The Interactive Advertising Bureau/PwC forecast predicts $678.7 million dollars will be spent by advertisers on podcasts this year. And revenue will top $1 billion in the next two years. But where are those dollars being spent? That’s what the team at Voxnest set out to investigate as it examined which categories of podcasts are capturing the most ad sales among shows that are part of the company’s network.

Voxnest says its review found sports podcasts generate the most revenue with shows in that category capturing 28.8% of podcast ad dollars. “It’s not a huge surprise to see this category at the top of the list,” it says. “Seeing the carryover to podcasting is natural for our sports-obsessed culture.” Marketers are primarily after listeners looking to catch up on the previous night’s action, it seems, with 7am the biggest hour for sports podcast adverting according to the Voxnest analysis. Among sports podcasts the top buyers were Progressive and Uber. 

The broad umbrella Culture category ranked second with 17.1% of ad dollars going to Voxnest shows in that grouping. Its biggest hour is at 8am. The most spots delivered were for Save The Children, Progressive and Uber. 

History ranked third with an 8.8% share of ad dollars. In the history genre, Voxnest says the most popular listening time remains 10pm. The company has said in the past that “late night learning seems to be the name of the game with this category.” Progressive, Geico and AT&T were the biggest ad buyers in the History genre, it said.

Advertisers preferred afternoon commuters for buys on political podcasts. The category, which ranks fourth with a 7.5% share, gets most of its buys in the 5pm hour with Progressive the biggest advertiser in this segment. Voxnest says the political category is one to watch closely during the coming year. “With the increasingly interesting political day-to-day that we live in, this category has shot up in revenue earnings recently. We anticipate the number of ad dollars to only increase as the 2020 presidential election approaches,” it said in a blog post

Rounding out the top five is the Comedy category with a 4.3% share of advertising dollars. That ranking lags somewhat considering Comedy is the most popular show category for 2019. Its biggest hour is 7am with Progressive and Geico leading the way.



Taken together the top five categories represent two-thirds of all advertising placed on podcasts in the U.S. among shows that are part of the Voxnest Audience Network. “It’s also interesting that the top ads don’t vary that much based on category,” its analysis says. “Companies like Progressive and AT&T and Uber are saturating the market regardless of their topic.”

Voxnest says it remains on the outlook for the day when advertisers start being “more selective” about where they are placing their ads. “Since advertising in the podcast world, and dynamic ads in particular, are still quite new, we think this is a testing period for many of the big brands,” it says. “They’re dolling out ad dollars to all the top categories to see what’s successful for them.” As podcasting further matures and marketers become savvier, it expects the industry will see less of a “smattering” of buyers and instead see a focus on the categories that are the most aligned with a brand’s values and attributes.