Podcasts Enter ‘Golden Age’

Publishers report audio revenue up 500% in the first quarter of 2022, according to the Digital Publishers’ Revenue Index (DPRI). And marketers are listening

Among the sample of 12 publishers included in the report, which was produced by the Association of Online Publishers (AOP) and Deloitte, audio revenue hit £4.2m in the first quarter of this year. This was six times what they made in the first quarter of 2021.

Why it’s exciting for advertisers

In 2020, Spotify acquired ad tech company Megaphone in a $235 million deal. Megaphone offered technology for podcast publishers and advertisers seeking targeted slots on podcasts. Apart from podcast hosting, distribution – its main attraction is ad-insertion tools for podcast publishers. Brands like ESPN and The Wall Street Journal are part of the publisher list. Advertisers could use the company’s technology to find audiences across the podcast content of those publishers.

Earlier this year, Spotify announced the launch of Streaming Ad Insertion (SAI), which leverages streaming to deliver Spotify’s full digital suite of planning, reporting, and measurement capabilities. SAI offers marketers a set of data-driven insights to podcast advertising.

Dan Ison, lead partner for telecommunications, media and entertainment at Deloitte, said, “Many digital publishers have looked to the airwaves for growth in the past two years, launching radio offerings and podcasts that entice new audiences and spark rising revenues. We know there are as many daily podcast listeners as there are online radio listeners, with one in 10 UK adults under the age of 25 now having access to a paid-for podcast subscription. Tuning into content throughout the day – whether that’s while commuting, preparing dinner or driving the car – creates an intimate experience for audiences while engendering loyalty. At a time when the cost-of-living crisis is squeezing household finances, many will be questioning the necessity of their media subscriptions. This makes it all the more important for publishers to be concentrating on the creation of regular, unmissable content.”

Richard Reeves, Managing Director at AOP, commented, “We’ve seen revenue for digital audio grow steadily over the last few quarters, driven in part by what’s being deemed the ‘golden age of podcasts’. The 500% revenue growth reported for this channel in Q1 2022 demonstrates that publishers are now successfully monetizing this type of content. It’s also interesting to see the drop in revenue for mobile and desktop-only devices, as this indicates the continued shift towards multi-channel campaigns.”

In another study, 75% of podcast listeners said they were happy with the purchase they had made from podcast ads, a study from Voices, the #1 voice marketplace.

This study used survey data from 1,002 podcast listeners in the U.S. Respondents ranged from 18 to 69 years old with an average age of 31. Fifty-four percent of respondents identified as male, while 46% identified as female.

YouTube (58%), Spotify (54%) and Apple Podcasts (41%) were the top 3 preferred platforms for podcasts, while Audible (15%), Spotify (21%) and Sticher (21%) were the platforms that had the lowest percentage of listeners annoyed by ads.

Highlights from the voice survey showed:

  • Over 70% of listeners preferred that ads were read live during recording rather than played as a pre-produced segment.
  • Almost 53% wanted their podcast ads read by the host.
  • 3 out of 5 podcast listeners would like the ability to interact with the ads and trusted the endorsements of their favorite podcasts.
  • More than 50% of the survey respondents said they listen to podcasts regularly, which is a major milestone considering 22% of Americans didn’t know what a podcast was in 2006.
  • News (39%), Politics (37%) and True Crime (37%) were the top 3 preferred podcast genres.
  • The biggest podcast ad pet peeves were: It interrupts the podcast’s flow (56%), too repetitive (56%) and too excessive (50%).
  • Fifty-two percent of Gen Zers have purchased something after hearing a podcast ad, compare that to 42% of millennials.

Data from eMarketer shows that US podcast ad spending will surpass $2 billion by 2023.