Podcasts, and podcast advertising, are getting a lot of attention these days from publishers and advertisers alike. Overall listenership is still relatively small, but it is growing, and audiences are engaged with the content. While millennials were the early adopters (63% of podcast listeners were under 34 years old according to Edison Research data in 2016), new diary research shows strong usage among both 18-34 and 35-54 year olds.
Podcast Listeners Prefer Podcasts
On average, people spend about 4 hours per week listening to audio. This amount hasn’t changed much from year to year, but podcasting’s share of ear has nearly doubled in the past four years and is projected to continue growing for the foreseeable future. Edison Research’s Share of Ear Study reveals that podcasts are the #1 source of audio for podcast listeners — they spend one third of their audio listening time with podcasts. AM/FM radio, owned music and streamed audio follow behind in share of ear. Smartphones, tablets and other portable devices are the preferred method of listening to podcasts and the majority of podcast listenership takes place at home or while on the road. It will be interesting to see how device use changes as smart speakers gain market penetration.
Podcast Audiences are Engaged Listeners
We know from years of past direct response (DR) campaigns, our highest performing audio format has almost always been talk radio. Podcasts are experiencing the same level of engagement, albeit with smaller audiences. Podcast listeners usually have an active interest in the content and deep respect for the host. As a result, listeners are much more receptive to the brands that these hosts endorse, and loyal listeners develop a relationship with the brands associated with their favorite podcast. Podcast listeners have strong recall of podcast ads, according to research from Ipsos.
Podcasts Are a Doorway to your Product
An increasing number of advertisers are taking advantage of this trend in podcasting popularity to promote their products and services. By 2020, advertisers are expected to spend over $500 million on podcast ads, according to the Podcasting Audit Study by Bridge Ratings, a trend that comes on the heels of significant past growth in the sector. Podcasts attract listeners seeking specific content and many brands are seizing this opportunity to use podcasts as a “top of the funnel” marketing vehicle. They are becoming the place where potentially in-market customers are exposed to relevant brands for the first time, and frequent listeners can recall the most popular brands running ads.
According to the IAB and Edison Research, 45% of U.S. podcast listeners visit a sponsor’s website and 42% will then consider a new product or service after hearing a podcast ad.
Podcast Advertising Inventory
Pre-roll ads are typically around 15-seconds long and are placed before the “meat” of the show’s content. Before the host actually dives into the podcast content, they’ll talk about the advertiser’s product or service.
Mid-roll ads are placed mid-way through the podcast, usually after 40-70% of the show’s content. Mid-roll commercials may be pre-recorded or read live by the host. Mid-roll ads are typically 30 or 60 seconds long.
Podcast Measurement Needs Improvement
As of this post, measurement of podcasts is still limited. Right now, advertisers can only track podcast downloads, but not actual listens. While this lack of consumption measurement and ad-skipping via ad blockers are industry concerns, direct response advertisers are able to measure success because they have their own methods of tracking engagement using specific landing pages or discount codes.
Is It Right For Me?
Consumption of podcasts is on the rise and smart advertisers are following suit. Depending on your product, podcasts could be a great complement to your audio strategy. The right podcast can deliver strong ROI for advertisers. While proper ad tracking and standardization remain a hurdle for some, podcasts are increasingly an attractive option for others. Still not sure if it’s right for you? We specialize in finding media that will efficiently give you that one to one conversation with your customer and we’d love to help find the right vehicles for you. Click the link below to get started!