First quarter brought a new year of growth in podcast advertising, despite its traditionally slower pace than other times of the year. Magellan AI says podcast ad spending grew 13% compared to the fourth quarter as more than 1,875 new brands advertised on podcasts for the first time during Q1, up by 305 advertisers compared to last year.
The online mental health care provider BetterHelp remained the top marketer, spending $21.3 million during the first quarter on podcast advertising according to Magellan estimates. That was more than double the second largest advertiser, HelloFresh, which spent an estimated $7.7 million. Overall, the top ten advertisers spent an estimated $76.6 million. That is down 14% from what the top ten spent during Q4. Magellan does not release total quarterly estimates.
Seven of the top ten spenders during the first quarter were carryovers from the fourth quarter. Athletic Greens is the only marketer making the list for the first time. It came into the medium in a strong way, investing $7 million, making it the third-biggest advertiser during the first three months of the year.
Magellan says the fastest-growing ad category during first quarter was web hosting services, which saw an 82% increase in quarter-to-quarter spending. There were also big gains in the home goods (+65%), travel (+49%), fitness (38%), and nutritional supplements (+31%) ad categories.
But it was financial services that continued to be the category more heavily invested in podcasting than all others. Magellan says it detected ads from 571 different financial services brands using podcast ads during first quarter, a list that includes 150 new names. Business services also continues to be deep in the medium with 569 brands detected during Q1. It was followed by food, with 434 different advertisers, and television and film, with 385 brands detected.
Predictions that podcasting could top $2 billion in total ad revenue this year will require more marketers and larger budgets. To that end, Magellan says among the 1,875 new brands it detected in podcasting during first quarter, it estimates they spent an average of $19,000 with mid-roll ads their most frequent ad placement choice.
Sports continued to be the first place where new brands turned up. Magellan says 15% of newcomers ran ads on one or more Sports podcasts during first quarter. And 11% ran ads on one or more News podcasts. Comedy, Society & Culture, and Arts podcasts were also popular destinations for new podcast advertisers, according to the analysis.
Even as some advertisers are said to be rethinking the value of pre-roll ads, the Magellan report says mid-roll ads were the most common ad position overall, accounting for more than half of all podcast ads it detected. During first quarter, pre-rolls were roughly a quarter of all ads run.
The data also shows a continued concentration of ad spending among the most downloaded shows. It reports more than half – 58% – of all podcast ad spending during the first quarter went to the top 500 podcasts. That is roughly the same as during Q4.
“Top 500 podcasts generated an average of $227,000 per month in revenue in Q1,” the report says. “Podcasts ranking 501-3000 generated an average of $31,000 per month.”
Magellan’s quarterly update is based on data it collated from more than 10,000 advertisers who placed ads across 68,000 episodes during the second quarter. 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 on select media kits and estimated based on popularity.
Download a copy of Magellan’s latest Podcast Advertising Benchmark Report HERE.