All podcast ads work. But host-read ads work even better. That is according to research conducted by Stitcher, Midroll and Signal Hill Insights. It concludes host-read ads outperform since they function as influencers among podcast listeners.
Two-thirds of podcast advertising is already host-read according to the Interactive Advertising Bureau, which says the share of announcer-read ads shrank 22% between 2018 and 2019. The ability to have hosts leverage their close relationship with listeners is what has lured many marketers into podcasting. Stitcher and its ad unit Midroll commissioned Signal Hill Insights to conduct an analysis to determine just how different the two ad formats are in helping ad buyers achieve their goals.
The controlled exposure brand lift study tested ads run by four different brands, all on the same podcast. It then surveyed 692 podcast listeners, including 412 that had heard the undisclosed show. That allowed Signal Hill to test the effectiveness of the ads.
“The good news is that all the ads we tested, announcer-read and host-read, generated a healthy amount of lifts. Confirming what we’ve seen in the dozens of brand lift studies we’ve conducted, as a platform, podcast ads just work. However, host-read ads work even better,” it concluded in the just-released study.
One reason is that host-read ads delivered better brand recall. Sugar Hill says host-reads outperformed announcer-reads for all four brands. The data shows 58% of listeners exposed to a host-read for an established brand recalled the brand name versus 35% who heard the announcer-read. “That’s a lift of 23 points, or 66% more recall,’” the reports says.
In a similar vein, there was 59% more recall for emerging brands on host-read ads compared to announcer-read ads. “Emerging brands are building their awareness. These results show that host-reads do that much better, creating a big boost,” the report says.
In addition to boosting unaided recall for the two emerging brands that were part of the analysis, Sugar Hill found the host-read ads also increased a trio of so-called “top of funnel” measures including top-of-mind category awareness, brand familiarity, and whether they had ever heard of the brand. And among established brands, where those factors are less of a focus, it said host-read ads also outperformed announcer reads. Overall, Sugar Hill found that host-reads generated 21 statistically significant lifts of brand measures or nearly twice the still-respectable 11 lifts recorded for announcer-read ads.
“A leading reason why we believe host-reads excel – and why so many brands choose them – is listeners’ trusted relationship with hosts. For them, a podcast host is not just a personality, but a dependable influencer,” the report says.
Yet that does not mean advertisers should only use host-read ads, the analysis concludes. It says each format has its own place in a campaign The study confirms that while host-read ads may work better on some metrics, the announcer-read ads give marketers a way to “scale a message” that drives awareness and familiarity in the first place.
Download the full report HERE.