Americans are spending more time with digital media, but advertising budgets are still under pressure. Participants in new survey done by the Interactive Advertising Bureau predict podcasting and digital audio will both face lower ad revenue in 2020, compared to a year ago. The survey results estimate podcast ad revenue will decline eight percent in 2020. And revenue for other digital audio services will decease five percent. If the numbers prove accurate, podcasting, digital audio, and digital outdoor advertising would be the only digital media to face year-over-year declines this year. 

The findings are based on a survey conducted Aug. 3-13. The 242 participants were a near 50-50 split of those working on the buy side, such as media buyers and planners, and media sellers, including publishers and programmatic specialists.

The survey results stand in contrast to the IAB’s official forecast. In July, the IAB lowered its earlier 29.6% growth forecast for 2020 to an expected 14.7% increase, saying the podcastindustry would near the $1 billion revenue mark but not likely cross it until 2021.



Overall, the IAB survey participants expect 2020 digital ad spending to increase six percent. That compares to a forecast 30% decline for traditional media channels. In terms of audio, the group projected a 31% year-to-year revenue drop for over-the-air radio. The notable difference between traditional and digital media ad spend is largely driven by what survey participants said was the continuing shifts in video budgets from traditional linear TV to ad-supported online video services.

The IAB says total ad spend in 2020, including both digital and traditional media, is now projected to drop eight percent versus last year’s total, according to the survey participants. 

Even as budgets are moving around, one thing that is clear is consumption. The IAB reports consumers spent ten percent more time with digital media during the five months between March and July compared to a year ago.



What will happen in 2021 is still very much in flux according to ad buyers. Seven in ten said they either did not have any clear indication on what their marketing budgets would be next year – or they were relying on “ballpark estimates” at this point. Just 9% said their outlook was “very clear.” 

Download the survey report HERE