2022 Podcast Advertising Report
The number of Americans who had listened to a podcast grew by nearly 50% since 2006, and their popularity does not seem to be slowing down. Along with established podcasts, many other forms of media, from TV to web video series, are joining the podcast industry through popular platforms like YouTube, Spotify, and Apple Podcasts as a way to grow their existing audience.
We wanted to know not only what kinds of podcasts listeners are tuning into around the country, but also how they view the advertisements that come with them. We surveyed over 1,000 podcast listeners to find out more on who’s listening and what the best advertising methods were from the viewpoint of podcast listeners. Read on to find out just what they thought about ads on podcasts.
- 3 out of 5 podcast listeners would like the ability to interact with the ads.
- The perfect ad is live-read by the host, related to the podcast’s content, and obviously identifiable as an ad.
- 3 out of 4 podcast listeners were happy with the purchase they had made from podcast ads.
The Podcast Boom
Over half of our respondents said they listen to podcasts regularly, a huge change from the fact that only 22% of Americans reported knowing what a podcast was in 2006.
The main source of revenue for podcasts are advertisements, much like any media, but certain platforms, like Google Podcasts and Pandora, were less successful in delivering these ads without annoying listeners when compared to other platforms, such as Audible and Spotify. Even though YouTube was the most preferred platform on which to listen to podcasts, it was also flagged by respondents as being the most annoying when it came to advertisements.
The podcast boom and its huge audience base present a massive opportunity for creators of all types of genres. We next asked our respondents which genres they were most interested in listening to.
While the news was the most popular genre for listeners we surveyed, there were nine genres, ranging from finance to fitness, which at least 30% reported as preferable listening. Podcast genre favorites varied among generations, with Gen Zers most preferring comedy, millennials favoring true crime, Gen Xers choosing politics, and baby boomers—who likely grew up listening to more radio news—preferring that genre most.
Best Ad Strategies for Podcasts
Our study found that over 80% of podcast listeners did not believe advertisements negatively affected the overall quality of the podcast. They did, however, have some preferences over how best to integrate ads into their favorite shows.
Variety of ads was key, as over 55% were annoyed by hearing the same advertisement over and over again in the same podcast. More than half preferred fewer ad breaks throughout the podcast, which could be solved by concentrating ad reads in certain key areas. This could also help the flow of the episode, which was the No. 1 pet peeve reported by listeners.
Three out of 5 listeners surveyed were not annoyed by ads at all, and despite over 80% wanting the option to skip ads, that didn’t necessarily mean they’d do so given the option. Those that did really want to avoid ads could use software to block them on platforms like Spotify, but these don’t work for in-episode ads. Podcasts that are thoughtful about the kinds of sponsors they choose and how they time their ads are likely to be the most well-received by the listening community.
Delivery Is Key
The one aspect that podcasters have the most control over is how the ads are delivered and the style in which they are made.
Over 70% of listeners preferred that ads were read live during recording rather than played as a pre-produced segment. After all, they are tuning in to hear the host, so they probably want to get this information from a source they know. Two-thirds preferred to have no question it was an ad when they were listening to it.
Slightly under half of those we surveyed were looking for advertisements relevant to the topic of the podcast. And despite the pet peeves previously mentioned, the majority of listeners we surveyed were looking to interact with the advertisements in their favorite shows. As podcast ad revenues are expected to skyrocket to $2 billion by 2023, it’s more important than ever for podcasters to keep a finger on the pulse of what their audience is looking for if they hope to increase their share of this market.
Podcast Ad Success
Our study found that podcast listeners were a receptive audience when it came to products advertised to them through their favorite programs
Over three-quarters of the listeners we surveyed had purchased or at least considered buying something promoted on one of their favorite shows. Choosing to tune into a program implies a certain level of trust already, and we found that the majority of listeners trusted these endorsements, which would explain why 45% of them actually ended up making a purchase.
It’s no wonder why some companies are spending top dollar to reach these targeted audiences; the top ten podcast advertisers spent over a quarter-billion dollars last year alone. The platform Overcast was responsible for the highest sales among those we surveyed, with an average spend of $165, compared to an overall average of $133. It would seem many podcasts are heeding some of the sentiments about tailoring what they market to the specific audiences of their genres and topics, which helps explain why 3 out of 4 purchasers were pleased with what they’d bought.
Enhancing Your Podcast
Audiences didn’t want just a random assortment of advertisements thrown at them without any thought or attention; they were looking for clear, concise, and relevant ads that could lead them to make a purchase that they’d find useful. Podcast listeners were willing to make purchases via a trusted source they had already come to know through their show. They were willing to listen to the ads if it meant the products being offered were worthwhile to hear about and delivered to them in a way that didn’t affect the product of the show itself. With plenty of money flowing into the podcast advertising space, there is certainly opportunity out there for success.
Methodology and Limitations
This study uses survey data from 1,002 podcast listeners in the U.S. Respondents ranged in age from 18 to 69 years old with an average age of 31. 53.9% of respondents identified as men, while 46.1% identified as women.
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