outlook2020

As more big brands are expected to follow Procter & Gamble’s lead and return to broadcast radio, podcasters too are likely to benefit from growing advertiser interest in the coming year, according to Pierre Bouvard. “2020 will be another big year for podcasting,” predicts the Chief Insights Officer at Cumulus Media and Westwood One.

Even though broadcast radio revenue could see bigger gains in terms of sheer dollar growth, on a percent basis podcasting’s rate of increase is all but certain to be larger in 2020. Edison Research said last year that 32% of Americans consumed podcasts on a monthly basis, and Bouvard said in a blog post that if the same growth rate continues, it will push the monthly reach of podcasts to nearly four-in-ten Americans.

Bouvard expects the coming months to bring several advancements for podcasters, noting there have been several major developments in podcast audience measurement in recent months. That includes the launch of several services that not only monitor which shows people listen to, but also audience purchases and shopping behaviors. And like broadcast radio, there’s a greater emphasis on attribution with five companies – Chartable, Barometric, Podsights, LeadsRx and AnalyticOwl – measuring which podcast ads drive online search and advertiser site visits.

The parade of marketers heading toward audio is being led by Procter & Gamble, who by one tally nearly doubled the number of commercials it ran on national radio in 2019.“We followed consumers and where they are spending their time,” Chief Brand Officer Marc Pritchard explained on the latest episode of the Math & Magic: Stories from the Frontiers of Marketing podcast. As the top spender in the U.S. across all media, the moves by P&G are rippling through marketing circles and pushing others to give radio a fresh look. Bouvard believes pharmaceutical companies are also giving audio campaigns another look for 2020 in order to “complement and supplement” their television campaigns, a move that could be significant based on the billions of dollars spent each year to market drugs in the U.S.

Podcast revenue has to date largely been driven by ad spending from direct-to-consumer marketing. While those brands have embraced on-demand audio, Bouvard said many are now getting priced out of Google and Facebook as cost per acquisition costs soar. He says the cost per acquisition for a $100-dollar product was $15 to $20 three or four years ago. Now it’s $40 to $50 to acquire that customer. Bouvard thinks that could open the door to another form of audio advertising: broadcast radio. “Given this paid social inflation, brands are turning to AM/FM radio realizing that it can drive both sales and build a DTC brand,” he said.

One podcast wild card for 2020 could be innovation scenarios, like Facebook launching an audio product that makes it possible to share and consume audio content into a news feed. Bouvard also thinks there are steps Google could take to make audio a bigger component of voice and text search while also making it easier for users of Android devices to discover and listen to podcasts.