Mid-roll ads have long been the go-to for many advertisers with data showing they are most likely to spur listeners to check out their website or buy their product. But in a first, Podsights reports during the first quarter pre-roll ads outperformed mid-roll placements by five percent. Both saw an increase in their average conversion rates from the prior quarter, but pre-roll jumped 41% while mid-rolls gained 12%. The result was ads that air prior to the start of the episode did better for marketers in Q1 than ads that came during a mid-episode break.
Podsights also reports that post-roll ads, while always the least effective in terms of conversion rates, had some of their best numbers in a while. Post-rolls had a “dramatic” increase of 73% in average conversion rate during the first quarter. That remains, however, considerably behind both pre-roll and mid-roll ads.
The data comes from Podsight’s Quarterly Benchmark Report, based on a rolling average of 12 months of data including about 7 billion ad impressions and more than 3,000 campaigns for 870 brands that spent a combined $408 million on podcasting. The company estimates it captures one of every three dollars spent in the space, an increase from its previous share of one of four dollars.
Podsights reports a 1.1% average conversion rate for the ad campaigns it measured during the first quarter. That is an all-time low as the rate dropped another 23% between the fourth and first quarters. And it was down by more than a third (-36%) from a year earlier during Q1.
Podsights speculates that falling conversion rates can be attributed to higher frequency. In addition, more brands entering the space may level the playing field in terms of conversion rate,” it says in the report. Tracking which advertisers had the best conversion rates of sending listeners to their website, Podsights found the disparate gambling and parenting ad categories came out on top.
While conversion rates are at an all-time low, ad buyers may be reassured by the numbers, which show podcast ads convert listeners into buyers. “While visitor conversion rates are down, purchase conversion rates remain strong,” the report says. In fact, the average conversion rate increased 15% in the first quarter compared to the fourth quarter when holiday shopping offered a tailwind.
Podsights says brick and mortar retailers had the highest purchase conversion rates during first quarter, with a rate nearly double that of direct-to-consumer retail. And beauty leads with 8.89% of website visitors going on to make a purchase.
The report says brick and mortar retail, fashion and beauty had a higher purchase intent after listeners heard an ad while industries like gambling and professional services did not have as big of an impact on purchase intent.
Based on its analysis, Podsights says brands testing podcasting should run at least 200,000 impressions. And once the medium is validated, brands looking for scale should run more than two million impressions – a tenfold increase.
The latest data shows advertising placed with two to ten different publishers appears to be the “sweet spot” that yields the highest conversion rates. Podsights says those advertisers did better than those who only advertised on a single publisher or spread their ads out across 11 or more publishers.
The quarterly update also examined how ads that were dynamically inserted performed compared to those that are natively embedded into the episode’s content. It brought about another first. Podsights says dynamic ad conversion rates overtook embedded ads for the first time this period with an average conversion rate of 1.26%. In comparison, embedded ads had an average conversion rate of 0.95%.
The report also notes that of the ads it measured, a majority 83% were dynamically inserted compared to 17% that were embedded.
Download the latest Podsights Quarterly Benchmark Report HERE.