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January’s Typically A Soft Month, But Podcasting’s Top 15 Brands Spent More.

The new year began with many economic experts saying a recession now appears less likely as hiring and consumer spending held strong during January. That may be convincing marketers to reverse some of the spending pullbacks in recent months. Magellan AI says the top 15 podcast advertisers invested $48.581 million in January. That was a two percent increase compared to what the biggest spenders invested during December, despite the move from one of the strongest ad spending months of the year to one of the softest.

Telehealth Doc’s online mental health brand BetterHelp once again remained the top podcast advertiser during January according to Magellan AI, which says it cut its podcasting spending five percent to an estimated $8.7 million. BetterHelp ads were not hard to find. They appeared on 981 different podcasts with Comedy the most-used genre by the brand.

Despite the end of the holiday shopping season, Amazon remained the second-largest podcast advertiser in January. Magellan AI estimates it spent $5.2 million on podcast ads heard across 629 different shows. That spending level was down 12% month-to-month compared to December, however.

New year’s resolutions around eating better in 2023 contributed to a pop in spending by the food delivery kit service HelloFresh. It was the third-biggest advertiser in podcasting l in January. Magellan AI says its spending nearly doubled (+98%) to an estimated $4.75 million in January with HelloFresh ads appearing on nearly 500 shows, mainly in the Comedy genre.

The sports betting company Flutter Entertainment held onto fourth place with an estimated $4.5 million in ads. That was 40% more than it spent during December per Magellan AI estimates. The ad-tracking firm says rival sports betting service DraftKings ranked fifth with an estimated $3.6 million in podcast ads. That was an 86% month-to-month jump.

Across the top 15, the Sports genre was the most-used by nine of the top 15 advertisers according to Magellan AI’s estimates. Five other advertisers spent most of their money in the Comedy genre.

Magellan AI’s list of movers and shakers – the brands that increased their podcast spending the most during the month – was led by Google, which more than quadrupled its podcast ad spending month-to-month to $867,000. But overall, the seasonal softness did turn up on the movers and shakers list. Not only did none of the brands crack $1 million in spending, but eight of the top ten brands on the list failed to spend more than half that dollar figure.

Magellan AI’s monthly list does, however, include some large brands, such as Walgreens and Intuit/TurboTax – which spent 526% more in January than in December as the tax filing season got underway.

Magellan analyzes podcast advertising data from the top 3,000 podcasts in the U.S., as ranked by Apple Podcasts. Magellan AI’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.

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