2020 Was A Year For Brand Advertisers To Move Into Podcasting.


As the year draws to a close, one of the developments that has played out in the podcast industry during 2020 has been a waking up of advertisers to the reach and marketing power that the medium offers. That is on full display in Magellan AI’s monthly update of the biggest podcast ad spenders, with traditional marketers like Bank of America, McDonald’s, and AT&T cracking the top ten.


“We have typically seen a lot of direct response advertisers in the space, dominating the top ten. McDonald’s and Bank of America are some of the newer names on the brand awareness side really showing how podcasting is changing from an advertising perspective as much as it is from a content perspective,” said Magellan CEO Cameron Hendrix. During a webinar last week detailing his company’s findings, he said Bank of America and McDonald’s topped Magellan’s “movers and shakers” list of brands that increased their podcast ad spending the most month-to-month. Other large gains came from advertisers such as Carvana, Candy Crush, and CBS.


Hendrix said the gains made by the online used car retailer Carvana are particularly noteworthy. The brand made up 21% of the total auto industry ad spending on podcasts during November. “It seems like this is a side effect of COVID pandemic which is making online car buying a more normal experience,” he said. Overall, Magellan reports auto industry ad spending on podcasts has more than doubled this year with estimated ad billings up 106% from January to November versus 2019.


In the case of Bank of America, Magellan estimates it spent $1.87 million promoting its cash rewards credit card in podcast ads during November. “They made up 15% of spend in the financial industry,” said Hendrix. “During the past few years, Bank of America has definitely advertised in the past, they have not spent this amount of money – this is rivaling Capital One, TD Bank, and other advertisers we typically see in the financial services sector running in the podcast space,” he said.


There is still a lot of space for smaller players, however. Magellan data shows the ten largest banks in the U.S. made up 27% of the financial services ad spending during November.


One of the largest growth industries for podcast advertising this year has been children’s products. Magellan calculates spending by those advertisers soared a staggering 1,101% during 2020 driven by brands like KiwiCo, Little Likes Kids, and Whitehat Jr. “Growth has been trending upwards. There was a little bit of pullback during the summer months, but as we have gotten into the holiday season, children’s products have really been running pretty actively in the podcast space,” said Hendrix. Magellan said children’s products are most advertised in shows that fall into the Kids & Family and Society & Culture podcast genres.


Magellan analyzes podcast advertising data from the top 3,000 podcasts in the U.S., as ranked by Apple Podcasts. Magellan’s proprietary model is used to estimate advertising spend. It includes factors such as the number of ads and variation in ad load detected for a given episode, number of downloads for each episode, and estimated CPMs as reported in select media kits and estimated based on popularity.

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