The travel industry appears to be banking on a more normal travel season this year after the pandemic sidelined a lot of travelers. “We saw spend jump pretty significantly in February,” Magellan AI CEO Cameron Hendrix says. On his company’s monthly update detailing the biggest ad spenders, Hendrix said spending jumped 111% between January and February. He said that is different from last year when travel industry spending on podcasting was roughly the same during the two months.
Even as 22 new travel brands were detected by Magellan AI for the first time last month, a trio of familiar names topped the list of spenders. Booking Holdings, the parent company of travel sites such as Booking.com, Kayak, Priceline and Open Table, topped the list with $836,000 in estimated podcast ad spending last month. Travel sector rival Expedia Group was second with $387,000 in estimated spending, followed by Airbnb with $273,000.
Magellan says podcasts in the Comedy genre had the biggest share of travel industry ad dollars, followed by True Crime and Sports. Nearly a third of travel ads were also host-read – but the number for Booking Holdings and Expedia was much lower. Hendrix said those two brands spent 11% on host-read ads.
Magellan AI’s monthly analysis also shows there was a big jump in podcast ad spending by phone, internet and cable companies. It says they spent an estimated $8.4 million last month, an 83% increase compared to January. That is a much larger month-to-month increase than what was seen during the first two months of 2022.
The top advertisers in the sector last month included Comcast ($1.3 million), Verizon ($581,000), and T-Mobile ($574,000). Roughly a quarter of the ad dollars were spent on News podcasts. Hendrix said that Sports and Comedy shows also were big winners of the telecom industry’s podcast ad dollars.
Overall, podcasting’s biggest advertisers pulled back on their spending in February, as the top 15 brands as measured by Magellan AI spent an estimated $44.32 million. That is down nine percent from the combined total spent by January’s top 15 advertisers. Teledoc Health, the parent of the online mental health company BetterHelp, was once again the top advertiser on podcasting during February. Magellan AI estimates it spent $7.9 million. It was followed by the sports betting company Flutter Entertainment, Amazon, HelloFresh, and DraftKings.
Magellan AI analyzes podcast advertising data from the top 3,000 podcasts in the U.S., as ranked by Apple Podcasts. Magellan AI’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.