Despite fears of how an advertising slowdown could impact podcasters there is a positive indicator that marketers are still spending with the medium heading into the critical final months of the year. Magellan AI says the top 15 podcast advertisers spent $35.779 million during September, an 11% increase from what the top 15 spent during August.
The online mental health brand BetterHelp remained the top podcast advertiser during September according to Magellan AI, which estimates it increased its spending two percent to $7.3 million. Its ads were detected on 796 different shows – one more than in August – with Comedy remaining its most-used genre.
Amazon held the No. 2 position again last month, but it cut back its spend five percent month-to-month to an estimated $3.2 million. The big change for Amazon was how it spent its ad dollars. In August it ran ads on 617 different podcasts but in September its ads were more concentrated, appearing on 339 podcasts. Magellan AI says its most-used genre also changed from Society & Culture to Sports.
The food delivery service HelloFresh was again the third-biggest podcast advertiser last month, with a nine percent increase its spending to an estimated $2.9 million. Comedy was its most-used genre.
The return of football and the baseball playoff season also saw a big move by the sports betting company DraftKings. It more than doubled its podcast ad spending last month to an estimated $2.7 million, or a 130% jump from what it spent in August, to finish at No. 4. As might be expected, Sports was its biggest format.
Overall fantasy sports ad spending on podcast rose 89% between August and September according to Magellan AI with pegs last month’s total in the category at about $5.5 million.
“Fantasy sports peaked in September for the last three years,” Magellan AI CEO Cameron Hendrix said on a webinar. “Fantasy sports is one of those categories that we see patterns in, and those patterns repeat pretty strongly when we track this data.”
Sports is also where most of the ads for No. 5 Samsung also appeared. It also rocketed onto the top 15 with a 17-fold increase from August as they promoted the release of their Galaxy Z Fold4 phone. Magellan AI estimates the electronics brand spent $2.2 million last month with ads on 370 different podcasts – more than either DraftKings or HelloFresh.
Magellan AI says it first detected the brand in late 2017, but Samsung never spent over $1 million during a single year until last year. This year, despite not spending much earlier in the year, Samsung is on track to outspend 2021. In addition to Sports, Samsung also targeted Society & Culture and Comedy with ads that are primarily placed in a mid-roll position and averaging 60 seconds.
Magellan AI’s list of movers and shakers – the brands that increased their podcast spending the most during the month – was led by Samsung. It is followed by Instacart, which had a 35-times increase in its podcast ad spending between August and September when it spent an estimated $709,000.
Magellan says Instacart used both programmatic and host read ads with ads that were mostly in the mid-roll position and ranged from 30 to 120 seconds. “Prior to this year Instacart has not been a major advertiser in the podcast space since 2019,” it says in a blog post.
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.