US Podcast Ad Revenues Near $1 Billion, According to IAB

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IAB’s Latest Podcast Advertising Revenue Report Finds Brands Now Embrace Podcasts as Part of Annual Planning

U.S. podcast advertising revenues near $1 billion in 2020, according to the fourth annual IAB Podcast Advertising Revenue Report prepared by PwC. The report projects that ad revenues will increase nearly 15% (14.7%) in 2020 despite COVID-19. Prior to the downturn caused by the pandemic, podcast ad revenue was estimated to grow by as much as 29.6% in 2020.

Podcasts are gaining traction as part of brand annual planning–rather than adding them on as “scatter” purchasing strategy when brands and agencies buy inventory closer to the air date. The report, released today, found that those making podcasts part of their annual buy has nearly doubled (47%).

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“Podcasts have solidified their place in the marketing mix, with more marketers planning ahead to secure both inventory and pricing earlier in the season,” said Zoe Soon, VP, Consumer Experience Center of Excellence, IAB. “Brands increasingly see the value of ‘owning’ a podcast series — podcast hosts are becoming trusted influencers with loyal communities. That translates to more consumer engagement and, ultimately, stronger ROI.”

Podcast Revenues continue to grow despite COVID-19

“In the early days of COVID-19, the media formats that remained resilient were those that provided agility to marketers to change messaging. Sixty-six percent of podcast advertising is host-read–providing a very valuable, fast way for brands to stay in-market with the right message at the right time,” said Sue Hogan, Senior Vice President, Research and Analytics, IAB.

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Additional highlights:

  • DTC brands (22%) and financial services (16%) make up top podcast advertisers
    • Health & Wellness and Home & Appliance are the largest DTC sub-categories
  • News is the leading podcast content genre for US podcast advertisers, capturing 22% of revenue, followed by comedy (17%), and society and culture (13%)
  • In 2019, podcast advertising revenues increased by 48% reaching $708.1 million

“News ad revenues were hard hit in other media. In the early days of COVID-19, we saw advertisers blacklist and block news sites and search terms while they pivoted messaging to avoid seeming tone-deaf.  News podcasts have been a favorite of consumers and set the medium up nicely for advertiser placement,” said Hogan.

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