The average amount of time that podcasts are dedicating to advertising grew eight percent during the first quarter compared to a year ago. But the latest quarterly update from Magellan AI also shows a quarter-to-quarter step back during the early part of the year when advertising is traditionally lighter.
Magellan says the average ad load declined from making up 5.98% of an episode’s total time during fourth quarter to 5.51% during Q1. The first quarter figure is higher than the 5.1% of time dedicated to advertising during the same period a year earlier.
The top four show genres with the heaviest ad loads remained the same during the first quarter as at year-end. Magellan says the ad load on Fiction podcasts actually increased by more than a full percentage point to reach nearly nine percent. Kids & Family podcasts ranked second at eight percent. And while True Crime remains in third place, Magellan says the genre’s average ad load decreased 1.35% between Q4 and Q1.
Not surprisingly, there remains an inverse relationship between ad loads and how long a podcast runs. The shortest podcasts -- those that were less than 15 minutes -- dedicated an average of about 15% of their time to advertising during the first quarter. On the flipside, Magellan says episodes that ran more than one hour averaged ad loads of about five percent of the episode’s length.
The most common episode length is 30-60 minutes, which made up 40% of the episodes Magellan analyzed. Among that group of shows it says the average ad load topped six percent during Q1.
Magellan does not take a position on what the right number of ads is, but others have suggested ad loads may be growing too quickly. The latest Podsights Benchmark Report said ad frequency levels rose ten percent during Q1 to reach new records. It says the typical listener heard an ad six times, as much as twice as what is recommended. Podsights says that may be cutting into ad conversion rates, which fell to their lowest level seen to date. Podsights suggests marketers spread their ads across multiple publishers to also help ensure they are not simply hitting the same listeners over and over.
Magellan says those podcasts that offered a video version of their show on YouTube had a higher ad load – 6.1% for the video versions versus 5.7% for audio-only – and it says the advertiser renewal rate of YouTube simulcasts is more than 10% higher than other podcasts.
Nearly half (45%) of direct response advertisers stuck with a show that offered a YouTube simulcast for at least three months. That compared to a third (34%) that renewed with a podcast that only offered an audio feed.
The uptick in ad loads comes as Magellan says podcast ad spending increased 13% during the first quarter compared to a year ago as more than 1,875 new brands ran on podcasts for the first time during Q1.
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.