The State of Podcast Advertising: Q1 2024

February 21, 2024

During the summer of 2023, Spotify laid off about 2% of its workforce — honing in on its podcast division specifically — reducing its workforce by around 200 jobs and merging Parcast and Gimlet into a single Spotify Studios division. Media companies and advertisers alike worried that this signaled the inevitable decline of podcast advertising. However, in Q3 2023, the company’s advertising revenue was up 16% from a year earlier and podcast advertising revenue grew in a double-digit range. 

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Podcast ad spending in the US continues to grow, with expenditures projected to surpass $3.2 billion by 2025.

To put this into perspective, podcast statistics estimated that it was “only worth” $1.4 billion in 2021. Additionally:

  • 68% of consumers are likelier to contemplate a product or service when they learn about it through a podcast, surpassing the figures for YouTube/Online Video (62%), Social Media (61%), Live or Recorded TV (54%), and Am/FM Radio (49%) (Ad Results Media).
  • 99% of marketers in the U.S. say podcasting is effective in reaching relevant consumers. That is one point higher than the 98% of marketers who said the same when data from Canada and the UK (Acast).
  • Podcast listeners in each of the three markets agree that podcasts are an effective medium for DTC brands. 88% of DTC shoppers are very likely to be happy with purchases they made after hearing the products advertised in a podcast (Acast).

Even though inflation is dropping in the US, people who listen to podcasts tend to care less about prices when they shop compared to those who consume other types of audio. This probably has to do with the fact that a lot of podcast listeners have more money to spend than the average consumer.

Additionally, AI is making it easier for brands to experiment with podcast advertising — especially local and regional advertisers, who haven’t jumped into podcast ads yet. They’re now able to target ads to specific locations more accurately and on a larger scale, allowing them to reach the exact local podcast listeners they want to talk to, across hundreds of different listener groups. Expect more companies to start using AI and smart targeting based on content to find and use ad spaces they didn’t even know were there before.

One of the remarkable aspects of podcast advertising lies in its ability to create an intimate connection with listeners, regardless of the host’s fame. 

Podcast listeners are known for their active engagement and attention. Unlike radio or television, where listeners might switch channels during commercials, podcast listeners tend to be more invested in the content they consume. They actively choose to listen to specific episodes or shows, demonstrating a higher level of interest and engagement.

This captive audience is more likely to absorb and respond to the messages conveyed through podcast advertisements. Unlike traditional advertising channels, where ads can feel intrusive, podcast ads blend seamlessly into the content, creating a natural and engaging conversation between the host and the listener.

Podcast advertising doesn’t always have to directly tie to ROI (but it’s possible)

Not every marketing channel needs to have a direct ROI. Most podcast consumption occurs during activities like commuting, exercising, or relaxing. Podcast advertising can be more focused on building your brand, while other channels might be more suited for achieving immediate business objectives.

As with all marketing efforts, the key to successful podcast advertising lies in a balanced and diversified approach. Moreover, podcast advertising platforms often provide advanced targeting capabilities. This way, brands can reach specific demographics, interests, or geographic regions.

Compared to traditional media channels, podcast advertising often offers a more cost-effective solution. With a lower barrier to entry and a wide range of pricing options, podcast advertising enables smaller brands and startups to access a highly engaged audience without breaking the bank. Additionally, the inherent trust and credibility associated with podcast endorsements often convert more listeners into customers.

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