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Local Ad Buyers Are Still Mostly An Untapped Podcast Opportunity, Advertiser Survey Shows.

Podcast advertising remains overwhelmingly national in scope but as dynamically inserted ad opportunities grow, it will clear new paths for local and regional marketers to make use of the medium. Even as podcasting is expected to have double-digit growth next year, Borrell Associates says its new survey shows that, for the moment, interest in podcast among Main Street businesses is stronger than spending.

Borrell’s annual Local Advertiser Survey finds that among that segment of the ad market using podcast and online audio advertising, they project a 13% increase in their spending next year compared to 2020. One reason is their growing confidence in it as an advertising vehicle. Just three percent of those who advertised said they felt podcast ad effectiveness declined this year – tied with streaming video for the smallest decline in effectiveness score across all media types. Borrell said 36% of those that use it said they believed podcasting and streaming audio advertising became more effective in 2020. Another 35% said that the effectiveness held steady.

The 2021 growth rate could also end up being better than what it appears today. Borrell said a quarter of those surveyed said they did not yet know what they will be spending on online audio next year. The survey is based on data collected from 2,262 local advertisers between August and October.

“On local Main Street there aren’t a whole lot of people doing podcast. The interesting thing is there is a lot of interest – if you have something to deliver to them, they’ll listen. But they have not had the opporunitity to get in on that,” said Borrell SVP of Local Market Intelligence Corey Elliott.

Durign a webinar Tuesday, Borrell Associates CEO Gordon Borrell said his firm is currently working on a reseach project with the Radio Advertising Bureau that has turned up what to him is a surprising result. Eight in ten radio stations surveyed said they are producing locally-focused podcasts that could be right what Main Street advertisers are after. “That blows the theory out that this is a national phenomenon,” said Borrell.

Overall, the Local Advertiser Survey pointed to a marketplace that features buyers who are cautious about next year even as they are preparing to spend more money. “There is a phenomenal thing with the amount of budget that they’re telling us that they’re allocating for 2021. But it doesn’t mean they’re going to spend it,” cautioned Borrell.

The survey shows the number of non-digital types of media being purchased continue to decline, from 2.8 different types in 2019 to 2.4 in 2020 to 2.0 in 2021. Meanwhile digital remains steady at around 5 different types of media being purchased over the same time frame. “2020 has reformed their views of what’s effective and what’s not so effective anymore,” said Borrell.

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