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Podcast CPMs Move Higher In February As Ad Market Activity Picks Up.

After what podcast companies say was a slow start to advertising in January, several indicate that business is picking up as the first quarter enters its final month. And podcast CPMs seem to reflect that. Libsyn’s AdvertiseCast says the average CPM rate for a 60-second ad sold on its platform was $21.99 during February, a two percent increase from January, which is typically one of the low points in the year. Libsyn says the average CPM is on par with what was charged to advertisers a year ago.

The data, which is derived from actual sales across AdvertiseCast’s network of more than 1,600 shows, reveals the three genres with the highest CPMs during January were Technology ($27), Arts ($25), and Education ($25) – the same top three as in the prior month. Libsyn also points out there remain several genres with more accessible rates to entice marketers to spend with podcasters, with Fiction, Games, and Music all having average CPMs in the low $20 range during February. 

“Reports indicate that uptake of brand safety and suitability solutions has nearly doubled since last year, showing a rapid adoption of these tools in the podcast channel,” said Dave Hanley, Chief Revenue Officer of Libsyn’s AdvertiseCast. “As one of the fastest-growing digital media channels, brand marketers have ample reasons to embrace podcast advertising as a cost-effective and trusted medium that delivers unmatched audience engagement.”

While January brought across the board declines, the trend lines reversed in February. Libsyn AdvertiseCast recorded month-to-month CPM increases regardless of show size. Podcasts with between 1,000 and 10,000 downloads had the highest average CPM during February at $23.06, up slightly from January. Podcasts with between 10,000 and 100,000 downloads had a $22.32 average CPM, up two percent from the prior month. And AdvertiseCast says shows with more than 100,000 downloads continued to have the lowest CPMs at $20.60 during February, up three percent from January.

Several podcast companies have said they see ad sales strengthening in recent weeks. During a call with analysts last Thursday, iHeartMedia management highlighted signs of an improving ad market. “Across the board, we’re seeing a strengthening of advertising,” CEO Bob Pittman said. Added President/COO/CFO Rich Bressler, “We expect 2024 to be back in growth mode, as we continue to see signs of improvement throughout our business and the broader advertising marketplace.”

While there are month-to-month fluctuations, AdvertiseCast says the typical one-minute ad sold by its platform has a $25 CPM while a 30-second ad typically has an average $18 CPM. That is the same as a year ago.

CPM is cost “per mille” or cost per 1,000 listeners. AdvertiseCast bases its averages on actual sales data across its network of roughly 1,600 shows.

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