Free Speech… i don’t think so – Insights into Podcast Advertising

The world of advertising is constantly evolving and innovating to find new ways to engage with an audience. The Covid-19 pandemic has meant that traditional means of advertising such as billboards and flyers have struggled due to the fact that people have been forced to stay at home. Aside from advertising, there has been a sharp rise in the interest of audio only shows and podcasts from the giants of social media. According to Podcast Insights, there are over 43 million episodes with nearly 2 million active podcasts, denoting a large market for consumers listening on specific topics and conversation. This is shown through the emergence of ‘Clubhouse’ and also Twitter’s own ‘Spaces’. Find out more on Spaces here (LINK).

In light of this recent surge in trending audio only drive, there has also been a push in advertising, specifically podcast advertising. According to recent research from Statista, ad revenue spend equated to over £33 million in 2020, and is predicted to increase to over £77 million by 2024, with over 15 million podcast listeners in the UK alone. 

The value of podcasts in the midst of a pandemic 

We are looking for new ways to keep entertained in light of being at home more often and it seems podcasts have been something the consumer has seen value in, growing exponentially over the past year. According to Tech Digest, around 12% of the adult population are now making time for a podcast on a weekly basis, (Circa 7 million people) and overall 1 in 4 people are now listening to podcasts which is over 15 million people. Lockdown has changed listening habits with people not commuting to work and listening to traditional media such as radio, and moving to putting the consumer in the driving seat, keeping up to date with news and insights that are of most value to them.

The trust of ads through podcasts

Podcasts open the door for a unique environment to showcase adverts to the consumer. Podcast listeners are not the typical casual consumer and tend to be immersed into the content that their favourite creators put out. This trust builds from the consumer getting to know the podcast host on an intimate level. Headphone use and speech audio gives a sense of closeness, plus talking on topics that matter that consumers can relate to also plays a big part in the trust and relationship building process. A recent study from Spotify showed that 41% of listeners say they trust ads more if they hear them during a podcast, with 81% of people taking an action after hearing an ad heard through this medium. 

Spotify and the launch of audio adverts

In light of the growing popularity for Podcasts, big stakeholders in the audio world have been taking advantage of this opportunity. Spotify have recently showcased their feelings on podcasts through adding the ‘Spotify podcast network – an ’audio advertising marketplace where advertisers can reach listeners across ad-supported music and podcasts. The idea is to bridge the gap between audiences and advertisers by being able to engage at scale. Spotify denoted in their announcement of the podcast network that advertisers will be able to:

  • Reach engaged audiences in screen less moments at scale on and off Spotify
  • Leverage easy-to-use targeting tools to reach the audiences that matter most
  • Explore advanced insights powered by Streaming Ad Insertion

The platform is custom tailored to fit the advertisers needs and wants and offer flexible ad spend, similar to that of Facebook ads. It will be interesting to see how this develops and grows to compete with other platforms, as some areas of the platforms are in testing such as Audience Based Buying and Native Ad Placements.

In conclusion, it’s clear that the market for advertising through podcasts is becoming a great opportunity for advertisers to target a market that is different from the typical norms of advertising data sets and acts differently through the emotive attachment through the intimate relationships that a podcast builds with its audience.