We listen to them in our cars, at home, during our workouts, and even in the shower. Podcasts have grown in adoption in the last few years as consumers adopt this format in their daily routines. Shows like My Favorite Murder, Lore, and This American Life have accumulated over 50,000 reviews on Apple Podcasts. Even publishers like NPR have harnessed the power of podcasts with over 21.8M people listening to NPR podcasts each month.
Last year, podcast ad revenue in the United States grew by 53 percent to an all-time high of $479 million and is projected to exceed $1 billion by 2021.
Dubbed radio’s younger sibling, podcasts have grown up as they have implemented programmatic advertising placements to help marketers reach highly-desirable demographics with their audio ads. Similar to video advertising methods, marketers are leveraging the dynamically inserted ads of podcast advertising to allow for more targeting capabilities.
With rapid growth, marketers are evaluating how podcast advertising can be used in their brand awareness campaigns.
What is podcast advertising?
Podcast advertising is a type of programmatic audio. A relatively new advertising format, programmatic audio places ads within audio content such as podcasts, music streaming apps, and online radio. Marketers can target these placements through Private Marketplace deals or Open Marketplace to place their ads in audio content from TargetSpot, Podcast One, CBS Radio, Acast, Stitcher, iHeartMedia HowStuffWorks, CBS, Blogtalkradio, and more.
Podcast advertising quite literally allows marketers to speak to their customers in a one-to-one setting. Marketers are reaching a highly-engaged audience in screenless environments, such as in the car or cooking at home. As a marketer, you can layer on additional targeting tactics like demographics and location to refine the audience you are reaching. Your strategy can allow for customized stories/ads to each user based on their interests, offering personalized tailoring at scale.
How does podcast advertising work?
Programmatic audio is a unique format that creates a personal relationship with the listener. Due to the nature of the podcast listening experience, the ads, which are designed to blend with the content seamlessly, are more welcome and effective. The data shows just how effective. According to The Podcast Consumer report, 54 percent of podcast listeners consider purchasing the products or services they heard about on a podcast.
Podcast inventory available through audio-specific supply vendors like Adswizz, Triton, and Rubicon. Similar to video advertising methods, audio ads are usually placed at the beginning, middle, and end of a podcast.
Pre-Roll: The ad slot at the beginning of a podcast.
Mid-Roll: The ad slot during the middle of the podcast.
Post-Roll: The ad slot near the end of the podcast.
Regardless of the position within the episode, podcast ads can be dynamically inserted and typically range from 15-30 seconds spots. According to an IAB study, dynamically inserted ads account for 48.8 percent (up from 41.7 percent in 2017).
Example podcast advertising inventory
There are two types of inventory available with podcast advertising–downloaded and live-stream. We suggest that you set up separate ad groups for any live streaming audio and downloadable podcasts to have a clear understanding and measurement of each inventory type.
Downloaded Podcasts: Downloaded podcasts can be consumed immediately or saved for later listening.
Live-stream podcasts: Streamed audio is delivered over an internet connection between the audio source and the listener.
There are some minor differences between these two inventory types. Downloadable podcasts will consider an impression upon the time of download, which buyers may want to value differently than a real-time streaming impression. Downloadable podcasts have no real-time feedback on whether a user actually listened to an ad or not.
Benefits of podcast advertising
Podcasts reach 62 million Americans weekly, almost ⅓ of the American population listens to podcasts monthly, and 22 percent listen to podcasts weekly.
Audio enables users to multitask during activities like driving, cleaning, and working out while remaining active and engaged. Brands like Squarespace, Audible.com, and Stamps.com have been leveraging podcast advertising for a while. Their ads offer podcast listeners discounts if they type in promo codes, specific for each podcast.
According to an IAB and PwC calculated self-report, podcast advertising revenues from 22 companies and found that revenues grew 34 percent in 2018, compared with the $257.4 million in self-reported revenues in 2017. The IAB and PwC predict that revenues will grow 42 percent this year.
Podcast advertising is one of the fastest-growing, if not the fastest-growing category within programmatic audio. Marketers and brands are recognizing the value in reaching customers who aren’t just tuning in to tune out—they’re tuning in to be entertained and engaged.