The new year began where the old one left off with BetterHelp the biggest advertiser on podcasting during January. The ad tracking firm Magellan AI says the online mental health company retained the top spot, despite cutting its budget 13% from December as it spent an estimated $7.2 million on podcasts last month. Better Help bought ads on 686 shows, with the biggest share going to podcasts in the Comedy genre.
Looking to capitalize on new year health eating, the food delivery service HelloFresh increased its podcast spending 61% to an estimated $3.8 million and moved up to second place from No 5 the month before. It, too, spent the most on Comedy podcasts.
Magellan says ExpressVPN moved up to third despite trimming its spending 13% versus December’s estimate. Insurance company Geico ramped up its spending 45% to $2.3 million and rose to No. 4 in January. And Athletic Greens entered the top 15 with an estimated $2.1 million in spending putting it in fifth place.
Amazon, which ramped up its advertising during the holiday-filled fourth quarter, remained one of podcasting’s biggest spenders in January. Magellan says it spent $1.6 million, or roughly half what it invested in December.
Magellan data also points to a shift in how NBCUniversal allocated its estimated $1.9 million in ad dollars last month. It placed ads on 449 different podcasts. While that is a big number, it is fewer than half the 1,153 different shows it spread a similarly sized budget across a month earlier. Or the 1,012 different shows it used in November. And as it concentrated its spending, NBCUniversal spent the most on News podcasts rather that what had been its go-to – Comedy podcasts.
Overall, Magellan estimates the top 15 podcast advertisers spent a combined $35.16 million during January. That compared to a total $35.05 million spent by the top 15 during December.
Magellan’s list of movers and shakers – the brands that increased their podcast spending during the month – was led in January by Wix. It invested nearly $1.7 million last month compared to $141,000 in December. Magellan says in a blog post that it first detected the web hosting company’s ads in April 2018 but spotted a big increase in both the volume of ads and spend in November and again last month. “In January, Wix spent 30% more in a single month than they had for the entirety of 2021,” it said. Wix primarily placed ads in a mid-roll position and averaged 65 seconds in length, according to Magellan.
Two auto brands also made the movers and shakers list. Honda spent $902,000 on podcast ads last month versus $24,000 in December, a 3,658% jump. And Lexus spent $464,000 in January versus just $10,000 in December.
The 46-fold increase by Lexus came as it promoted four models, but Magellan says the biggest proportion of spend was on the 2022 Lexus NX. The majority of the spots were host-read ads in a mid-roll position, averaging just over one minute in length.
Magellan analyzes podcast advertising data from the top 3,000 podcasts in the U.S., as ranked by Apple Podcasts. Magellan’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.