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Top Podcast Advertisers' Quarterly Spend? Half a Million.

Agency interest in podcast advertising is at an all-time high, according to data in Westwood One's latest “Everyone's Listening” blog entry. A deep dive into ad spending during first quarter 2021 shows the top 100 podcast advertisers spent an average of nearly $500,000. Underscoring the top-heavy nature of spending, just 5% of advertisers represent more than half of the total podcast spend.

The blog, titled “So You Want to Be a Big-Time Podcast Advertiser?” focuses on data from MediaRadar, Magellan AI and Advertiser Perceptions, the latter of which shows nearly half (46%) of agencies and brands saying they definitely would consider advertising – and 37% indicating they definitely would advertise – in podcasts in the next six months. According to MediaRadar, analyzing 2,052 podcast advertisers and monitoring the top 500 podcasts during Q1 2021, the top 100 spending brands represent 5% of advertisers that generate 51% of total spend, while the 101-410 top brands represent 15% of advertisers generating 33%. Additionally, Magellan AI's Q1 2021 data measuring 3,000 podcast advertisers shows the top 500 are the 17% representing 50% of spend, while the remaining 2,500 are the 83% of brands generating the other half.

For Q1 2021, MediaRadar reports the average spend of the top 100 podcast advertisers is $473,000 with Magellan AI also showing the top-heavy nature of spending, with the top 500 brands having spent $363,000 while the lower 2,500 laid out only $16,000. Most podcast advertisers, however, are just dabbling in the medium, with 80% of podcast advertisers representing only 16% of the spend. “Only a handful of advertisers are seriously using the podcast platform,” Cumulus/Westwood One Chief Insights Officer Pierre Bouvard says. “It is a similar story with podcast creators. While there are two million available podcasts on Apple, only a small portion have produced multiple episodes. Under half of the two million have ever produced four or more episodes.”

According to Magellan AI, half of Q1 2021 advertisers were new to podcasting, spending an average of $15,000 on ads averaging 54 seconds in length, with most new advertisers buying sports, news and comedy podcasts. Magellan shows business services and software, financial services and consumer packaged goods accounting for most of podcast's top advertisers, with technology, home furnishing and medical/pharmaceutical the fastest-growing year-to-year according to MediaRadar. Compared to TV network advertising, however, which can represent 23% to 27% of programming, podcasts are significantly under-commercialized, with only 5% of average episode content dedicated to advertising.

Also noted in Westwood One's blog, Nielsen Scarborough data reporting 87% of podcast listeners are reached by the 160 major podcast titles they measure from 13 podcast firms, and Edison Research's Podcast Consumer Tracker's finding that buying the top five podcast audience networks reaches half of the weekly podcast audience. “Don’t be overwhelmed by the total number of podcasts.,” Bouvard says. “Advertisers can achieve audience scale by purchasing the largest networks and the most popular podcasts.”

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