When it comes to consumers and their audio habits, podcasting continues to grow. Created in 2004 by Adam Curry and Dave Winer, podcasts are akin to radio talk shows which can be downloaded directly onto your phone, tablet, or computer. Last year, we spoke about how podcast advertising was just getting started. Now, podcasting is projected to become a one billion dollar industry in 2021.


The Podcast Host has recently estimated that 37% of Americans listen to podcasts every month, which adds up to 104 million people. With an infinite number of topics to choose, ranging from business, science, and comedy, all the way to sports, there is a podcast out there for just about everyone to enjoy. With over 100 million Americans downloading and listening on a monthly basis, it is no surprise that brands have gotten more and more involved. Advertising options have been evolving; however, some brands are still figuring out the best way to approach podcasts in their media plans. Here is a recap of how brands can utilize podcasts:


Live Ad Reads

The most basic form of advertisement placement in podcasting comes in the form of live ad reads. The host or speaker of the show will read an ad live on air, in hopes of spreading awareness, or encouraging consumers to go to a specific website to purchase a product or service. In order to track effectiveness, the podcast host will most times have a promo code associated with the product or service they are promoting, allowing the advertiser to know which consumers are taking action as a result of their ad read.



Another means of advertising within the podcast industry comes from sponsorships. These can come in quite a few forms, from the host opening the show by saying “this podcast is presented by *insert product placement here”, to having a certain logo on the thumbnail cover of the podcast itself. Another form of a sponsorship could be in the form of social media posts from the podcast host themselves. The host will make a post (whether it be Twitter, Facebook, Instagram, etc.) that promotes and tags the sponsor’s own account, leading to potentially millions of impressions (depending on the popularity of the host).


Audio Spot

For advertisers who might have a more limited budget, there are media vendors available who can insert a brand’s produced audio spot to run across multiple podcasts – the same spot that might already be used for streaming music or radio buys. This can be a great option if specific geographies need to be targeted, although brands should work with vendors to determine available scale. Just keep in mind that these audio spots may not come across as integrated with the podcast’s content as a live read or sponsorship would be.


Competition in the Podcast Market

The Interactive Advertising Bureau has stated that 67% of consumers find podcast advertising more memorable than other forms, which shows just how effective it can be for brands to reach their audience. With podcast advertising expected to increase by 44% to 1.13 billion dollars in 2021, the industry has become increasingly competitive between conglomerates such as Amazon, Spotify, and Apple. Apple has been the leading podcast platform since 2005, while Spotify and Amazon are now looking to compete. Last May, Spotify paid $100 million (yes, million) in a licensing deal for Joe Rogan’s, The Joe Rogan Experience podcast. Amazon recently announced their own podcast platform, which will be integrated with Amazon Music.


As more and more consumers are turning to podcasts for entertainment, the advertising spent on them will only increase as a result. When planning your audio strategy, consider how podcasts could play a role and how you can best use this medium to connect with your target audience.