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Scan a list of the top ad spenders in July and some of the biggest users of the medium aren’t after the Regular Joe. They want the corporate decision-maker. Magellan AI says four of the top ten targeted business leaders including ZipRecruiter, which spent $2.33 million last month on podcasts, alongside Hewlett-Packard ($2.2 million), ExpressVPN ($1.76 million), and Stamps.com ($1.7 million).

“Podcasting has certainly become our bread and butter. But not at the expense of radio,” says Conor Doyle, Senior VP of Strategy & Investment at Veritone One, the performance-based agency that places media buys for ExpressVPN. Doyle says spending on podcasting may not seem like a natural fit for a business-to-business brand, but in reality shows in the Comedy, Society & Culture, and News categories all over-index for people who are employed and work in senior positions inside companies. “There’s no secret why there’s been a lot of B2B advertising in podcasts,” he said. “Podcasting over indexes – it's off the charts. You see that in the makeup of the big spend advertisers that are there.”

One third of Hewlett-Packard’s ads were on Sports podcasts last month. In May, we picked them up on zero shows, in June we picked them up on 531 shows, and in July on 946 shows with commensurate increases in spend during that period of time,” said Magellan co-founder Cameron Hendrix. On webinar he said that three-quarters of H-P ads were placed programmatically with a majority of them midroll ads running 30 to 40 seconds. “The podcast market has changed. It used to be pretty rare a few years ago to see an advertiser come to market with 500 shows because they were able to get a broad distribution,” said Hendrix.

All Audio Is Benefiting

It is not just podcasting that is attracting ad dollars. B2B spending at network radio jumped 12.5% to $31.3 million during the period of Jan. 20 – June 20, from $27.8 million during the same period last year. That’s a 22% gain from $25.7 million in 2019. Among the biggest gainers are Staples (up 121% over 2020 to $5.7 million), Dell Computers (up 44.6% to $5.2 million), Babbel (+ 22.8% to $3.7 million) and Express VPN (+85% to $3.8 million).

“It’s less about a planning piece of research and more about results,” says Doyle. “We are seeing the responses and so that's why our allocations are up.”

The rep firm Katz Radio Group is booking more B2B business in the crowded telecom category. “Comcast, AT&T and T-Mobile are all using radio for B2B,” says Christine Travaglini, President of national sales rep firm Katz Radio Group. “A great example is the Comcast Spotlight campaign, an integrated marketing program powered by local radio across many formats, including promotion, prizing, social media integration and DJ’s serving as brand ambassadors.”

Similar to podcasting, broadcast radio over indexes on employed Americans, especially when compared to television, making it a highly desirable target for recruitment and B2B advertisers. “B2B advertisers choose radio because they know it delivers employed people, business decision-makers and business owners – and drives measurable consumer action, driving lift in web traffic and engagement,” says Travaglini.

Marketers are also employing a wide variety of radio formats similar to how they are using podcasting. Although news/talk radio is often thought of first for B2B advertisers, recent research studies show business decision makers listen to a wide variety of AM/FM formats, including top 40 (33%), rock and classic rock (28% a piece), news/talk (27%) and country 23%.

“There are certain formats that tend to really over index for B2B clients,” says Doyle. “We've seen a lot of news, talk and sports do really well. Certain areas of radio really do well for hitting business decision makers.”