MediaRadar Blog

Podcasting is Growing: What Does that Mean for Advertisers?

Podcasting is Growing: What Does that Mean for Advertisers?

Consumers are changing how they interact with media—what does that mean for advertisers, and how are they responding? MediaRadar is here to help you navigate ad sales with the latest tips and data. 

Podcasting is still one of the youngest forms of media—but that doesn’t mean it’s not a great advertising investment.

The number of podcasts is growing quickly, and people are taking notice. In 2006, only 22 percent of the adult population in the United States knew of podcasting, according to Statista. Last year, that number climbed to 78 percent.

And it’s no surprise—listeners with any niche hobby or learning interest can find something to enjoy.

This is great news for advertisers because it translates to a higher engagement rate, more loyalty between the listener and the podcast host and a less intrusive way to get a brand’s message across.

We’ve been tracking podcasting advertising data since 2020. To give you insights on the state of podcast advertising going into 2022, we’ve pulled together data on:

  • The top podcast advertising categories over the last two years
  • How the top categories have changed since 2020
  • The top ten spending podcast advertisers
  • Podcast ad location and duration trends
  • Shifts we expect to see in 2022

Podcasting is becoming more of a priority for brands. See how your potential clients and their competitors could be investing in podcasting and use these insights to guide your media planning in 2022. 

MediaRadar Blog Signup

Top Podcasting Advertising Trends

As the number of active podcasts and listeners increase, the ad numbers surge. Advertisers spent nearly $590 million on the format last year, which is a 21% increase from the year before.

But even as the ledgers see big changes—the top spending categories are remaining stable.

The only slight shift was between Media and Tech.

Tech advertisers spent 23% more in 2021 than they did in 2020, moving into the top spending category position. 

Finance advertisers increased their spending more than any other category—by 43%. Services also jumped a noticeable 33%.

Podcast Top Categories 2020-21 Chart

Pharma and Retail categories both jumped up by 30%, but their spending is much less than other top categories.

The only major spending category to see a significant drop was Beauty, which decreased by 28%.

Another way to understand these categories’ spending is by looking at how much they make up total podcasing ad spend. 

In 2021, the top categories made up 83% of total 2021 ad buys. The remaining 17% of advertising dollars come from smaller categories.

% of Total Podcast Ad Spend by Industry 2021- Top 20 Industries Chart

Top podcast advertisers in 2021

The following top ten companies account for 15.9% of the overall 2021 spending:

  • Teladoc Health (BetterHelp)
  • Berkshire Hathaway (GEICO)
  • Capital One
  • ZipRecruiter
  • SimpliSafe
  • Comcast
  • Amazon
  • Squarespace
  • Coors
  • Progressive

The data suggests that podcast advertising is effective. Once brands become podcast advertisers, they tend to stay the format. 79% of podcast advertisers from 2020 continued buying in the format in 2021. The top spenders were some of the most steady advertisers, as we’ll see when dig deeper into Q4.

How are podcasts inserting ads into their episodes?

When you are purchasing your ads, you might be curious about how your competitors are behaving. By looking at the data, we can see which placements are most common. 

Podcast Ad Location & Duration 2021 Chart

The bulk of ads (42%) are 30 seconds in length. And most are placed in the middle of the podcast or at the beginning, when they’re less likely to be skipped. The exact breakdown is as follows:

  • 26% of ads are pre-roll 
  • 55% of ads are mid-roll 
  • 19% of ads are post-roll

Quarterly Podcast spend 2020-2021 

In 2021, most of the growth in spending took place in the middle of the year. But this year-over-year growth seems to be related to a mixture of depressed COVID-related spending and a better overall year in 2021. Spending in 2021 was rather stable from Q2 on out. 

Quarterly Podcast Spend 2020-21 Chart

The largest year-over-year increase took place in Q2 2021 and Q3 2021. By Q2 2021, podcast spending had significantly climbed past spending during pre-COVID times. 

Even though big spenders are steady and faithful advertisers, much of this increased spend actually came from a surge in new, smaller brands.

Using Q4 to Shed Light on 2022 Podcast Advertising

Podcast advertising seems to be in a steady state. There were only minor differences between Q4 and the previous time periods in 2021.

Nearly $160 million in Q4 2021. If trends remain similar to those of the last three quarters, we expect to see similar spending in Q1 of 2022.

Top podcast advertisers in Q4 2021

The top ten podcast advertisers spent over $26 million in the last three months of the year.

They top spending brands include:

  • Teladoc Health 
  • Capital One
  • Berkshire Hathaway (GEICO)
  • SimpliSafe
  • Comcast
  • ZipRecruiter
  • Amazon
  • Squarespace
  • Bank of America
  • State Farm

The two differences between the top advertisers in Q4 and the previous quarters were the swapping out of Coors and Progressive for Bank of America and State Farm. Otherwise, the list features the same top spenders.

When it comes to category spending, the top categories looked very similar to earlier in the year. However, beauty continued on its downward spending trend and no longer made the top spending list. 

Public service advertisers contributed more to overall podcast advertising than beauty brands by the end of the year.

For more specifics, check out a brand’s spending profile

Podcast ad spending in the United States on average grows at 19% annually, six percentage points faster than the average digital audio ad expenditure growth rate.

As your brand or your clients seek to understand how you can incorporate podcasting into your media planning mix, check out the advertising profiles of other businesses. 

By dialing in on competitor spending, you can assess how much you need to invest in order to earn more market share. 

You can learn more about podcast advertising by downloading a trend report.

For more updates like this, stay tuned. Subscribe to our blog for more updates.