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Advertisers Are Podcast Listeners, And They're Buying Podcast Ads.

Fifty-six percent of advertisers say the pandemic has made podcast advertising more important, according to the inaugural Podcast Advertising Report from Advertiser Perceptions. One of the biggest factors is, like other Americans, advertisers have tightened their embrace of podcasting during the pandemic lockdowns. Advertiser Perceptions says nearly two-thirds (63%) of advertisers said they listen to podcasts at least once a week and a solid majority (56%) listen multiple times a week.

“Podcasts are media’s ‘little engine that could’ in part due to familiarity,” said Sarah Bolton, Executive VP/Business Intelligence at Advertiser Perceptions. “Advertisers get the podcast space, which is different from the early days of some social media platforms.”

Just as critically, the new research also confirms podcasting delivers some of the best scores for advertisers across a variety of key metrics, from improving brand awareness and recall, to boosting a brand’s favorability and making people more likely to consider buying a product they hear advertised.

Advertiser Perceptions data shows four in ten advertisers said their brand shined brighter after being associated with a podcast. Only paid social media and television had a higher score, but only marginally. About a third said podcast advertising improves their brand’s awareness and recall among consumers. And 27% report podcast ads improve their brand buying consideration scores, which is on par with TV. And about one in five say they see a direct link between podcast advertising and increased sales.

Despite the positive ratings for podcast ads, Advertiser Perceptions says its survey of advertisers found a weak spot remains with campaign measurement and reporting. Two-thirds have an issue with campaign measurement and reporting, while 61% aren’t satisfied with attribution, and 60% want better third-party verification.

“Current measurement practices often cannot tell if someone downloaded and listened later, or fast forwarded through ads while listening,” said Bolton. “At this stage, a number of networks, particularly niche networks, are able to sell on a brand’s business outcomes. That’s going to evolve as Spotify and others present more granular delivery metrics more akin to digital video,” she predicted.

Brand safety may be helping marketers overcome some of those other complaints. Advertisers Perceptions says most advertisers trust podcasts to deliver brand safety and preference. It says 68% prize the medium’s brand safety, putting podcasts near the top of all media in the critical measure.

The data shows two-thirds of marketers are buying podcasts through audience segmenting, while more than half say that they tend to go with a network rather than buying specific shows. Even so, the survey found 44% do target listeners of specific shows and a quarter will even place ads on an episode specific basis.

“Advertisers are looking into brand-safe, high-engagement media types as the phase-out of third-party cookies and mobile ID tracking makes audience-based buying more difficult across the web and app ecosystem,” said Bolton. “Podcast providers and networks that can provide privacy-compliant audience buying solutions have a big opportunity to meet advertisers where they’re headed.”

Two-thirds of advertisers are creating original content for podcast advertising. “These two-thirds recognize that podcasting has its own best practices that create a brand safe environment for influencing desirable audiences,” said Bolton.

The findings are based on Advertiser Perceptions interviews of 205 advertisers – including a mix of marketers (38%) and ad agencies (62%) from its proprietary AdPros community in October 2020. All interviewees advertise in digital audio, with 82% advertising on podcasts specifically.

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