The Expected Big Year For Travel Starts With A Boost In Its Podcast Ad Spend.


Travel projections for 2022 are robust and as the industry gears up for what is expected to be its strongest demand since 2019, podcasters are poised to benefit based on new data from Magellan AI. It reports travel industry ad spending on podcasts it tracks more than doubled between January and February, climbing 112% to $2.6 million. And compared to February 2021, travel industry ad spending on podcasts soared 837% last month. The gains were driven by travel brands including Priceline, Expedia, and Upside.


“We saw travel industry spend double in February. This is consistent with some of the trends we saw last year with some of the travel brands coming back into the market, especially after travel had been depressed due to COVID,” said Magellan CEO Cameron Hendrix on a company webinar.


Magellan estimates Priceline spent $507,000 on podcasts during February. “Priceline was not even in the market in January, so that makes their increase in February even more significant,” said Hendrix. Nearly half (46%) of its ads ran on Sports podcasts, with the majority of Priceline ads running 60-seconds with a combination of host-read and pre-produced ads used.


Expedia spent just about $310,000 on podcast ads last month. Magellan says 39% of its ads ran on Arts, History and Education podcasts. A majority of Expedia ads ran pre-roll and were about 45 seconds long. Most were pre-produced ads. Hendrix said that use of mostly pre-produced ads likely means Expedia placed its spots programmatically.


Magellan last week reported its monthly ranker of the top podcast ad spenders. The online mental health company BetterHelp remained in first place with $7.9 million in spending last month, followed by HelloFresh ($3.1 million), nutrition supplement maker Athletic Greens ($2.6 million), ExpressVPN ($2.6 million) and insurance company Progressive ($2.5 million).


But the No. 9 entry may be more noteworthy in some ways. Job listing site Indeed increased its spending 37% month-to-month to $1.9 million in February. “Indeed has been a podcast advertiser for a long time, but this is the first time that that they have actually appeared in our top ten list,” said Hendrix. Magellan says Indeed ran ads on 169 different podcasts, with Sports its most-used genre.


The Super Bowl was in February this year and that meant a big jump in beer ad spending last month, topping $1 million. Magellan says the beer industry spending increased by a third (+32%) from January and was up 76% versus February 2021 when the Super Bowl was also played during the month. Magellan says the biggest increases in spending came from brands like Molson Coors, Sierra Nevada, and Anheuser-Busch.


Overall, Magellan estimates the top 15 podcast advertisers spent a combined $36.86 million during February. That compared to a total $35.16 million spent by the top 15 during January.


Magellan analyzes podcast advertising data from the top 3,000 podcasts in the U.S., as ranked by Apple Podcasts. 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 in select media kits and estimated based on popularity.

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