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Everything you need to know about Podcast Advertising

by Gabriella Cohen | 01.11.2019

What did we do before podcasts? I don’t know how I dealt with the tube, folding my laundry, going for a run, cleaning the bathroom or a supermarket shop on a Sunday without them. Last summer, I found myself sunbathing on a beautiful beach in Greece, completely absorbed in a show about gruesome serial killers.

I’m not the only one. There are currently 7.6 million weekly listeners in the UK, a 25% increase in under a year. The number of listeners has doubled in the past five years and they spend on average 3.5 hours listening to podcasts a week. There is particularly high growth in young adults (15-24) – now approximately 1 in 5 listen to podcasts every week.

Podcasts are a relaxed, informal style of entertainment. There is no need to look at a screen. They allow you to indulge your niche interests and passions – while doing something else at the same time. The way the hosts speak is often laid back and appears unrehearsed and you can feel like you’re having a chat with old friends.

Podcast advertising – does it work?

Thanks to this personal connection listeners experience with a podcast, advertising is particularly powerful – in your customers’ ears while they are highly engaged. An Acast study found that in the UK, 76% of podcast listeners had acted on an advert or sponsorship. Ads can be inserted dynamically but ads read out by the host perform better – as the audience sees this as a trusted voice coming through their headphones.

At Tug, podcast advertising is something we are offering more and more to clients – and this is also reflected in spend by other agencies and brands. 85% of advertisers are planning to increase spend according to ‘The Rise of Digital Audio Advertising’ by DAX. 86% of advertising agencies view digital audio as a ‘key part’ of their channel offering. The reasons cited in the report for this increase were contextual relevance, the ability to reach consumers on the go, the audience is all ages and highly engaged.

Targeting different audiences at the right time

Podcast advertising can be used in a variety of ways to target different audiences. Due to the vast number of niche podcasts out there, it’s an effective way of reaching a specific group of people – who are actively choosing to listen to that particular content. A large number of listeners also make it a strong channel to reach a broader audience of all ages. 35% of podcasts are listening to while people are driving or travelling – making the channel a good option (aside from OOH) for targeting commuters.

I enjoy listening to podcasts in the kitchen (cooking, cleaning etc) – making them a really useful tool for reaching people when they’re in this mindset – meal delivery services for example. 17% of digital audio is listened to on smart speakers – which can be labelled by the room in which they’re kept. Potentially, the future of podcast advertising will offer a unique opportunity to target people at a specific time in a specific room in their house.

Are there any drawbacks?

Regarding conversion data, listeners can access their podcasts across numerous devices, and conversions can take place later, on a separate device. For example, if you are driving, you won’t be able to act straight away. However, as well as offering an excellent brand opportunity, podcasts are equally effective from a performance perspective by using custom URLs and discount codes.

There is often limited targeting and demographic insights compared to other digital channels– although this is likely to improve over time. Spotify continues to invest heavily in podcasts and has just allowed advertisers to target their Spotify Free podcast listeners and specify certain categories in some markets (e.g. Comedy). 

Given the rising advertiser demand, as well as increasing listeners, podcast advertising is only going to get more sophisticated with its demographic targeting and attribution – and will undoubtedly continue to grow in importance as a key channel as part of an integrated campaign. However, given my fascination with serial killer podcasts….it will be interesting to see what ads are targeted towards me!

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