This Week in the Business of Podcasting
Halloween is almost upon us and I’ve got some scarily good research for you this week. Yes, I waited all month to make that joke. Let’s get started.
Track behaviors, trends, and insights: Download Magellan AI’s podcast advertising benchmark report for Q2
Less is More: ARM’s Podcast Ad Break Study
This week from Ad Results Media: ARM has completed a 14 month study of how podcast ads perform based on the number of ads in a commercial break. The analysis takes into account over $80 million in ad spend and compared performance among different buckets of ad counts in an ad break.
Their findings show podcast ads performed best when there were only two ads in a break, scoring 12% better than breaks with 3 or 4 ads. While they found no significant difference between breaks with 3 and 4 ads, once breaks reached 5 ads performance dropped to 46% worse than breaks with 2 ads.
ARM’s findings re-affirm the belief that less is more. The fewer ads a podcast runs, the more attention they’re likely to receive before a listener reaches for the 30 second skip button.
Brand Safety, Programmatic Growth, and DAI Dominance in IAB Report
A new IAB study was published this week, conducted with PwC. The study is built from responses to an in-depth quantitative survey of leading podcast publishers, as well as discussions with industry experts.
Key findings include the majority of podcast advertising is used or brand-building, making up 61% of total ad revenue (a 13% increase in the last two years). Usage of brand safety and suitability measures has nearly doubled year-over-year. 69% of publishers answered “yes” to using podcast ad brand safety and suitability solutions this year, compared to 44% in 2022. Dynamic ad insertion represents more than 90% of podcast ad revenues now, up from 48% in 2019.
For all the progress, there’s still room to grow in podcasting. Programmatic podcast ad revenue, for instance, has grown to five times last year’s total, but still only amounts to 11% of total podcast revenue.
Wondery Podcasts to Air on CTV Channels
This Monday from Digiday: Wondery podcasts are coming to a smart TV near you. The podcasting company is putting shows onto three free ad-supported television (FAST) channels on Amazon’s Freevee, also owned by parent company Amazon.
When they go live on Halloween, the three channels will be the first Freevee channels dedicated to podcast content. Wondery has found success in producing video content of some podcasts on YouTube and is taking that experience into releasing the same content on their own video platform, featuring a mix of animation, on-camera interviews, and animated show artwork accompanying audio clips from popular Wondery properties like Business Wars and Dr. Death.
Freevee will handle monetizing the podcast channels, making Freevee an early example of Wondery further integrating into Amazon’s advertising stack.
Netflix Lightens Ad Load
Back in January, AdExchanger’s Alyssa Boyle tested ad-enabled Netflix with a brand new account. At the time she received an average of four minutes of ads per hour of content. Now Boyle has returned this week with reports of life on Netflix if one comes back after nine months.
After a consistent email campaign from Netflix to re-activate the dead account, Boyle has returned to Netflix and done several hours of testing over multiple shows. Instead of a four minute ad average, Netflix served just 15 to 30 seconds of ads per hour of content. Tests including watching thirty-minute episodes of an animated series, an episode of an hour-long docuseries, and several 45 minute episodes of Netflix’s Is It Cake?
In some cases, less is more with advertising. Discovery Warner Bros. makes a point of limiting how much ad space is available on currently-running exclusive shows to make what little ad space is available all the more valuable. In podcasting we’ve got research like the recent Ad Results Media finding showing just two ads per break have better performance. Sometimes, fewer ads creates a better product, which attracts more subscribers, generating more revenue in the long run.
Industry Insights with Magellan AI
In Q2 2023 average ad loads increased across 11 of the 13 genres highlighted. At the market level average ad loads increased to 5.97%, which is roughly the same as the ad loads in Q2 2022.
Last quarter ad loads increased most in the Society & Culture genre, from 6.21% in Q1 to 7.52% in Q2. Meanwhile we detected the largest Q/Q decease in the True Crime genre, from 8.93% in Q1 to 8.38% in Q2.
Looking to get a handle on podcast advertising metrics? Book a demo with the Magellan AI team.
While they may not be top story material, the articles below from this week are definitely worth your time:
- How Branded Podcasts Might Be One Key To New Listeners by Tom Webster. The potential reach for podcasts about favorite brands is about 106 million Americans 18+, according to The Power of Brands in Podcasts: A Podcast Landscape Study.
- Good Tape, Issue 1 now available. The first issue of a new print industry magazine featuring journalism and cultural criticism of podcasting is now available for order. Readers of The Download can get 10% off with promo code SP10.
- Archives to Earbuds: Podcasts for Cultural Institutions. This coming Monday, Jessica Alpert of Rococo Punch will moderate a panel of experts, hosted by The Podcast Academy and presented by the Leo Baeck Institute.
- Here’s how our top podcasts of the year get listeners to stay by Karen Burgess. Pacific Content takes a look at five branded podcasts that successfully use storytelling to not just perform well as branded content, but as podcasts in general.
- McDonald’s jingle, 20 years later by Alyssa Meyers. A history of the fast food jingle that’s still going strong two decades later, showing the power of well-curated sonic branding.
- YouTube Culture & Trends Report 2023. 55% of respondents watch content that no one else they know watches, indicating the trend of hyper-personalized content is growing. Good news for podcasting!
- CoHost Announces the Launch of its Prefix That Aims to Demystify Podcast Audiences for Brands and Agencies. The new prefix provides both advanced audience demographics and B2B analytics that track what companies are listening to the podcast.