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Mobile Advertisers Flock To Podcasting And Digital Audio In A Soon-To-Be Cookie-Less Ad World.

Advertisers are changing their tune when it comes to mobile advertising according to a new survey. Advertiser Perceptions finds that it is podcasting that has become the hot medium as nearly half (49%) of buyers surveyed say mobile audio is now “extremely important” to them, an increase of 12 points from the end of 2019.

A majority (57%) of mobile buyers said they plan to increase their ad spending on podcasts in the next six months. No other medium scored as well. Podcasting beat social media by ten points and topped ecommerce and video spending by nearly as much.

Advertiser Perceptions finds 42% think their current podcast ad budget will remain in place while just one percent of buyers expect to see podcast spending cut in the coming months. That gives podcasting the highest “optimism score” – the difference between those foreseeing gains and cuts – of any format.

Lauren Fisher, Executive VP of Business Intelligence at Advertiser Perceptions, says their research has found the pandemic has opened the advertising industry’s collective eyes to podcasting. “A greater portion of advertisers themselves are consumer of podcasts, and familiarity with podcasts has risen,” she said. “And as advertisers consumed more podcasts, they became more familiar with what to expect from an advertising perspective.”

Advertiser Perceptions’ inaugural Podcast Advertising Report released in March found nearly two-thirds (63%) of advertisers said they listen to podcasts at least once a week. And a solid majority (56%) listen multiple times a week. As a result, 56% said the pandemic made podcast advertising more important to them.

To many marketers, Fisher said podcasting scores high on the so-called top of the funnel metrics – those tied to a product’s awareness and interest. “It’s also a great way for advertisers to connect with audiences in a very authentic way, especially with host-read ads,” she said. “That really allows them to cut through the clutter that some other types of mobile advertising may offer and give them a very useful unique experience from an advertising perspective.”

The survey also found that more than a third (34%) of buyers surveyed expect their mobile streaming audio and radio ad budgets will also grow in the next six months, compared to 9% that expect cuts. Still, a majority (56%) predict their mobile audio ad budgets will hold steady.

The results are based on an Advertiser Perceptions survey conducted in December of 252 advertisers – 40% marketers and 60% ad agency.

For mobile ad buyers, working in podcasting and streaming audio’s favor are looming changes in the fundamentals of the digital business. Brands are facing the loss of third-party cookies that have allowed digital marketers to track consumers from ad exposure to the online shopping cart. Fisher thinks mediums that are less reliant on that one-to-one targeting stand to gain.

“Podcasting and digital audio in general are bought more on an audience segmentation play versus one-to-one, so this is a natural medium for advertisers to move into,” said Fisher. “We are entering a world where those who are more comfortable selling in a non-one-to-one fashion may have an advantage because they have been doing it longer, they are more comfortable calculating return on investment, and they have the measurement methodologies in place to account for it. In that regard something like podcasts and digital audio and even connected TV are where it is absolutely reasonable to see advertisers moving.” Many marketers also give podcasting high scores on brand safety.

Advertiser Perceptions’ survey also sheds light on what content types are likely to attract more ad dollars in the coming months. It shows content related to gaming, kids, entertainment, and lifestyle scoring the highest.

Fisher thinks that could certainly mean a podcast targeting gamers could benefit, but she sees it as part of a larger trend where brands see podcast hosts as influencers. “Whether they are moving influencer dollars because it has gotten crowded or expensive, or that they’re not as in control of the experience, podcasts have come up as a next horizon for them to put some of those dollars,” she said.

Despite the positive ratings for podcast ads, Advertiser Perceptions’ earlier survey of advertisers found a weak spot remains with campaign measurement and reporting. Two-thirds have an issue with campaign measurement and reporting, while 61% are not satisfied with attribution, and 60% want better third-party verification.

Filling those gaps will benefit the industry Fisher predicts. “As podcast measurement gets more sophisticated, we’re going to just see more money moving here,” she said.

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