Dave Hanley

The ascent of brand advertising continues to propel podcast toward a billion dollars in annual revenue and beyond in the coming years, but that does not mean that the direct response advertisers that have dominated podcasting since its infancy will go extinct. Dave Hanley, Chief Revenue Officer of Libsyn’s AdvertiseCast podcast marketplace, says that the podcast ecosystem is much more vast than the top two thousand shows where brand ads tend to congregate.

“We believe that the good old days are still here in many ways, despite the fact that things look very different within many large networks due to recent acquisitions and content deals,” says Hanley. “But don't be fooled - what is happening at major networks is not rampant across the entire podcast ecosystem. Not all podcast ad placements are more expensive, less organic and lack the magic that they used to have. There is still plenty of magic to go around...you just need to know where to look for it,” he writes in a blog post. And Hanley thinks that reports saying direct response advertisers may be crowded out are “overblown.”

As small and indie podcasters are quick to say, it can be tough to gain advertiser attention if a show is not at the top of the rankers. Hanley says although more than two-thirds of downloads go to shows beyond the top two thousand, much of that content remains “untapped” by advertisers. He sees a ready-made opportunity for those willing to dig deeper. “Those brands who do decide to partner with small and mid-sized podcasts often receive greater value, a larger share of voice and have the opportunity to engage directly with the creators to help craft a powerful message for the audience,” said Hanley.

AdvertiseCast is banking on “micro” market targeting following Libsyn’s acquisition last month of the small podcast-focused Podgo Media. The year-old membership-based platform is focused on shows with fewer than five thousand listeners. Since launching in 2020, Podgo Media has been able to bring some of podcasting’s biggest advertisers to smaller, mostly independently-produced shows. Among its ad roster are brands including Stamps.com, Fanatics, HelloFresh, and NBA Store, among others. Podgo is being integrated into AdvertiseCast as podcasters and advertisers using Podgo will be transitioned to the AdvertiseCast platform. 

“The micro-influencer craze, which has taken off in other digital media channels, is a massive opportunity for enterprising brands in the podcast space who are willing to tread further off the beaten path to forge partnerships with podcast creators,” says Hanley. “As podcasts scale, creators very often have a huge sense of loyalty towards the brands who worked with them early on to support the show.”