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Podcast Ad Spending Grew In Q4 Magellan AI Analysis Shows. So Did Ad Loads.


Podcast advertising spending grew 29% during the fourth quarter of 2023 as the top ten advertisers spent an estimated $122 million during the final three months of the year. Yet the pace of gains came beyond just the biggest spenders. Magellan AI’s quarterly benchmark report says the top ten’s rate of growth was ten points slower than the industry overall, as it tracked 2,268 new brands that advertised on podcasts for the first time during the quarter. They spent an average of $20,000 with Sports the podcast genre most likely to see their dollars.


Overall, Magellan AI says the average monthly spend increased 30% year-to-year for brand awareness campaigns and was up 21% for direct response advertisers. Its analysis shows brand ads made up a majority 55% of the market during Q4.


The biggest advertiser during Q4 was the online mental health brand BetterHelp, which spent an estimated $25.6 million. Amazon ranked second at $23.3 million, followed by HelloFresh, which spent $13.2 million according to Magellan AI estimates. It says seven of the top ten advertisers were repeats from the third quarter, while three – Apple, Shopify, and AT&T – are new to the list.


The holiday season resulted in the gifts ad category being the fast-growing ad segment during Q4 per Magellan AI’s calculations. It says the category saw a 509% increase from third quarter for a combined $13.3 million in advertising. Home Décor ad spending more than doubled to $7.2 million, making it the second fastest-growing ad category, followed by shaving, which was up 83% to $4.6 million. The fantasy sports category, which was the fastest growing industry during third quarter, further expanded in Q4 when Magellan AI says its spending was up 49% to $20 million.


The Magellan AI data also give a fresh read on advertising loads. It reveals that despite what some companies say has been an uneven ad market, the average ad loads across episodes sampled increased to 7.66% of episode time dedicated to ads during Q4. That was up from 17% from the third quarter. And it was a 29% increase versus the prior year when less than six percent of an episode went toward advertising.


Magellan AI says it detected higher ad loads across all of the major genres, with True Crime the category with the most ad time among the podcasts in the sample. It says 13.2% of True Crime episodes were ads, not content. It was followed by Society & Culture (10.1%), Kids & Family (8.9%), Education (7.1%), Business (7.1%), News (6.9%), and Health & Fitness (6.8%).


Magellan AI’s quarterly analysis shows that despite efforts to spread ad dollars deeper into the medium, ad buyers continue to focus heavily on the top podcast. During the fourth quarter, it says about $5.43 of every $10 spent on podcast advertising went to a top 500 show. And advertisers spent an average of $270,000 per month on podcasts in the top 500 versus a $35,000 average for shows ranked 501 to 3,000.


Among the other findings in the quarterly analysis is that eight percent of episodes had all their ad spots filled by a single advertiser. That one brand domination was most common among shows in the Technology genre, where 18% of episodes had a single advertiser. It was also a common feature in Education (16%) and Business (12%).


Download a copy of Magellan AI’s Quarterly Podcast Advertising Benchmark Report HERE.

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