Here’s why advertisers are thinking about podcasts again

Anna Bager, EVP of Industry Initiatives for the Interactive Advertising Bureau (IAB) says 44 percent of Americans have listened to one this year.
25 July 2018

Podcasts are becoming fashionable again. Source: Flickr / Cory Doctorow

Have you heard a podcast recently? Whether you’re interested in the news, in career advice, or in expert opinions about health and fitness, you’ve got thousands of decent options to choose from.

However, for advertisers on the other end of the spectrum, whats interesting is that podcasters are seen as an engaged group that is attentive and loyal to the genre and the show it listens to.

A study by Nielsen issued this week found that more than 61 million households in the US have a fan of podcasts in the music genre. Thirty-seven million of these households identify as avid fans (61 percent) while 24 million consider themselves casual fans.

Other genres have significant fan followings among US households too: TV & Movies has 60.5 million fans, Comedy 59.9 million fans, Technology has 58.8 million fans, and Games and Hobbies has 52.2 million fans. Seven places down, business has 52 million fans, of whom 12.6 million are avid fans.

In light of these facts, TechHQ spoke to the Interactive Advertising Bureau’s (IAB) EVP of Industry Initiatives Anna Bager to better understand the growing trend in America and how it is impacting advertisers.

“Latest research points to a rapidly growing audience, with 44 percent of Americans 12 or older having listened to a podcast in 2018 – a sharp contrast to the 18 percent that did so in 2009,” points out Bager.

According to Bager, the growth in listeners has prompted advertisers to reconsider allocations to podcasts.

It seems as though podcasts, unlike other media, provide brands with a unique storytelling proposition through the intimate connection it forms with its listeners, no matter where they are throughout the day.

Moreover, podcast listening is completely opt-in and a “lean-forward” experience. As a result, Bager believes that two-thirds of podcast listeners cite high-brand recall and nearly the same number say that podcast ads inspired a purchase.

Since the US market is expanding exponentially, latest IAB/PwC Podcast Revenue Report shows that US podcast advertising hit US$314 million in revenue in 2017,  an uptick of 86 percent over US$169 million in 2016.

Further, the study forecasts that podcast revenue in the US will surge to US$659 million by 2020, a triple-digit 110 percent rise from 2017.

“The intrinsic intimacy of podcast listening makes it an exceptional channel for advertisers – especially when linked with the show’s content or talent,” said Bager.

For example, host-read ads are a popular format for brand advertisers, claiming more than two-thirds of all podcast advertising in 2017 It speaks to the power of connecting a trusted voice with brand messaging.

Bager, who’ll be discussing the benefits of podcasting with advertisers at the IAB PodcastUpfront 2018 event in New York later this year believes that podcast listeners are typically young, are more affluent, and more educated than the average American, making them a prime audience for a variety of brands.

Nielsen, whose report profiles avid fans of different genres of podcasts, provides clear indications about who should advertise on what kind of podcast.

Avid fans of technology podcasts, for example, Nielsen says, are heavy consumers of liquor, baby food, tea, beer, and cookies.

In conclusion, podcasts are building a strong case for advertisers by creating great content and cultivating loyal communities. In the future, it seems like podcasts will be a strong competitor to even video content.