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BetterHelp Podcasting’s Top Ad Spender In January, And CarMax The Big Mover.

The online counseling service BetterHelp remained podcasting’s biggest advertiser during January despite cutting its budget by more than a third in what is traditionally one of marketing’s quietest months of the year. Magellan AI says BetterHelp ran its ads across 400 podcasts it tracks, with Society & Culture being where the biggest share of its ad dollars went.

Insurance company Geico moved up to second place, up from No. 11 in December, thanks to a 77% jump in its ad budget. The brand spent $2.8 million across 319 different podcasts. Magellan said Sports was its biggest show category.

Bank of America slid back to third as it trimmed spending in January by 29% compared to December. SimpliSafe was fourth with a 19% drop in its podcast ad spending, with HelloFresh rounding out the top five with a budget roughly flat with a month earlier.

While some advertisers use a strategy of concentrating their podcast ad budget on fewer shows, others cast a wide net. Insurer Progressive spread its $1.8 million ad budget last month across 285 different podcasts. Amazon spread $1.6 million worth of ads on 324 shows. And McDonald’s used an ad budget of $1.2 million to turn up on 288 different podcasts tracked by Magellan.

CarMax topped Magellan’s monthly list of movers and shakers – the brands that had the biggest month-to-month increase in their spending. CarMax spent $1.037 million on podcast advertising last month compared to just $59,000 in December. Magellan saidCarMax has been running some small-scale testing in the channel for some time, and last month the brand accounted for a quarter of all car advertising on podcasts.

PetSmart was also a big mover in January with a nearly eight-fold increase in its podcast ad spending compared to a month earlier.PetSmart, a brand awareness advertiser, spent $8.5 million on 38 shows such as The Watch and In The Bubble: From the Front Lines. Magellan notes PrettyLitter, the second-biggest pet retailer on podcasting, spent an estimated $200,000 last month.

Tax season is also turning up on podcasting. Magellan says Intuit raised its spending 1,442% last month to promote its TurboTax brand and specifically, the TurboTax Live service. “This significant increase has been a trend for the brand over the past few years, but this is the most they’ve spent in any January,” said Magellan in a blog post. It reports competitor H&R Block only spent an estimated $100,000 last month on podcasts and it appeared on only eight shows.

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 on select media kits and estimated based on popularity.

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