Media agencies: The Current Spend and Future Trends of Podcast Advertising

Podcast advertising is set to become big business. Already the choice of in the know marketers, it is set to become a much more mainstream choice for brands over the next few years and we’re keen to explore exactly what this means for the market and more specifically media agencies.

Podcasts: The Current Advertising Market

The rise in popularity of podcasts has consequently meant the rise in advertising investment in the field.  states that: ‘In 2009, only 9% of Americans listened to podcasts. Today, that number is nearly 40%, with 24% of total Americans listening to a podcast monthly. That’s nearly 60 million people.’ These are impressive numbers which are hard for businesses and media agencies to ignore. In addition to the notable listening figures, podcast advertising offers flexibility, an appealing word in the advertising world. Options from dynamic ad insertion to podcast sponsorship allow brands to choose what best suits them and all of which offer the possibility to reach different and niche audiences. Those who listen to podcasts aren’t the same as those who will be reading the newspapers or watching TV – this is a key USP which media agencies are able to sell-in to their clients.

In marketing terms podcast advertising is still a relatively ‘new’ concept and is yet to reach radio levels of investment, with a report from The Audio Advertising State of the Nation stating that: ‘two-thirds of media agencies are regularly buying streaming radio spots, while podcasting is still in the experimental stage for most agencies’. However, the market is hotting up and noticeably. Why? Because in short, it’s worth it for businesses, although the audience figures might be smaller there’s a high conversion rate, podcast listeners are faithful listeners who demonstrate trust in their favorite shows, AdWeek found that after hearing a podcast advert ‘75 percent of listeners end up taking an action’.

Media Agencies – What Are They Investing?

The high conversion rate means that podcast advertising makes sense for businesses and Vijay Solanki, CEO of IAB Australia states: ‘with the explosion of podcasting at both a content and consumer level, I expect to see more brands stepping in’.  This, therefore, is having an impact on what media agencies are willing to invest in the medium and is cemented by the market forecasts, states ‘in the US, podcasting ad revenues are expected to reach over $220 million in 2017, an 85% increase from 2016.’ and  By 2020, it’s estimated that podcast advertising will be at $500M’.

Current & Future Market Trends

Reconfirming that podcast advertising is soon to be big business is Apple’s recent acquisition of Pop Up Archive, a podcast search engine app, this is an overwhelmingly great sign for the sector, Apple have a proven track record of always being one step ahead of the market over the years and where Apple go, many follow. Furthermore, Pop Up Archive helps listeners navigate content and with improved search facilities comes better targeting which will allow the market to open up even further. says: ‘Transcribing technology will decipher which episodes reference certain topics most frequently, which will enable host providers to catalogue and monetize the highest-ranking content’.

But, what does the future hold for podcast advertising? Well, a key trend is branded podcasts – a simple way for businesses to create a voice and personality. Oprah’s podcast proves the theory that advertisers are keen to invest in the arena with slots on her podcast selling out within 24 hours. Another form of advertising which is picking up popularity and fast is Dynamic Ad Insertion. Dynamic Ad Insertion is a great way for businesses to target their consumers exactly how they want and for podcasters to monetize their show without compromising on the content. Podcasters can offer pre, mid or post-rolls and varying lengths to suit either party’s needs.

Podcasts are here to stay and their popularity seems to be showing no signs of stopping, with listening figures increasing year-on-year. Also, with the introduction of voice-activated devices such as Google Home and Amazon Alexa, podcasts popularity will only continue to increase. If your business hasn’t integrated audio content into its content strategy for 2018 it is seriously worth considering what it could bring to your business in terms of brand and financial value.

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