Host read ads have been radio’s and podcasting’s differentiator with advertisers, and the growth of podcasting has coincided with bigger influencer marketing budgets. PQ Media has just released a new forecast that says influencer marketing spending will grow 17.6% to $26.09 billion this year in the U.S., coming on the heels of last year’s 22% increase in spending according to an annual update to PQ Media's "Global Marketing Influencer Forecast" report. PQ says the shift of dollars toward influencers is driven by changing media habits among pre-Boomers, especially Millennials and Gen Zs with some of the biggest spending coming in the fashion, entertainment, and sports categories.
“Influencer marketing has become a very effective promotional method for brands to partner with influencers to engage target consumers to achieve their strategic marketing objectives,” says PQ Media CEO Patrick Quinn. “If executed well, influencer marketing is a valuable component of omnichannel campaigns because it helps brands improve their social media reputations with high-quality content and to grow sales.”
PQ Media says influencer marketing budgets are growing faster than traditional advertising or marketing spending. In 2022, it estimates that 3.6% of total U.S. marketing spending went to influencer marketing.
The firm has been tracking influencer marketing for the past 16 years when it was then commonly referred to as word-of-mouth marketing. Today the U.S. accounts for three of every four dollars (76.1%) of global influencer marketing spending, but PQ Media forecasts the U.S. share will shrink to 67.8% by year-end 2027, as the influencer juggernaut rapidly sweeps across the globe and becomes a key component of omnichannel marketing campaigns during the next five years. For now, it says global influencer marketing spending grew 21.5% last year to $29.14 billion and is on track to increase another 16.9% this year.
In both the overall global and U.S. markets, PQ Media says content providers such as podcasters are the largest and fastest growing influencer channel.In the U.S., the firm says marketers spent $9.88 billion with content providers last year and that number is expected to increase 21% this year to $11.91 billion.
Audio companies are already moving aggressively to go after the growing influencer dollars. In May, the iHeartPodcast Network held a one-day Influencer Summit that brought creators and brands together to discuss podcast advertising and how brands need to adapt, invest and create audio advertising that resonates with podcast fans.
Conal Byrne, CEO of the iHeartMedia Digital Audio Group, said that podcasters already have an easy on-ramp to influencer budgets. “What really differentiates podcasting and our iHeartPodcast Network from other mediums is that creators and fans expect the advertising to be endemic to the shows, often voiced by the hosts and authentic to the listening experience,” he said.