The online mental health company BetterHelp spent more than twice what any other podcast advertiser did during February as it remained the industry’s biggest spender. The ad tracking firm Magellan AI estimates BetterHelp increased its podcast ad budget nine percent month-to-month as it allocated nearly $7.9 million to podcast marketing. Magellan says BetterHelp ran ads on 679 shows, more than any other advertiser, with the Comedy genre its top destination.
Despite a 17% drop in its spending versus January, Magellan estimates No. 2 spender HelloFresh invested $3.1 million last month on podcast ads. It, too, leaned heavily on Comedy shows with HelloFresh ads detected across 334 different podcasts.
Nutrition supplement maker Athletic Greens moved up from No. 5 in January to No. 3 in February as its ad budget rose 23% month-to-month with $2.6 million in spending during February. Where did it go looking for health-conscious listeners? Magellan says it spent the largest share of its ad budget on Comedy shows.
Fourth place advertiser ExpressVPN, which had been in third place a month earlier, spent $2.6 million in February, an estimated two percent drop from January. News was its biggest go-to show category.
Insurance company Progressive rounded out the top five. Magellan estimates it allocated $2.5 million, a 31% increase from January when the brand ranked No. 9. Progressive spent its money across 433 shows, with Society & Culture the biggest recipient.
Notably absent from the top 15 was NBCUniversal, which had consistently made the ranker for the past several months. It often was the brand that spread its money across the biggest number of shows – in December NBCU ran ads on 153 different shows, for instance. But in January its strategy shifted and it bought ads on a smaller number – 449 different shows. Then last month it failed to make the top 15.
Overall, Magellan estimates the top 15 podcast advertisers spent a combined $36.86 million during February. That compared to a total $35.16 million spent by the top 15 during January.
Magellan’s list of movers and shakers – the brands that increased their podcast spending during the month – was led in February by Geely. It spent an estimated $646,000 compared to $9,000 a month earlier. “February marks the most the automotive manufacturer has ever spent in a single month,” says Magellan in a blog post. “While there are other car companies that have spent more in the space, this is notable for Geely because it shows that every time it comes back to advertising in the podcast space it spends more than it did the time before.”
Magellan says in its ads Geely is promoting Polestar, its new line of electric vehicles with ads running on Sports, Society & Culture, and News shows. Geely ran primarily pre-roll host-read ads, favoring :30s in length last month.
Priceline is another notable entrant on the movers and shakers list. It increased its spend from $9,000 in January to $507,000 in February. It was also the first time that Priceline is believed to have ever advertised on podcasts during the month of February, which is typically considered the off-season for travel.
“This appears to follow a trend in the travel industry at large, which increased its spend overall by 112% from January to February,” says Magellan. It says Priceline ads are a mix of host-read and produced, primarily in mid-roll positions averaging just over one minute in length.
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.