For the past 14 months Better Help, the online mental health service provider, has been podcasting’s biggest advertiser according to Magellan AI’s monthly ranking. The evidence that it is working comes in the brand’s latest move: it increased its podcast spending by 17% during October to an estimated $7.6 million. It was spread across 784 podcasts according to Magellan, compared to ads detected on 680 podcasts during September.
While the top spot has been static for more than a year, there was plenty of movement among Magellan’s monthly update. ExpressVPN leapt to No. 2 from No. 11 a month earlier, as its podcast ad spending jumped 52% month-to-month to an estimated $2.8 million.
In third place was SimpliSafe, which rose from No. 10 in September as it increased its spending by 38% from a month earlier to an estimated $2.7 million last month. HelloFresh advanced one to No. 4 with a 19% increase in its spending to an estimated $2.6 million. And ZipRecruiter rounded out the top five with $2.3 million in estimated spending on podcasts last month, a 12% increase from a month earlier.
Magellan says NBCUniversal was the brand that turned up on the biggest number of podcasts last month. Its estimated $2.1 million in ad spending was spread across 965 different shows.
Overall, Magellan estimates the top 15 podcast advertisers spent a combined $35.2 million during October. That compares to $32 million that the top 15 advertisers spent in the medium during September, or a one percent increase month-to-month as 11 of the 15 advertisers saw their ranking go up month-to-month.
October also brought about a sudden disappearance of two of September’s biggest spenders -- the sports betting sites FanDuel and DraftKings. Both were a top five advertiser in September with the start of the NFL season, but neither scored a spot in October’s tally. If traditional patterns hold, the sports betting sites will likely return to the top of the chart next spring for college basketball’s March Madness.
Magellan’s list of movers and shakers -- the brands that increased their podcast spending during the month -- was led in October by Cisco, which ramped up its spending by 1544% to promote their core brand, Cisco, and their Webex suite. Magellan AI says it first detected Webex in June 2020 but most months since then, had not detected any ads. “In October, Webex added 25 shows to their media plan and placed ads primarily in pre- and mid-roll positions,” it says in a blog post. Magellan says Cisco’s ads averaged :30 seconds in length and ran during several CNN podcasts. The ads appeared in pre-roll positions 31% of the time and the brief, 15-second ads gave a call-to-action to visit its website.
The movers and shakers list also reveals some big brands that are using podcasting. That includes Fiat Chrysler, which increased its podcast ad spending 316% between September and October. Magellan says that was similar to their seasonal increase in spend in 2020 when they promoted Chrysler Pacifica and Dodge. This year, the increase in spend was driven by RAM Truck ads, which were most commonly detected in pre- and mid-roll positions in Sports shows. “In January 2020, RAM Trucks added 25 shows to their media plan and have kept a constant but minimal presence in podcasts until increasing their spend and reach last month,” says Magellan.
Fiat Chrysler is also using podcast ads to promote the release of the updated Jeep Grand Wagoneer, which is expected to arrive at dealerships by the end of the year. Magellan AI first detected ads for the Wagoneer in August and the brand added 13 shows to their media plan in October. Magellan says the brand awareness ads were most commonly detected in business shows, in a mid-roll position.
The holiday shopping season also brought a big bump in ad spending for Uncommon Goods which increased spend by 405% between September and October. Magellan says it first detected ads for Uncommon Goods leading up to the gift-giving season in 2019 and in the years since, the brand increased their presence for seasonal campaigns. Uncommon Goods’ direct-response ads were detected in a mid-roll position and offered a discount with a show-specific code.
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.