Analysis: Podcast Ad Loads Increased Again During Third Quarter.


The combination of more advertisers and demand for hit shows pushed podcast ad loads higher during the third quarter. An analysis by Magellan AI shows the average podcast dedicated around 5.8% of its airtime to advertising during the third quarter. That was up from 5.3% during Q2 and 5.1% during Q1.


The data shows the shorter-length podcasts were most ad-heavy, relative to the show’s total length. Among podcasts that average episodes 15 minutes or less, Magellan says they dedicated as much as 15% of the episode to advertising. Shows in that category most often fell into the News and Business genres.


Podcasts with episodes of 15 to 30 minutes averaged about half that – 8% – while podcasts running an hour or more clocked in at an average of 5% of the episode dedicated to ad messages. The most common episode length is 30-60 min, making up 45% of the episodes analyzed by Magellan. Among that group, it says about 7% of episode time was for commercials. Shows in that category most often fell into the Sports and Comedy genres.


Magellan says those podcasts that offered a video version of their show on YouTube had a higher ad load – 6.2% for the video versions versus 5.8% for audio-only. It says the advertiser renewal rate of YouTube simulcasts is more than 10% higher than other podcasts.


Four in ten direct response advertisers stuck with a show that offered a YouTube simulcast for at least three months. That compared to three in ten that renewed with a podcast that only offered an audio feed.


The uptick in ad loads comes as Magellan says podcast ad spending grew 87% during the third quarter compared to a year ago. And it was up 22% versus the second quarter. It also reports the top 10 advertisers in Q3 spent $75 million – up from the $67 million spent by the top ten during Q2.


During the third quarter, Magellan says two-thirds of podcasts ran with only a single ad. Its quarterly update also says mid-roll ads were the most common ad position overall, accounting for more than half of all podcast ads it detected.


The numbers also show a continued move toward dynamic ad insertion rather than a reliance on “baked-in” ads. Nine out of ten podcasts examined featured ads that were dynamically inserted. That is up from eight in ten a year earlier and fewer than half during the third quarter of 2019. The genres with the highest percentage of dynamically inserted ads were Music, History, and TV & Film while those with the lowest included Health & Fitness, Business and Technology.


Overall, Magellan says 15 of the 19 genres it tracked increased their average ad airtime between second and third quarters. Two categories – True Crime and Society & Culture – had an average that topped seven percent. While a half dozen others topped six percent, including Fiction, Kids & Family, History, Education, Comedy, and TV & Film.


Magellan’s quarterly update is based on data it collated from 7,600 advertisers who placed ads across 85,000 episodes during the second quarter. 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.


Download a copy of Magellan’s Podcast Advertising Benchmark Report HERE.

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