The Untapped Potential of Podcast Advertising is Making Marketers Think Twice About Audio

Audio has made a major comeback. One reason for this has been because of the growing demand for podcasts.

Podcasting has grown drastically, and steadily since it began in the early 2000s. One can listen to podcasts anywhere. This may include on the commute to work, whether walking or driving, or even at the gym or while cooking.  

This convenience has created an immense opportunity for marketers to insert ads into these digital audio files and grab the attention of engaged and loyal audiences. These audiences are also becoming larger as the days go on, which gives marketers even more incentive to create campaigns that include them.

Podcast advertising is a growing marketing channel that is quickly turning into radio’s “in demand” younger sibling. The space offers demonstrable returns for brands that know how to use it.

To understand the magnitude of podcasts as an advertising medium, consider that there are over 550,000 shows with topics for nearly every interest. That wealth of content has turned millions of Americans into podcast listeners.

Statista has reported that in 2022, 62% of the population (age 12 and older) has listened to a podcast. Roughly 79% are also familiar with the medium. US adult listeners are spending an average of about 34 minutes a day on them according to eMarketer’s latest estimates. 

Despite a large portion of digital audio listeners subscribing to ad-free platforms such as Apple Music and Spotify Premium, there is still an enormous reach among users who opt to not subscribe. Plus, podcasts often include host-read ads, which have an added value given the influence many hosts have with their audience.

According to the Edison Research Super Listeners 2021 report, podcast ads are the most recalled ad types. This was corroborated by 86% of respondents. In the same Edison report, Super Listeners found that 76% of listeners will act on podcast ads. 

In a Nielsen survey, 70% of respondents reported that a podcast ad increased their awareness of a new product or service. This shows that an overwhelming number of podcast listeners remember hearing an advertisement that was included in the podcast.

Health brands are among many brands that have caught onto the exciting advertising benefits that audio offers.

Veeva Crossix released its “2022 Trends in Health Advertising” report this past May and had revealed an enormous increase in audio marketing among health brands, including pharma. 

Mark Pappas, senior vice president of innovation at CMI Media Group, has said consumers are taking audio content with them as they go about their day, “popping in earbuds for their grocery errands or morning walks.”

“Every car manufacturer now has features like Apple CarPlay and Android Auto, so whatever your streaming platform choice is – it’s also what you’re listening to in your car as well,” Pappas said. “You have the opportunity to reach people anywhere they are at any time of day across a variety of devices.”

The power of podcast ads comes down to the nature of the medium. Besides the interesting statistics as mentioned above, there are three other reasons podcast advertising has become so effective. This includes their broad reach, the diverse range of content, and the loyal followings they generate. 

Podcasts listeners are likely to be more engaged, which helps create higher brand awareness over many other mediums in advertising.

A captive audience that has engaged with specific content also makes for a winning marketing formula as businesses can address their ideal customers. Companies can decide to sponsor podcasts in a category that aligns with their brand and direct their ads towards specific demographics. This means that the companies’ ROI is likely to be much higher with podcast advertising than with a more generalized TV or radio ad campaign that reaches general audiences. 

As with any medium, ad placement can affect the advertising rate. With podcasts, there are three positions an ad can be played in. 

Pre-roll ads, which are inserted into the beginning of the show, before or after the intro. They run typically 15-30 seconds long.

Mid-roll ads, which are placed in the middle of the episode. These ads are the longest and can run between 30 and 90 seconds on average. As they are directly in the middle of the show, they are the least likely to be skipped and are worth the most money to a sponsor.

Post-roll ads, which are played at the end of an episode, right before or after the outro. They run between 15 and 30 seconds long.

As the podcast industry continues to grow, more and more big Hollywood names are entering the mix and trying to grow in the market as a podcast host. This includes widely recognized Joe Rogan, Lena Dunham, Alec Baldwin, former NBA star Shaq, and comedian Amy Schumer.

Rumor also has it that new streaming platforms are getting thrown in the mix to take a Netflix approach to podcasts. 

It is no wonder that advertisers (big and small) want a piece of the podcast advertising action, as it can open the door for potential growth for any business. 

Thanks to the widespread use of smart phones and streaming platforms, the surging popularity of podcasts has created an advertising game changer and more marketers are putting their money where consumers’ ears are.