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Westwood One Releases Fifth Annual Podcast Ad Study


Westwood One
Westwood One

Cumulus Media's Westwood One has released the results of its latest Advertiser Perceptions study in advance of next week's Interactive Advertising Bureau (IAB) Podcast Upfront. This year marks their fifth annual report studying brand and agency sentiment on podcast advertising. Since 2015, podcast advertising consideration among brands and agencies has grown 2.5X and spend intention has grown nearly 4X, according to Advertiser Perceptions.

Two-thirds of buy-side decision makers are discussing podcast advertising and one-third are actively spending. In 2015, only 10% of brands and media agencies indicated they intended to advertise in podcasts in the next six months. Flash forward to 2020. Here is the current marketer/agency podcast advertising purchase funnel:

According to the study, podcast advertising seems pandemic proof. After a brief April dip, ad volumes and advertisers have surged back and now exceed pre-pandemic levels, according to Magellan AI. March 2020 was a strong month for podcast advertising with a record number of advertisers and ad detections. When the pandemic intensified in April, the number of unique advertisers dipped 12% from March while total ad occurrences also dropped 12%. In May, the number of unique advertisers in podcasting jumped back to March levels. In June, total podcast occurrences grew 8% versus April and the average number of ads per podcast (2.9) reverted to pre-pandemic volumes.

Brand advertising shows strong growth in podcasts. Magellan AI determined the campaign objective (direct response, brand awareness, or tune-in) at the brand or product level based on whether ads for that brand or product included a promotional code or unique vanity URL. The proportion of brand advertising in podcasting has been steadily rising over the past year. In Q2 2020, 38% of ad occurrences were from brands, up 46% from Q2 2019 (26%).

Podcasting's audience share of ad-supported audio has nearly tripled since 2016, according to Edison's "Share of Ear." Over the last four years, an examination of ad-supported audio audience shares among persons 25-54 reveals the combined shares of music streamers Spotify and Pandora slightly dropped from 14% in Q2 2016 to 13% in Q2 2020. Meanwhile, from Q2 2016 to Q2 2020, podcasts surpassed both streaming giants and nearly tripled in share (4% to 11%). AM/FM radio remains the dominant player.

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