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Podcasts Gained Traction With Ad Buyers. Survey Finds They’re Not Done Yet.

Advertisers will have an all-star lineup in front of them next week as the annual IAB Podcast Upfront takes place. The three-day event may be virtual in 2020, but interest in podcasts is the real thing. Two-thirds of ad agencies and brands say they have discussed adding podcasting to their media plans.

The survey among marketers was conducted by Advertiser Perceptions, which was commissioned by Westwood One as part of its annual Podcast Advertising Study which the company has released for the past five years ahead of the IAB upfront. The results are based on a survey of 300 marketers, brand managers, and media agencies conducted in July.

The data shows 45% of those surveyed are likely to consider podcast advertising within the next six months. “The fact that we are inching towards half is a big deal,” said Westwood One Chief Insights Officer Pierre Bouvard. “Compared to direct response advertisers, brands are slow.”

The data shows there remains a lot of growth potential with only a third of agencies and brands reporting they currently advertise in podcasts. That figure is likely to climb significantly in the coming years as 37% also said they intend to advertise in the next six months.

“We are in the dawn of getting brands into podcasting,” said Bouvard. He pointed out the Interactive Advertising Bureau recently calculated that 42% of industry ad revenue in 2019 came from brand awareness ads compared to 38% in 2018. “Some of the reasons why brands aren’t rushing in is because they are waiting for scale. But now we have almost 40% of Americans listening in a typical month so we are approaching scale in audience size. And the industry is getting its act together on attribution, and with brand effect studies, so the industry is getting itself organized for success when it comes to brands.”

Since 2015 – the year the IAB held its first podcast upfront for the ad community – podcast advertising consideration has grown two-and-a-half-times and spend intention has grown nearly four-times. Podcast advertising consideration has soared from 18% in 2015 to 46% this year, according to Advertiser Perceptions’ latest survey. And podcast advertising intention has nearly quadrupled from 10% in 2015 to 37% in 2020.

Earlier this week Westwood One and Magellan AI released an analysis of the podcast ad market. It showed that among the top 400 podcasts between January and June the number of U.S. podcast advertisers increased 18% and total podcast ad occurrences were up 15%. “The resilience and strength of podcast advertising from Magellan AI’s occurrence data validates the IAB/PwC recent podcast revenue growth forecast for 2020 (+15%) and 2021 (+35%),” said Bouvard.

The IAB says more than 2,500 people have registered to attend this year’s virtual IAB Podcast Upfront 2020, which is slated to run Sept. 9-11. The IAB says there will be several radio groups on hand as well as ten first-time presenters at the three-day event, including the New York Times and ViacomCBS. Among the radio broadcasters that will be showing off their on-demand products are iHeartMedia, NPR, Westwood One, ESPN, American Public Media and two Entercom-owned podcast studios: Cadence13 and Pineapple Street Media. In addition to three days of presentations from 21 podcast producers, the IAB’s program also includes insight sessions from SiriusXM-owned AdsWizz and Podsights.

See Westwood One’s fifth annual Podcast Advertising Study HERE.

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