

2.

Clicking on NPR, you get a look at their summary, who their top advertisers are, their top podcasts, and all their podcasts.

3.

“How I Built This” is currently their number one podcast and you click on it. This leads you to their summary, episode information, and their top advertisers.

 

4.

Clicking on one of the episodes shows you the advertisers, the ads and their transcriptions.

5.

Noting that Squarespace is a competitor of your client, this takes you to their page where you see their summary, what podcasts they have ads in, and the top podcasts their sponsor.


Iterative Research

Expert Advice: Daniel Newman, NPR

After talking to Newman about the project, he provided me with notable articles and resources, and learned additional insights that influenced the design.

1.

Brands are expected to invest in sponsorships. NPR is already providing custom production services for sponsors in response through Brand Soundscapes.

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2.

There is a strong desire for brands to know which podcasts to invest in.

3.

Brands want to know how their competitors are scripting to better compete and utilize their spending.



Lean Design

Codesign Workshop

In designing the final MVP to present to our investors, I led a codesign workshop with the entire team. With their insights on sales and marketing, I was able to capture the correct data to showcase.

 

Visual Guide

Podessa’s aesthetic is sharp and cool. Dark tones and gradients are subtly used throughout the UI with a hint of playful blue. The primary type Tokyo pays homage to Seattle radio station KEXP in its all-cap san-serif style, and is softly supported by Open Sans.

 
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Design Response

Podessa, a web-based app that provides data analytics and information on podcasts, sponsors, and ads.

Named after Odessa, a port city in Ukraine, Podessa acts as a port for podcasters and sponsors.

 

Detailed Look into Podcasts

Potential sponsors can view podcasts to get a gauge of their listenership along with prior and current sponsor relationships.

 

Access to Ads

Ads are automatically transcribed to reference how other sponsors communicate their brand.

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Check Out the Sponsors

Potential sponsors can dive deeper into their competitors’ targeted podcasts and audience.

 

Selective Tracking

Sponsors and podcasts can be added to select dashboards to keep track of trends and listenership over time.

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The Pitch

The Presentation

Sam, Mikhail and I pitched to a table of 10 investors at Pioneer Square Labs. We had five minutes to present.

 

First Place Winners

After all of the pitches, we won first place with "$3 million".


Future Considerations

Lessons Learned

Conduct usability tests with sponsors

I would continue forward with testing the mocked up screens to validate what information brands/sponsors want from Podessa and how they want to see it

Invest in more than the idea, invest in the team

Startups are a risky business, but from my experience, I learned that it’s important to place more value in the team than the idea because together we make the idea real.

Provide additional monetary analytics

Looking at the screens today, I know I would want to provide more analytics on the spending, average costs, estimated returns, percentage of listen/skips to ads, etc.

Diverse backgrounds, culturally and intellectually, are fundamental

Working with teammates from various backgrounds taught me how to collaborate with other perspectives and expectations. And how different viewpoints can be exceptional for business.