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Podcasts Becoming A Go-To Advertising Channel For B2B Brands.

Listen to one of the popular business or tech podcasts, and a commercial targeting a business owner is sure to come up. While most podcast ads are intended for consumers, Magellan AI data shows between Jan. 2023 and Feb. 2024, business-to-business brands have spent $182 million on podcast advertising.

Leading the list is NetSuite, a cloud-based enterprise software company, which Magellan AI estimates spent more than $17.4 million on podcast ads during the 14-month period. It was followed by ExpressVPN, which spent an estimated $13.7 million during that same time according to data released by Cumulus Media.

“Podcasting is becoming a growing media platform for B2B brands,” said Pierre Bouvard, Chief Insights Officer at the Cumulus Media/Westwood One Audio Active Group which released the analysis. Bouvard says that embrace of podcasting by B2B brands comes as research shows more of their intended audience are listening to on-demand audio. “Nielsen Scarborough examined the weekly reach of media among business decision-makers – and two out of five business decision makers are being reached by podcasting.”

Further backing up why podcasting is wise investment for B2B brands is Edison Research Share of Ear data showing in the fourth quarter half of podcast listeners participate in purchase decisions at work. That includes a third that are the primary decider. And 17% of weekly podcast listeners are also the business owner. “Podcasting has an outstanding context and content for B2B brands,” Bouvard says.

The key target listener for B2B brands is the decision-maker, and Bouvard says when audio is put up against other forms of media, it holds its own. Nielsen Scarborough data reveals heavy podcaster listeners are, at 41 years, the youngest median age among the business decision-makers across various media options. It is also just a year a under 42 which is the median age of business decision-makers overall.

Podcast listeners are also more likely to have attended college, be employed fulltime, and have a higher median household income than either heavy users of radio, the web, broadcast TV, or newspapers.

But while work-related podcasts may seem like an obvious place for B2B brands to turn up, Bouvard says the data supports spreading those ads across various genres. “You get massive reach of B2B decision-makers with comedy, news, society and culture,” he says. He points out that even among business owners, genres like comedy and news have a bigger reach than business or tech podcasts. Edison data shows a third of primary decision-makers can be reached with a comedy podcast ad buy versus 10% through an ad placed on a business podcast.

Bouvard, in a video detailing the findings, says B2B brands considering audio ads would be wise to heed the advice of market professionals Les Binet and Peter Field’s “The 5 Principles of Growth in B2B Marketing” study released by the B2B Institute. It recommends that brands allocate 46% of their ad spending to branding and 54% to sales activation.

In terms of creative, other studies suggests B2B marketers take a page from consumer-oriented ads and harness the power of emotion, calling it the strongest selling tool. That means an ad with a story arc, characters, and music. Bouvard says the research shows that a brand should mention the name of their company within the first two or three seconds of the ad, and then repeat it at least five times during the next :30-seconds.

 “The number one objective of a B2B campaign is not to create a lead. It's to create memories since 95% of people are not in market. They don't think about your category. They're not thinking about your business. The key objective is being known before you're needed,” he said.

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