Podcasts Offer Competition For $33 Billion U.S. Streaming Audio Market

Podcasting is one of the fastest-growing mediums in digital right now, nearly doubling its listeners in the last three years, per Pew Research Center. But it is just touching the tip of the iceberg with advertisers in the U.S.

While the format has been embraced by major media brands and independent hobbyists, U.S. advertisers will spend just $200 million on podcasts this year -- a paltry sum when compared to the $33 billion U.S. streaming audio market.

Beyond the handful of direct-response advertisers that dominate the medium, most brands have declined to invest significant budget in it. From their perspective, there simply isn’t enough data to target or measure a podcast advertising buy.

A growing number of podcasting networks are making actionable information available, giving brands unprecedented insight into who listening and how long they’re listening for. By taking advantage of demographic information and advanced metrics like impression per hour, marketers can now target podcast listeners with the same precision they do on Spotify, Pandora and other streaming music services.



Better Data Is Transforming Podcasts As An Advertising Medium

If you’ve spent some time listening to podcasts, you’ve probably noticed that many of them are sponsored by the same brands -- Squarespace, and MailChimp spring immediately to mind.

Without granular audience data, the only way brands could measure performance in the early days of podcasting was by issuing a coupon code for listeners to redeem. Since podcasters can’t collect data on what happens after someone downloads an episode, many struggled to provide advertisers with accurate engagement statistics surrounding how long people listened for and how many ads they consumed.

For large-scale branding plays, advertisers just didn’t have the tools to determine whether their campaigns were successful.

But as new data becomes available, larger brands are getting the opportunity to reap the benefits of the highly intimate podcast advertising format. Already, brands are using podcast network data to see how long streaming listeners are engaging with the content and whether they listened through the ads.

Some podcast apps are using Facebook authentication to generate demographic and geolocation data that can be extrapolated across a show’s entire listenership -- regardless of which platform they are using to access the content. These apps can also tell brands what devices podcast listeners are using, where they came from and what they like to listen to next.

Podcasting Is About To Become A Multibillion Dollar Industry

Over the next several years, the targeting and metrics available in podcasting will only get better. As publishers and networks learn more about their listeners, they’ll be able to offer brands access to granular audience segments across a variety of podcasts.

Just as the modern marketer uses ad networks and programmatic tools to buy users rather than sites, media buyers will soon be in the business of purchasing podcast listeners rather than shows. When this happens, podcasts will claim a larger and larger share of the $33 billion streaming audio pie.



2 comments about "Podcasts Offer Competition For $33 Billion U.S. Streaming Audio Market ".
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  1. Ed Papazian from Media Dynamics Inc, June 1, 2017 at 5:59 p.m.

    Karl, I have read that the annual ad revenues of streaming audio are only about $1.5 billion or so. If that's the case, $200 million spent by advertisers on podcasts is not that far out of line with streaming audio audience it? Just asking, not debating the overall thrust of your piece.

  2. Greg Nemitz from CBS, June 1, 2017 at 6:22 p.m.

    According to SNL Kagan--Streaming audio from PurePlays in 2015 was $1.6 billion with another $1 billion from terrestial streams.  While I think podcasting is a growth business, your $33 billion figure for streaming audio just destroys the premise of this article.  What is the source of this data?    If your number is correct that would mean streaming audio revenue is double the size of terrestial radio revenue.  Maybe someday--not today. 

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