As advertisers gear up to make their annual media plans for 2022, there is reason for podcasters to be optimistic. Podcast advertising consideration, intention, and usage are at all-time highs, according to a new survey by Advertiser Perceptions of 300 media agencies and marketers commissioned by Cumulus Media. It finds that while 45% of the advertisers it talked to are already buying time in podcasts, there are a lot of more marketers that are taking a look at it.
“We find that podcast consideration, intention and usage are at record highs since the inaugural study in 2015,” said Brittany Faison, Insights Manager of the Cumulus Media Audio Active Group. “Podcast spend intentions have more than quadrupled from 10% in 2015 to 44% in 2021. Consideration and usage of podcast advertising have both tripled since 2015. And a whopping 71% of podcast marketers and agencies have discussed potentially using podcast advertising – up 73% from 2015. So interest has continued to grow among agencies and consumers alike,” she said in video detailing the findings.
The tracking survey shows the highest level of interest in podcast advertising since Advertiser Perceptions began asking the question in 2015. Then 15% said they were buying advertising in podcasts, or a third of the current level. And even during the pandemic, podcast ad intent has continued to grow.
A big reason for marketing executives’ interest in podcast ads is the data consistently shows it works. The latest Signal Hill research – which was also commissioned by Cumulus and is based on an in-depth study of 600 weekly podcast listeners in October 2021 – finds that two-thirds (67%) of podcast listeners have taken some action after hearing an ad on a show. And among heavy podcast listeners – those that consume six or more hours per week of podcasts – three quarters said they took action. Signal Hill says there is little difference between those who have been listening to podcasts for years and relative newcomers to the medium.
Among listeners, Signal Hill says consumer tolerance for podcast advertising has remained relatively stable during the past five years. Weekly podcast listeners think 3.6 ads per one-hour podcast episode seem appropriate That is down slightly from 2020 levels, but it is on par with what listeners said in 2017.
It is a similar story for 30-minute episodes. Weekly listeners said they felt 2.2 ads were appropriate during a half-hour long episode. That is lower than last year but roughly the same as what Signal Hill saw in 2017 and 2019.
A majority six in ten listeners said they would not mind additional ads per episode if it meant that their favorite series could continue. Four in ten said the ads they hear on podcasts are engaging. More than a third said that podcast ads are relevant to them. And 28% said they go out of their way to support brands that advertise on their favorite podcast.
“Podcast listeners are very accepting of advertising. Listeners recognize their favorite podcasts are made possible by the advertising and go out of their way to respond and support podcast sponsors,” said the Cumulus Media-Signal Hill Insights Podcast Download Fall 2021 report.
Podcast listeners have also been consistent in their support for host-read ads. While the numbers have fluctuated slightly, a majority leaned in that direction and the latest survey is no different. Signal Hill says 54% said they would prefer to hear an ad that is voiced by the podcast host versus 21% who said they like ads that sounded like traditional radio commercials.
The data also shows a gender factor at work. Female weekly podcast listeners were more likely to prefer host-read ads than male weekly listeners – by a 60% to 49% margin. And while a quarter (26%) of men said they would prefer a traditional radio-sounding ad, only 15% of women said the same thing.
For marketers the data shows podcasts are an especially good way to reach consumers who have largely turned away from traditional television platforms. Signal Hill says 91% of weekly podcast listeners said they had watched an ad-free subscription service like Netflix or Amazon Prime Video in the past month. And 38% of weekly podcast listeners said when they do watch TV it is only for ad-free subscriptions services.
“Podcasts solve for connected TV/linear TV audience losses,” the report says. “Many persons 18-44 are now lost to linear and CTV advertisers as they mostly watch ad-free video subscription platforms. Podcast advertising to the rescue. Two out of five podcast weekly listeners mostly watch advertising-free video streaming.”
Download a copy of the Cumulus Media-Signal Hills Insights Fall 2021 Podcast Report HERE.