An older, male audience; informative news and trusty sports podcasts; baked-in host-read ads—for a long time, this was the podcast space. A reliable, steadily growing platform where loyal listeners tuned in to their favorite hosts, and those hosts endorsed their favorite brands.
But not anymore.
While the above scenarios haven’t necessarily gone away, the recent explosion in podcast popularity has completely reshaped the space—fast-tracking the industry into modern times. Innovation across ad tech, creator tools and ad creative has forced marketers to rethink their podcast advertising strategy.
SXM Media has some major reach, and we checked-in with all 57 million-plus podcast listeners across our owned and operated platforms—Pandora, Stitcher, SiriusXM, AdsWizz and Simplecast—to see just where the industry stood.
How well do you know the current podcast landscape? You can find out more in the newly released 2022 Podcast Trends Report. Until then, let’s play a little game of true or false.
No one likes ads
False, especially regarding new podcast listeners. In fact, listeners who have been listening to podcasts for less than a year are more likely to say the nontraditional, non-host-read ads fit within the podcast environment they are listening to vs. someone who has been listening for 6-plus years.
Our take is two-fold: These listeners entered the space with a variety of ad types, so they probably don’t know any different, and today’s technology (e.g., dynamic ad insertion), increases relevance and decreases disruption, which equals a happier listener.
The podcast space is as diverse as ever
True—in every which way. We are seeing enormous amounts of varying backgrounds, ethnicities, sexualities, lifestyles, etc., now being represented across content and hosts. And in turn, this is pulling in a more diverse listener: One who is female, younger and non-white.
Content is also diversifying. What used to be pretty much news and sports has exploded into thousands of different topics and interests: wrestling, manga, awkward middle school stories, you name it. There’s quite literally a community for everyone.
Podcasts are only for direct response brands
False. While direct response ruled in the early days, ad creative is coming into its own. Formats such as branded content, vignettes and pre-produced ads allow for brands to extend their messaging across podcasts. Imagine: 3D audio, meditative getaways, a cold beer cracking open, whatever your heart desires.
That said, both direct response and brand campaigns are incredibly effective, and can even play off each other in an ideal scenario—a scaled, multifaceted campaign using various ad formats across the entire SXM Media podcast network.
Podcasting is at its peak
Nope. False again. Podcasting has hit critical mass, but we’re just getting started. The potential is wild: more listeners to onboard, creators yet to monetize and advertisers creating never-seen-before campaign formats. The space is drastically shifting, and we’re shifting with it—introducing new ways for listeners, creators, advertisers and publishers to thrive.