Is Podcast Advertising Worth It?

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    Media In The Moment: Episode 2
    Is Podcast Advertising Worth It?

    Is podcast advertising effective? Is it worth investing your media budgets in?  We believe for many advertisers it is. Pre-pandemic research showed that over one-third of Americans listen to podcasts every month. The number of available podcasts has doubled in recent years from 500,000 to more than 1 million. There’s something for everyone, and listeners of all ages are tuning in regularly.

    Our article on why digital audio advertising makes sense only scratched the surface of podcast advertising. However, it’s a great intro to the latest episode of our “Media in the Moment” audio series. In it, our Founder and President, Charles Fetterly, took a deeper dive with Dave Boretti, Vice President of Sales at AdLarge, on what marketers need to know about podcast advertising and where it’s headed.  We’re highlighting some key takeaways below from the conversation. But, you’ll want to listen to the 30 minute episode so you don’t miss a thing.

    Key Takeaways:

    What part of the media budget is funding podcast advertising?

    Both the Interactive Advertising Bureau and eMarketer project that brands will invest $1 billion in podcast advertising in 2021.  Where’s the money coming from?  Increasingly, we see dedicated influencer marketing, experiential and shopping marketing dollars allocated towards podcast advertising.  Some marketers are shifting budgets from the overall digital budget or even terrestrial radio budget.

    Is podcast advertising an extension of influencer marketing?

    Absolutely.  Loyal, regular listeners translate to actively engaged audiences.  The real power of this medium is the influence the host has on their communities.  Social media stars are taking over podcasting to extend their reach and keep the connections to their audience going.

    What’s the industry standard for podcast audience measurement?

    Unlike a pure streaming play like Pandora and Spotify, podcasts are served through RSS feeds.  Audio files are downloaded to the device in order to listen to the podcast. Unfortunately, downloads don’t always equal listens. Which is why download numbers are not always the most accurate measurement. There are several different rankers.  Apple and Spotify are more algorithmic.  They don’t measure the audience size, but rather, growth. Others are based on proprietary digital procedures measuring actual size. Other rankings are survey-based and offer a reach-based perspective, like what Media Monitors and Edison Research offer.

    How can audiences be targeted with podcast advertising?

    Contextual targeting is the most common way to zero-in on desired audiences.  Publishers and networks are investing more in research to better understand who these audiences are.  Platforms have geographic download information and device listening to help us understand who we’re reaching and in what physical context.

    What advertising creative options are available with podcasts?

    You can insert traditional 30 and 60-second produced spots. But, live-reads are the standard in this medium. Host-read ads can drive strong brand recall. Hosts know what their audience wants and are able to customize the message for their listeners. They prefer copy points over scripts, to allow for personalization.  Most hosts will go out of their way to make sure it works for you and it’s like a personal endorsement.

    How are advertiser’s messages inserted in podcasts?

    Host-read ads get embedded or “baked in” at the time of the episode and live forever within the content.  If you have a more time sensitive or date-restricted offer, we suggest you use what’s called, dynamic insertions.   A large portion of listenership comes from individuals binge-listening to past episodes. So, it makes sense to reserve host-read ads for general branding messages.

    What is the future of podcast advertising? 

    Years ago, podcast content was comedy & sports heavy, appealing to the male audience. In the last year or two the quantity, variety and quality of podcasts have helped grow listenership among women, Hispanics and African Americans.  There’s more focus now on learning about who is tuning in.

    Want to make the most of your podcast investment?

    We’ll continue to monitor this advertising medium and share how it can help our clients. Check back for more about media trends and solutions available to serve your needs or sign up to have our insights sent to your inbox.

    Remember, we’re always happy to connect over phone, Zoom or email to chat about other media channels we work in too. Not ready to make contact yet? That’s okay. Just follow us on our socials — they’re linked in the footer.



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