Podcast Listeners Pay Attention to Ads

August 6, 2019

In the past two years, US podcast advertising revenues have more than doubled, with spend expected to reach an estimated $678.7 million in 2019. One reason why advertisers might be keen to put more of their budget into the medium can be found in a survey [download page] by Westwood One: podcast ads are less likely to be skipped by listeners than other ad formats.

Based on a sample of more than 1,400 monthly adult podcast listeners, only one-fifth (20%) say they actively avoid podcast ads through means such as skipping, blocking or turning out. This compares favorably with other ad formats such as online pop-ups (44%), email (33%) and TV (23%).

These findings are not too surprising considering an earlier study from Westwood One, which found that listeners are growing more receptive to podcast ads, with respondents considering 4 ads per a 60-minute podcast to be appropriate. Even more interesting was that this same study found that just more than half (53%) of respondents said they liked most of the ads they hear on podcasts.

While podcast listeners may be open to advertising during their podcasts, what about advertising that promotes podcasts on formats such as AM/FM radio? This also seems to be effective. One-quarter (25%) of all respondents to the survey say that they typically discover podcasts from the radio, although this percentage is lower than that from a report from last year which found that 32% of weekly podcast listeners found out about new podcast through radio advertising.

Going forward, podcast listeners are likely to hear more advertising about podcasts on the radio, with Westwood One quoting findings from Media Monitors that show in Q1 2019 106 unique podcast advertisers used AM/FM radio to promote their podcasts – quite a leap from just 11 unique podcasters using radio to promote podcasts in Q4 2018.

The report also uses data from Nielsen to estimate that in Q1 2019, all detected ads for the top 10 most heavily promoted podcasts reached 54.9% of people 12 years and older in monitored markets, compared to only 16% in Q4 2018.

Looking at the years ahead, the media industry seems much more bullish about the performance of podcasts versus other media formats. One of the most interesting predictions comes from the PwC Online and Traditional Media Advertising Outlook, which forecasts that by 2022, podcast advertising revenues will exceed digital newspaper circulation revenues.

About the Data: Analysis is based on a survey of 1,407 US adults (ages 18 and older) who listen to podcasts at least once a month. The survey was conducted between March 5-14, 2019.

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