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Podcasting is an Ad Bargain, Retail Media’s Audio Future, & More

Podcasting is an Ad Bargain, Retail Media’s Audio Future, & More

April 5, 2024

This Week in the Business of Podcasting

What a week for data! New reports, new coverage, and podcasting continues its steady growth. As those of us in the path of totality begin our eclipse plans (I’m making cookies), let’s spend the weekend reflecting on the news.

Transparency. Performance. Automation.

The Ad Bargain of Podcasting.

This Thursday from Tom Webster: The latest study from Sounds Profitable, The Ad Bargain, is now available. The study gets its name from the inherent deal that an audience makes with ad-supported media: the media provides entertainment that person wants, and in return they will give advertising some attention (within reason).

One big finding in the study is that less saturation equals more attention. As last year’s study found, podcast listeners are less inundated with advertising than other forms of media. They’re also more likely to subscribe to premium ad-free services, consume less broadcast radio and TV, and the actual podcasts themselves are not saturated with advertising. Respondents to The Ad Bargain score podcasting highest in agreement with the statement “I am willing to consider products and services after I learn about them on this media.” 71% chose podcasts, while TikTok took second place with 70% and both YouTube and Instagram tie for third place with 69%.

Statistically that might not be a large gap between podcasting and the next three options, but the gap does open up when comparing podcasting to network or cable TV (60%) or AM/FM radio (52%). And the advertisements podcast audiences encounter are working. When asked how likely they would be to purchase a product or service advertised on a given medium, 46% of TV users marked they were either very or somewhat likely. YouTube scored 49% on the same prompt, while podcasting takes the lead with 53%. A quote from Tom Webster:

“There is something else to note about this graph: in an era where people will tell you that they skip ads, find them annoying, and avoid them at all costs, a majority of podcast listeners told us that they bought something because of a podcast ad. In other words, they told us that ads work on them, whatever else they may think.”

Webster’s article ends with advice on how to answer buyers when they ask why podcast ads work. While there is something to be said for host relationships with audiences, sound quality, and any other number of details unique to podcasting, the data shows the most important part of the podcast advertising story is the audience. Their commitment and engagement with the medium is what fuels the ad bargain of podcasting.

The Joe Rogan Experience Boosts Gary Clark Jr.’s New Album

Last Wednesday from Todd Spangler at Variety: Grammy-winning blues guitarist and singer Gary Clark Jr. appeared on the Friday, March 22nd episode of The Joe Rogan Experience. Clark Jr.’s episode made JRE history as he became the first musician to guest on the show and perform a song live in studio, debuting a track from the new album JPEG RAW. In addition to the first performance in the JRE studio, Clark Jr. timed the release of JPEG RAW to the same day as the Rogan episode airing.

The exposure increase from appearing on Joe Rogan’s show has been around long enough to have been documented multiple times, both before and during his Spotify exclusivity, but Clark Jr.’s music is one of the first to get the “Rogan bump” since his return to YouTube. Between JPEG RAW’s release and Rogan fans, Gary Clark Jr.’s Spotify presence saw a 150% global increase in streams within the 72 hour period following his JRE episode debut. When narrowed down to fans of JRE who also listen to Gary Clark Jr., Spotify says the amount of streams increased 500% in that same three day period.

While JRE’s size makes it a particularly extreme demonstration of the effect, it still stands as a reminder of how powerful podcasting can be at mobilizing audiences.

Audio and Retail Media’s Growing Symbiotic Relationship.

Last Wednesday from The Current’s Travis Clark: Industry experts interviewed by The Current agree that retail media networks could be a driver for programmatic audio as the next essential advertising channel.

Currently, retail media networks and audio platforms are beginning to find a symbiotic relationship. CTV (connected television) might be the current frontrunner for retail media, but A Million Ads global CRO Paul Kelly says audio enables retailers to deliver an audience-centric experience, focusing not just on who the audience is but also where they are in the life cycle of the purchase.

Meanwhile companies like iHeartMedia bring brands into the audio world with bespoke branded podcasts that they produce while the brand retains the intellectual property. Steven Kritzman, SVP of sales at SiriusXM Media, believes retail media networks getting serious about using first-party data is a big opportunity for audio as an industry. After all, podcasting is largely built on first party data and good targeting.

Advertisers Sue Meta for Allegedly Inflating Ad Viewership

Last Friday from Nicola Agius at Search Engine Land: Advertisers who have worked with Instagram and Facebook have filed a $7 billion lawsuit against parent company Meta in San Francisco. The suit alleges Meta exaggerated viewership figures on advertisements by up to 400%, leading advertisers to pay inflated premiums on Meta-owned platforms.

A core premise of the lawsuit is the idea that Meta uses a metric called “potential reach” when determining advertising costs, which takes into account the total number of social media accounts rather than individual users. Plaintiffs argue Potential Reach could easily include bots or fake accounts that inflate numbers.

Meta denies the allegations and says Potential Reach is not used for pricing. The suit was originally filed in 2018 but recently the 8th U.S. Circuit Court of Appeals has said the case can continue forward in legal action against Meta for monetary damages.

Regardless of how the case turns out, it’s a reminder that in the current advertising ecosystem, walled garden metrics are not held to the same standard as open metrics (like, for example, podcasting).

Over Half of U.S. TV Watchers Have Cut the Cord

Last Friday from Ryan Barwick at Marketing Brew: According to the Video Advertising Bureau’s March report, the amount of people who have either never signed up for a traditional paid television service (or have canceled said service) reached 54%, up from 49% back in 2022.

In response, streaming watch-time is up, now accounting for a 38% share of monthly TV time with respondents. More than 75% of streaming audiences use at least one ad-supported streaming service. Another 73% say they’ve watched free ad-supported streaming TV (also known as FAST), a notable increase from the 53% reported in 2022.

Streaming video is also proving to be popular with younger demographics, as eMarketer’s February 2024 forecast predicts that 97.3% of U.S. digital video viewers under the age of 12 will use YouTube this year.

The more people go cordless, the more they’ll funnel into services like Prime Video or YouTube. Places that happen to have healthy catalogs of video podcast content ready to add podcasting into their viewing hours.

Quick Hits

While they may not be top story material, the articles below from this week are definitely worth your time: