Why podcast advertising is effective

Acast Australia MD Henrik Isaksson
By Acast Australia MD Henrik Isaksson | 12 December 2019
Acast Australia MD Henrik Isaksson

2019 has been a massive year for Australian podcasting.

Roy Morgan figures reveal 1.6 million Aussies are listening to podcasts every month, a 70% increase since 2015 with expectations to grow substantially in 2020.

PwC predicts the Australian podcast market will grow from $5 million in 2018 to an incredible $110 million in 2022, making it the fastest growing medium in Australia at the moment – quite impressive considering it’s been a tough ad market overall this year.

Locally, Acast supports the largest podcast audience share nationally with over 17.2 million listens in November 2020. Our partners such as News Corp, Seven West Media, Network 10, Pacific and Nova Entertainment help add to the audience pie, but we’ve also seen incredible growth with our independent podcasters, including The Osher Gunsberg Podcast and Julia Gillard Does a Podcast With…

More eyeballs and more ad spend are great for the industry, but it also means more scrutiny. Critics will ask, “But what’s the effectiveness of podcast advertising?”. This is a discussion we welcome.

Nielsen data shows podcast advertising delivers 4.4x better brand recall than display ads on other digital media platforms. Beyond this, here are a few reasons why we believe in the effectiveness of podcast advertising:

1) Podcast advertising is targeted
For years we’ve been pioneering truly dynamic ad insertion – and today brands can now use Acast’s live stitching technology for unparalleled targeting and segmentation.

The greatest appeal of this segmentation is being able to target audiences that are hard to reach on traditional channels.

We know, for example, that by generation Australia's most avid podcasters are Millennials and Gen Z who constitute over 40% and 29% of all podcast downloaders respectively.

These audiences have long been touted as the “unreachables” due to the fact that they shy away from traditional media channels and are often adverse to brand content. But podcast advertising reaches them during a media moment where they’re highly engaged and have “opted-in” to the media experience.

As the buying power of Millennial and Gen Z continues to grow, this targeting will help advertisers reach very specific audiences at scale in one of the few mediums where they continue to be highly engaged. Add to this more sophisticated data and reporting and it’s certainly exciting times ahead.

2) Podcast advertising drives preference
Beyond brand recall, our work with Aussie brands shows that podcast advertising is highly effective in driving brand preference – showcasing the medium’s ability to push consumers down the sales funnel from awareness to consideration then purchase.

Our Australian work with a large airline, for example, showed 62% of podcast listeners who were exposed to the campaign (and were likely to fly in the next three months) said they’d choose the advertised airline the next time they travelled, compared to only 20% of non-pod listeners.

These numbers are reflected across other industries such as finance, FMCG and automotive.

Another study by Acast, this time within the Aussie automotive space, revealed 54% of podcast listeners were likely to choose the advertised brand if they were buying a car today, compared to only 20% of non-podcast listeners.

Podcast advertising is moving beyond simply an awareness driving tactic, helping increase effectiveness of the medium for advertisers.

3) Podcast advertising is flexible
Effectiveness of podcast advertising goes hand in hand with its flexibility, both for brands and for content partners.

A ‘host read’ or what some may call sponsorship, for example, is one of the most popular forms of podcast advertising, accounting for approximately two-thirds of all podcast ads. These branded reads are baked seamlessly into a podcast episode, delivered by the host(s) of the show. This type of advertising is successful because of its authenticity, coming directly from the trusted host.

Not all podcasters are comfortable with host reads – some want editorial distance from advertising while others may not be able to directly endorse brands due to their professional and/or public commitments. And that’s totally fine.

We’ve worked with the likes of Andrew Denton to develop an ‘unbranded host read’ ad unit where the host introduces a podcast ad before it plays – heightening the audience’s attention while still allowing the host to not appear in the ad read themselves.

Finally, we also deliver ‘brand recorded ads or airtime ads’. These are audio ad units that are economical and repeatable – best suited to for campaigns with brand lift objectives, as well as direct response campaigns. Some brands really relish the editorial distance or might already be buying other forms of on demand audio which then allows for that same ad to run in literally thousands of podcasts.

With more growth will come more questions about podcast advertising – something we’re all excited to embrace as we move into an ever bigger podcasting year in 2020.

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