A brief overview of podcast advertising by vice president of podcast media, Hilary Ross
Why podcast advertising?
800,000 podcasts. Over 30 million episodes. Content added daily on topics ranging from the impeachment to breakfast cereal. With over 90 million listeners tuning in each month, podcasts are one of the fastest-growing ad-supported mediums on the planet.
Here are six reasons why podcast advertising might be your next lead gen game changer.
1. Podcast listeners have money to spend
Podcast listeners crossed into the majority with 51% of all Americans 12+ saying they’ve listened to a podcast in 2019. Demographic studies are showing that millennials and boomers (18-54’s) are abandoning traditional TV and radio to stream more content on-demand. Substituting traditional media for ad-free subscription services means it’s getting harder and harder to reach this population.
Unsurprisingly, podcast advertising revenues increased by 53% in 2018. Continuing this growth trajectory, podcast advertising is estimated to surpass $1 billion by 20211.
Podcast listeners in this key demographic of 18-54’s have more money to spend. According to the Infinite Dial 2019: The average podcast fan has a higher income; a higher level of education; and is more likely to be employed full-time than the majority of the U.S. population2.
2. Podcast audiences are actively tuning in
Unlike Spotify or the radio where the listener tunes into a curated station, these listeners are actively seeking out specific content with regularity. They decide who, what, and when to listen to during their free time. According to the 2019 Podcast Trend report, over 82 percent listen to 7 or more hours of podcasts each week.
Podcast fans are listening during their free time, during their commute, and while doing household chores. Without a screen, the mind creates mental imagery to match the spoken narrative. This type of active listening increases memory retention and creates a deeper emotional connection.
3. Podcast hosts connect deeply with audiences
Sometimes listening to a podcast is a shared experience, maybe on a road trip, but typically, listeners are tuning in on their own. This regular and repeated listening to specific shows over an extended period creates a one-to-one relationship between the listener and the host.
Just like individuals feel connected to a social media influencer on Instagram, or with girlfriends over coffee, when the host recommends a great shampoo or meal delivery service, a podcast listener is more likely to try it. According to Edison’s 2019 Podcast Consumer report, 54% of respondents say they were more likely to consider the brands they hear advertised on podcasts.
Beyond feeling connected to their favorite hosts, consumers feel like buying the brands their hosts recommend directly supports the show. If Joe Rogan says, “Try this subscription service.” Listeners will say, “How many times per month?” Podcast fans directly attribute their purchases as support toward keeping the lights on for their favorite host. That’s probably why 56% of listeners say they’ve purchased something based on a host’s endorsement3.
4. The intriguing “Wild West” podcast landscape
We’ve seen podcasting go mainstream over the last few years. Famous actors, newscasters, and radio hosts are flocking to this intriguing medium. And their fans are coming with them, excited to connect with celebrities in a new and deeper way.
Part of the podcast appeal is that there aren’t the kinds of regulations like on TV or radio. No topic is off-limits. There’s no clock. The hosts have complete creative liberty. This draw has attracted big and small names from every background.
Take Pat McAfee, a retired NFL All-Pro. His podcast is described by Spotify, as one hosted by, “A recently retired NFL All-Pro with zero filter. A common man who has experience in an extremely uncommon professional athlete lifestyle is a beautiful concoction of hilarity for the average Joe. Both relatable and ridiculous, ‘The Pat McAfee Show’ promises to inform, intrigue, and entertain.” The things Pat can discuss with his listeners would never fly on the radio. And the publication schedule and length of episodes are irregular as well.
Going the other direction, after his wild success as a podcast host, Ben Shapiro was given the opportunity to start his own national radio show.
Radio hosts are becoming podcasters, and podcasters are becoming national radio show hosts. Some podcasts have larger audiences than local radio stations. TV shows and movies have been created from shows that started as podcasts. Live podcast recording events are taking on a life of their own. The podcast landscape is evolving and growing in every direction at once.
For advertisers, the breadth of content creates a big opportunity for brand alignment, and also awareness for brand safety. This is an important factor when building out your podcast advertising strategy.
5. Podcast advertising attribution advances
As the audience grows, advertisers grow, standardization and measurement continue to be refined. In 2016 the IAB established standardized metrics for podcast downloads. Across the board, we’re seeing more shows and networks adhere to their standard. This means better reporting. Especially for brand advertisers who aren’t utilizing coupon codes or unique URL’s to track attribution.
Research groups are offering deeper demographic insight into podcast audiences. Brand lift studies are available by the same national authorities who measure TV and radio. And the ability to track and measure ad attribution expands, as we and others, explore the accuracy made possible through pixel tracking.
6. Podcast advertising works for all types of ads and budgets
Radio or TV advertising requires larger financial commitments for longer periods of time. Podcast advertising offers a flexible, highly-targeted, lower-cost medium to test messaging and audience engagement. With virtually a podcast on every topic, you can start small with a single show or genre.
If your target clients are into health and fitness, there are a myriad of health and fitness, healthy living, clean eating, and food prep podcasts to promote your product or service. You only ship to the west coast? No problem. We can target your dynamic ads to the geo-located audience within your footprint.
Whether you are launching a brand new product or have been in business for a hundred years, if your consumers are 18-54, chances are, they’re listening to podcasts.
Podcast fans are growing rapidly. They are deeply committed to supporting their hosts–with regular listening and purchasing decisions. And even better, podcast listeners have discretionary dollars to spend.
Are you ready to take your customer loyalty and brand awareness to the next level through a podcast advertising strategy? Let’s talk about it.