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Growth has finally returned to the podcast industry: Ad spend up 11%

Podcast listening time continues to rise, even without daily commutes, with the average listening time now reaching 6.5 hours per week – the fifth consecutive year of increase.

Ad sales intelligence organization, MediaRadar, has just released its analysis of podcast advertising in 2020, including the top podcast producers and top podcast advertisers.

The company, which offers competitive insights and advertising intelligence, found that ad spend on podcasts was up 11% year-over-year (YoY) in Q4 2020 and that growth had finally returned to the podcast industry.

Nearly 6,000 advertisers bought podcast ad spots in 2020, welcome news for publishers who struggled to monetize their podcast offerings during a difficult year. The top five podcast advertisers in 2020 were  BetterHelpCapital OneGeicoSimpliSafe and ZipRecruiter.

Of more concern for publishers, and to underline the difficulties in building sustained podcast revenues, just five companies captured a third of all podcast ad revenue: NPRiHeartRadioBarstool SportsWondery The Daily Wire

MediaRadar estimates that ad spend in podcast advertising is likely to go up 10-15% this year, driven by major platform acquisitions including Amazon acquiring Wondery and Spotify’s purchase of Megaphone and Gimlet.

Speaking to WNiP, MediaRadar’s CEO, Todd Krizelman, says, “With these significant companies behind podcasting, we can expect they will evangelize and market to their millions of existing customers.  These same companies are also investing, to create more variety and higher quality selection of podcasts.”

Krizelman adds, “In MediaRadar we observe that advertiser renewal rates in podcasts are rising. This is a good sign that advertising has a positive ROI. We also see the number of advertisers placing in podcasts continues to escalate, almost every sequential quarter. For example, in 2020,  there were almost 6,000 advertisers buying on the Top 500 podcasts. This is up from 5,154 in 2019.”

According to Edison Research, podcast listening time also continues to rise, even without daily commutes, with the average listening time now reaching 6.5 hours per week – the fifth consecutive year of increase.

Commenting on the findings, Peter Houston, Co-Founder of the Publisher Podcast Awards which takes place every April, told WNIP, “It’s encouraging to see revenue growth in podcasts, especially after the year we had. It’s also good to see that podcasts are on the agenda for major media buyers, but where their focus is likely to be the bigger networks, there’s a whole layer of podcast advertising and sponsorship that is being sold directly.

“The publishers we talk to are typically building their commercial podcasting strategies out from their existing commercial relationships. I think the development of that portfolio approach is really exciting.”

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