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Spotify Video Goes Wide, New Podcast Ad Study, & More

Spotify Video Goes Wide, New Podcast Ad Study, & More

June 14, 2024

This Week in the Business of Podcasting

Good morning from sunny Indiana. This week’s news contains quit a bit of research and re-framing existing assumptions about advertising, so get those re-thinking caps ready. Let’s get started!

Transparency. Performance. Automation.

Ad Nauseam: Frequency, Repetition, and Consumer Perceptions of Podcast Advertising

This Wednesday Sounds Profitable debuted their latest research, conducted with Signal Hill Insights. The study, titled Ad Nauseam, surveyed 1,011 weekly podcast listeners to gauge how they react to podcast ads.

When consumers enjoy ads, they’re effective. 58% of respondents say they discovered a product or service they liked through a podcast ad, and 45% say they made a purchase because of a podcast ad. When asked how they reacted to ads in the last podcast episode they listened to, 68% of respondents listened to at least some of them. 51% find hearing the same ad more than once in a single episode annoying or strongly dislike it.

When it comes to skipping podcast ads, 46% of listeners say they ‘always or often’ skip ads on podcasts. In the webinar debuting Ad Nauseam, Tom Webster notes that there is a tendency for survey respondents to exaggerate their actual behavior when asked such questions as a hypothetical. This is demonstrated by a follow-up question asking respondents to think of the last podcast episode they listened to that had ads, and to select how they reacted to those ads. When associating the answer with a specific, lived experience, the numbers changed noticeably. 68% of respondents listened to the ads, with only 27% reporting they skipped or ignored the ads.

The study found listeners don’t find interesting, funny, or novel ads fatiguing. They do find a lack of variety in form and repetition of the same brand/message tiresome. In the words of Tom Webster during the study’s debut webinar: “Podcast listeners don’t skip ads, they skip crap.”

The Hidden Podcast Audience: The Side-Hustler by Paul Riismandel

This Tuesday from Paul Riismandel at Signal Hill Insights: In recent years SHI has found more business-to-business and general advertisers aiming to connect with small business owners (SBOs). In the process of doing background research to determine the most relevant research design, SHI discovered conventional ideas about what ‘counts’ as an SBO are being challenged by contemporary realities. When SBOs are discussed, they commonly call to mind visions of small restaurants, retail stores, or landscaping. But what about rideshare service drivers, AirBnB hosts, or people selling goods on third party marketplaces like Amazon and Etsy?

“Depending on how revenue scales, many of these side hustles are, or close to becoming, full-blown small businesses. The U.S. Small Business Administration only defines a small business by maximum, not minimum, revenue, and the Census Bureau reports 54% have fewer than one employee. There’s a strong case to be made that side hustles qualify.”

With that in mind, the ‘side hustle’ owner’s relationship with podcasting is a good one for advertisers to consider. According to the Spring 2024 Podcast Download, conducted by SHI and Cumulus Media, 43% of weekly podcast consumers have a side hustle to supplement their primary job’s income. If filtered down to younger participants in the 18-34 demographic, that number jumps to 60%. Men, heavy podcast consumers, and active video podcast watchers also over-index in comparison to the overall podcast audience when it comes to having a gig on the side.

Riismandel presents this information with the perspective that podcasts are clearly reaching a strong audience of younger entrepreneurs and small business owners at the early stages of running their business. Brands looking to get their products in front of ‘traditional’ business owners have a new niche to consider. As Riismandel says: even if someone’s side hustle doesn’t need business insurance today, one would still want their brand to be top-of-mind the minute they do need business insurance.

Advertisers Are Misinformed About The Ad Industry’s Misinformation Problem by Anthony Vargas

This Wednesday from Anthony Vargas at AdExchanger: Since 2019 a group of researchers from Carnegie Mellon and Stanford have been looking into how ads are served to sites that publish misleading stories, propaganda, or conspiracy theories. In addition, the group looks into whether advertisers accurately understand the issue of misinformation and advertising’s role. The study is built from data analysis of over 9 million ads placed on 5,485 websites by 42,595 unique advertisers. This includes over 1,200 sites that industry watchdog organizations like NewsGuard and Global Disinformation had labeled as publishing misinformation.

According to their report, between 2019 and 2021, two-thirds of advertisers bought ads on sites that had been previously flagged by watchdogs. In a follow-up survey, the researchers found only 20% of advertising executives from those companies believed their company had purchased such inventory.

The report calls this a sense of “false uniqueness.” Advertisers tend to be aware that monetizing misinformation is a problem, but there’s a common perception that it’s a problem because other brands are buying the ads. Not their own company.

When it comes to potential solutions, the researchers propose several options, including industry wide disclosures of whos ads appear on shady sites, or public rankings based on how effectively brands avoid misinformation sites.

Spotify Video Uploads Go Wide

This Monday from James Cridland at Podnews: Back in June of 2023, Spotify debuted the ability for podcasts not hosted on Spotify for Podcasters (formerly known as Anchor) to upload video episodes. Cridland reports the feature is now more widely available thanks to a partial roll-out of the feature last week, which now includes several podcasts under the Podnews umbrella.

Much like YouTube video, the system does not use RSS. Video podcasts are hosted on Spotify servers, so all analytics will live within Spotify dashboards with nothing reporting back to a podcast host. Of course, host-reliant features like dynamic ad insertion also will not work.

Cridland conducted a test of uploading a video version of a Podnews Weekly Review episode in which he edited the introductory jingle to add a phrase denoting one is listening to the audio of a video version. After uploading, nobody involved with Podnews could get the non-video version of the audio to play, even if listening to the podcast purely as audio. Thus indicating that if one does upload video versions of podcast, Spotify’s player will default to using the video’s audio, even if RSS audio exists.

Podscribe Index: May 2024

Purchase Rate by Genre, May 2024

In our latest Podscribe Index, notable changes in purchase rates have emerged from April to May. The Business and TV/Film genres continue to lead, with Business seeing an 8% increase and TV/Film observing a significant 22% rise in purchase rates. The Science genre was replaced by Government this month, which experienced a remarkable 44% MoM increase. Additionally, True Crime reentered the top rankings with a 39% boost in purchase rates.

Quick Hits

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