Mobile game ads generate millions of downloads for podcasts

A recent report states that podcast networks use in-game ads to increase download counts.
Drawing of a man sitting in front of a microphone made out of coins

A recent discovery states that some podcast creators are exploiting in-game mobile ads in order to increase their podcast’s download count. Watching ads usually grant players extra rewards and bonus points, while some podcast ads download the podcast’s content directly to the player’s phone.

Related: Hideo Kojima announces new Spotify podcast on Gamescom 2022

By increasing their download amount, podcast owners can use these numbers on reports to prove their popularity on social media or other means of communication. This boost allows them to attract more viewers as the podcast seems more popular and enables partnerships and ad deals that wouldn’t come to fruition with the podcast’s realistic download and listener count.

DeepSee, the US-based ad fraud detection company founded in 2018, calls this practice “rewarded traffic” and states that it can be considered as abuse. Jun Group, a New York-based mobile advertising and marketing firm, has been identified as the company that produces most of these podcast advertisements.

Jun Group’s CEO Corey Weiner argued that the rewarded traffic practice is similar to any other business marketing technique and defended the company with these sentences:

“There is a very big reason why all the largest brands in the world invest so much money in brand awareness because, without it, you have no chance of breaking through the clutter. Every publisher, every content creator, has invested in marketing to promote themselves since the dawn of time, and this is just another way of doing it.”

The report came from Bloomberg and contained names like the New York Post and IHeart, one of the most prominent companies in the podcast area. IHeart has reportedly spent over $10 million in the past four years to accumulate 6 million listeners per month, just from in-game mobile ads.

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