US Podcast Advertising Market Estimated to Have Almost Doubled in Size in 2017

June 18, 2018

The total US podcast advertising market grew by 86% in 2017 to reach $313.9 million, according to recent estimates [pdf] from the IAB and PwC. Companies directly reporting podcast advertising revenues – which collectively represent less than 100% of the podcast ad market – said their ad revenues more than doubled year-over-year. Indeed, these 19 companies that generate ad revenues from podcasting reported a 117% year-over-year hike in ad revenues, outpacing last year’s forecast of 85% growth. Companies surveyed for the report have now enjoyed an 18% compound quarterly growth rate between Q1 2015 and Q4 2017.

The report forecasts the size of the total US podcast advertising market (not just self-reported revenues), predicting that growth will begin to ease up this year. The total market is expected to increase by 28% to $402 million this year, and is forecast to grow by a similar percentage in the 2 years following, hitting $659 million in 2020.

Podcast advertising spending is growing in response to a wider reach for podcasts among Americans. Some 44% of Americans ages 12 and older have listened to a podcast, per a recent report, up from 40% last year. Nielsen data, meanwhile, reveals that 16 million homes in Fall 2017 could be classified as “avid podcast fans,” up from 13 million in the Fall of 2016.

Host-Read, Direct Response Ads Dominate

The IAB’s study provides revenue breakouts from the 19 companies that collectively reported $257.4 million in 2017 podcast ad revenues (or 82% of the total market estimate).

The results indicate that direct response ads continue to be the primary form of podcast ads, representing 64.2% of category revenue. However, direct response’s share of podcast ad revenues declined from 73% in 2016 as brand-related formats have become increasingly popular.

Indeed, brand awareness ads comprised 29.2% of self-reported 2017 revenues, up from 25.4% of self-reported 2016 revenues. Branded content is also beginning to make an impact, accounting for 6.5% of self-reported 2017 revenues, up from 1.5% in 2016.

Meanwhile, host-read ads remain the preferred type, representing two-thirds (66.9%) of ads in 2017 for those companies that self-reported data. Research indicates that host-read ads tend to perform better than dynamically inserted ads, which declined in delivery for those companies self-reporting data.

In other results from the report:

  • Companies self-reporting data said that about 7 in 10 ads are bought on an annual or quarterly basis as opposed to remnant/transactional/scattered or programmatic buys;
  • CPM is by far the most prevalent pricing model, at 85.1% of purchased ads for those companies reporting data;
  • Arts & Entertainment podcasts captured the largest share (16.8%) of revenues by genre, followed by Technology (14.6%) podcasts; and
  • Financial Services (18.1%) was the category leader in terms of advertising revenue captured by the self-reporting companies, followed by Retail (16.2%).

The report can be viewed here [pdf].

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