WWO 220

While the number of advertisers considering podcast advertising is holding steady, discussion about podcast advertising and actual usage has increased significantly. This comes from a new Advertiser Perceptions study, commissioned by Westwood One, to be released in full on Wednesday at the IAB Podcast Upfront 2019 in New York.

In its third year, Westwood One’s podcast report examines the podcast listener profile, content preferences, platform usage and listening trends. It also covers what listeners think of podcast ads—for the Upfront’s one-day marketplace for advertisers and media buyers to preview the latest in podcast programming from some of the biggest names in digital audio.

The report is essential reading for all podcast stakeholders, including those advertisers and agencies, stresses Pierre Bouvard, Chief Insights Officer at Cumulus/Westwood One in the “Everyone’s Listening” blog. “In September 2015, when the first IAB Podcast Upfront was held, Westwood One commissioned Advertiser Perceptions to survey agencies and marketers about podcast advertising,” Bouvard says. “Each year since, Westwood One has continued to track brand and agency podcast sentiment with Advertiser Perceptions.” In May 2019, the latest survey of 302 agencies and marketers was conducted.

Back to the data: The latest survey shows that 75% of advertisers and marketers are discussing the potential of podcast advertising, up from 70% in May 2018 and, more significantly, up from 41% when the first survey was administered in September 2015.

Podcast advertising is also increasing at a steady clip: Some 39% of agencies and marketers are currently advertising in podcasts, up from 32% in May 2018. Podcast advertising today is over 2.5 times greater than it was in September 2015.

“The audio industry continues to innovate in response to consumer needs, habits and preferences,” says Frank Papsadore, Executive VP of Marketing of Advertiser Perceptions “Podcast growth is a clear-cut example. Add to their wide range of topics, new media superstars, and provocative, unedited content – the unprecedented growth of new listening platforms like smart speakers – and it’s clear that an entertainment revolution is well underway.”

Suzanne Grimes, Executive VP Marketing, for Cumulus and President, Westwood One, adds that podcast advertising “is clearly accelerating as a significant audio channel.” Last year, the growth of brand spend was five times that of direct response, she notes. This year, brand investment in podcasting will surpass direct response. “Versus prior years, the Advertiser Perceptions data shows that brand conversations about podcasting are more likely to result in actual investment.”