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GroupM Forecaster: Podcasting Is Making Audio Ads ‘More Appealing.’

Podcasting is making audio “more appealing to marketers” according to Brian Wieser, the chief forecaster at the ad buying giant GroupM. He calculates digital will account for 17% of the audio sector’s total revenue in 2020 and it will continue to expand its share of the medium’s overall revenue in the years to come.

Wieser’s comments came in an updated outlook for this year. The firm sees advertising falling 13% this year after earlier expecting growth of 4%. But despite the economic carnage brought about by COVID-19, the pain is relatively contained compared with what occurred during the Great Recession of 2009, when the misery was spread out over a longer period of time. And more good news: That 13% figure also excludes political advertising, which is expected to be significant.

But with all that information in mind, right now there’s nothing but uncertainty in the air — whether it’s the direction of the Black Lives Matter protests, a potential second wave of the coronavirus or the outcome of the November elections.

“Uncertainty is poised to continue as a dominant feature of life given the wide range of ways the year can still play out,” said Wieser in a mid-year update released this week. “This would be true even if a successful vaccine for COVID-19 were to suddenly be developed and widely distributed. Whatever the timing, governments and citizens will attempt to manage something passing for normalcy. With that backdrop, businesses have to adapt and transform, often out of necessity in order to survive.”

Within the audio sector, GroupM expects a decline of 24% in 2020, with another 7% drop next year — primarily due to the medium’s “generally unfavorable” exposure to retail, local and smaller business advertising. But there is a factor that works in audio’s favor. “Overall,” the report says, “audio remains a cost-efficient vehicle.”

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