The advertising landscape is constantly evolving. Countless brands are competing for the attention of consumers across a variety of different platforms, and standing out among the clutter has become more essential than ever. Doing so can be a challenge; however, finding new opportunities to engage and, more importantly, connect with consumers can have a profound impact. An up-and-coming platform with notable potential to do just that is podcast advertising. Podcasts have the ability to capture consumers in a specific conversation or category that is relevant to their interests, while podcast advertising enhances that connection with related brands and messaging. Although this form of media tends to have a small reach, its relevancy to consumer interests and ability to be highly targeted make it attractive to both advertisers and consumers.

Podcast advertising is a fairly new member of the audio media mix – it is also one of the fastest-growing. According to eMarketer, the Interactive Advertising Bureau (IAB) and PwC project that the US ad spending on podcasts will more than double podcast from 2017 to 2020 to reach $659 million. However, it is still considered a niche medium in comparison to other more established media platforms. One of the many reasons for the niche nature of podcast advertising when compared to other audio media such as terrestrial or digital radio, is its ability to be uninterrupted. Podcast publishers try to make the ad experience as seamless and enjoyable as possible for consumers that are listening. In contrast to terrestrial and digital radio, the podcast listening experience includes a low ad count, with the ads that do run being relevant to the program’s content. Furthermore, podcast ad creative also differs from that of radio and TV. The majority of ads that run during a podcast are either read by the show’s host, a producer, or other talent. The CEO of podcast network Wondery, Hernan Lopez, commented that “Very few networks allow radio-style, pre-produced commercials on podcasts because they would sound jarring”. The differing nature of podcast ads to radio and TV ads is directly related to the niche, targeted nature of the medium.

When considering podcast advertising, it is important to recognize who the podcast audience is and why they are listening. Podcast consumers in the US skew younger with over 60% of monthly listeners being under the age of 54. This audience also tends to be educated with a higher HHI than average. eMarketer researchers predict that podcast listenership will jump from 73 million US listeners in 2018 to over 79 million by 2020. The podcast audience is growing, and their loyalty to listening is an important reason why. Bryan Moffet, the COO of NPM, says “Podcasting is a very lean-in activity, it’s not a passive medium.” This statement is very telling about the podcast consumer – they want to be immersed in the material that they are listening to. Thus, advertising becomes a part of the experience rather than a disruption.

The future of podcast advertising is promising, given its rapid growth, relevant content, and targeted abilities. In today’s cluttered media landscape, standing out can be difficult for brands and it is important to have targeted, relatable tactics in the media mix. The connection that podcast advertising provides to advertisers and consumers shows the unique ability of this medium to continue to reach and capture the attention of consumers.