With podcast popularity skyrocketing in recent years, it’s never been more important for brands to invest in the medium. Here, Tommy Walters (commercial insights manager, North America and international, Acast) provides his top tips for brands to maximize return on their podcast investments.
This Spring, eMarketer made news by projecting that US podcast ad spend would pass $2bn a year in 2023. That’s a sizable number, and particularly impressive when compared to the US’s $701m ad spend in 2019.
As shown in a research study from Acast and Nielsen, marketers are flocking to podcasts for good reason. Listeners are uniquely engaged while listening to the medium. They rarely skip ads relative to other environments in which they are served ads. A majority of podcast listeners find that podcasts have the appropriate number of ads, more than any other media channel. And they actively support their favorite podcasters by considering and buying the products that they recommend.
A woman podcasts with headphones on
As the global podcast experts, Acast sees everyday how effective podcasts are for our clients and podcasters. While conducting a series of 20 brand lift studies in June 2022 on podcast ads and sponsorships, Acast Intelligence was able to identify six key insights on how to best maximize the effectiveness of podcast advertising.
1.) Podcast ads are universally effective
Podcasts ads work for both products and services, with both types of ads performing the same in both top and bottom funnel metrics. Marketers doubtful that podcasts are a good medium for their specific product can be relieved to know this universally strong performance indicates that podcasts are an effective marketing format regardless of what is being sold.
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2.) Don’t force your branding onto listeners
Ads with five or more brand mentions saw a significant decrease in listeners who were likely to search for more information. This was primarily driven by the fact that listeners viewed the ads as less informative.
Marketers can more effectively use the time an advertisement had been taking to mention their brand name a fifth or sixth time to better describe the product or service that they are offering to listeners.
3.) Male-presenting and female-presenting voices serve different purposes
Ads voiced by a male-presenting voice lead to 16% higher levels of listeners being likely to seek out more information about the ad, while ads voiced by a female-presenting voice lead to 10% higher levels of purchase intent than ads voiced by a male voice.
A male voice drove stronger ad performance when focusing on top funnel metrics like seeking more information while a female voice should be prioritized when looking for success in bottom funnel metrics like purchase intent.
4.) Music moves the needle
Ads with music were viewed as less informative (-14%) but more fun to listen to (+62%) by podcast listeners, driving a lift in both top and bottom funnel performance vs. ads without music. This doesn’t mean that music needs to be forced into every ad, but if brands or marketers are on the fence about music, the data shows higher levels of performance when included.
5.) Sponsorships do not need to be long to be effective
The sponsorships we tested were most effective when between 30 and 45 seconds, leading to +39% lift in purchase consideration vs. 46-60 second sponsorships and +4% lift in purchase consideration vs. 60+ second sponsorships. By keeping sponsorships short and to the point, brands and marketers are respecting listeners’ time and seeing uplift because of this.
6.) More often than not, ads should keep it casual
Ads with a casual tone outperformed those with a more serious tone, particularly in top funnel metrics. While some ads need to be serious, comedy is the 2nd most listened to podcast genre behind only news, and many people are using podcasts to escape from more serious parts of their lives. When in doubt, make the ad fun and you will be rewarded for it.
As podcasts continue to take larger shares of media budgets, following these guidelines can help brands and marketers maximize their return on investment.
If you want to read the full report, click the download link here.