Ad spend triples as media agencies back podcasts

Pippa Chambers
By Pippa Chambers | 22 February 2018

Podcast fanfare has shifted media buyer behaviour as agencies act on the trend and triple spend in audio streaming advertising.

According to the latest IAB Australia’s Audio Advertising State of the Nation research, the number of media agencies using podcast advertising regularly has nearly tripled in the last year.

Interest in podcasts rapidly swelled last year as publishers, brands and radio networks jumped into podcasting with both feet. From monetisation advancements, such as dynamic ad insertion, to creating bespoke sponsored podcasts, the hype has been at an all time high for some time.

New research shows that two thirds of Australian media agencies are now regularly buying streaming audio. The stats have shifted from 5% buying audio ads in December 2016 to 14% in December 2017.

A further seven in 10 agencies are either experimenting with, or looking to experiment with podcasts this year.

CEO of IAB Australia Vijay Solanki says the emergence of new audio advertising options is invigorating the whole audio market with media buyers increasing their usage of all forms; broadcast, digital, streaming and podcasts over the last year.

In addition, three quarters of agencies are now planning their broadcast radio and streaming audio advertising activity side by side. 

“With 13.6 million Australians streaming audio content on their digital device in December 2017, it follows that the buying community is continuing to increase investment in streaming ad opportunities,” Solanki says.

“With the explosion of podcasting at both content and consumer levels, I expect to see more brands stepping in, but the opportunity is in brand integration and not spots and dots.

“It’s also good to see integration of audio happening as agencies have been asking for that for over a year.”

A sound investment?

In the US, podcasting ad revenues are expected to reach over $220 million in 2017, an 85% increase from 2016. Solanki says this growth trajectory is expected to follow in the Australian market with research revealing that agencies are looking to trial different forms of podcasting advertising in 2018; with many looking at integrated native options and bespoke podcasts for brands.

Southern Cross Austereo's head of digital innovation and operations, Steve Brown, says the research supports the activity SCA is seeing with clients embracing online, streaming, podcasting and digital radio audiences, in-line with increasing appetite for broadcast inventory.

“It is very pleasing to see that audio in all its forms is continuing to grow strongly in buyer interest, audience and revenue when other mediums are under pressure,” Brown says.

Although agencies are embracing streaming and podcasting, the research says they are less certain about their plans to help clients with voice marketing in 2018. Just 13% of agencies are currently working on voice strategies and over half are unsure of their plans for voice marketing in 2018.

In July last year voice-operated connected device Google Home hit the Australian market with Netflix and Stan integrations – as well as news services such as Fox Sports, ABC News, The Australian, Huffington Post, TechCrunch and Sky News.

In January this year Amazon followed with Amazon Alexa. Media companies such as SBS, News Corp, REA, Ten News, Sky News and Fox Sports got on board with the new voice-based interaction platform, which rivals Google Home.

IAB Australia director of research Gai Le Roy says: “Consumer usage of voice-assisted technology and devices will take off in 2018 and while marketers are reviewing their opportunities in this space carefully, media agencies need to quickly assess their role and approach to voice marketing on behalf of their clients.

“Expect to see measurement improve as new guidelines from IAB US come into play in the next 12 months.”

The research for this latest IAB report was was co-ordinated by the IAB Audio Council with representatives of broadcasters, streaming services, creative agencies and tech companies. It was conducted by independent research company Hoop Group and canvassed information on the experiences and opinions of over 150 media agency executives and marketers. The research is available for IAB members and can be downloaded here.

Want more?

See: Smart speakers, podcasts and branded audio – radio predictions 2018

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