Popularised by titles such as Serial, Stuff You Should Know and Ted Radio Hour, the humble podcast raked in $314m (£235m) in ad spend throughout 2017 in the US, according to new research by the Interactive Advertising Bureau (IAB) and PwC US.
That’s an 86% hike on 2016, while the study forecasts revenues on the channel to hit $659 million by 2020.
Of the self-reported data provided by top podcast companies in the study – including Audioboom, How Stuff Works and ESPN Radio – revenue for 2017 sat at $257m (£192), representing a 117% increase from $119m (£89m) in 2016.
Host-read and 'baked-in'
For two-thirds of ads in 2017, it was host-read ads that were the preferred format for advertisers, the majority bought on a direct response, cost-per-thousand basis (64%), followed by brand awareness ads, among 29%.
In addition, ads integrated or ‘baked-in’ to podcasts were the most popular type of ad delivered in 2017, rising from 44% to 58% year on year.
Of the 14 podcasts measured in the study, just four accounted for more than half of all advertising revenue in 2017, shared across Arts/Entertainment (17%), Technology (15%), News/Politics/Current Events (13%) and Business (11%).
When it comes to the types of advertisers buying placements within podcasts, the IAB found that financial services spend the biggest, taking an 18% share, while direct-to-consumer retailers and arts & entertainment brands represented 16% and 13%.
Commenting, the IAB’s executive vice president of industry initiatives, Anna Bager, said that advertisers are increasingly recognising podcasts as a “powerful platform” to reach and engage with a captive audience.
Meanwhile, PwC US partner, David Silverman, added; “The growing trend toward ‘anywhere and everywhere’ media engagement has created a tremendous opportunity for digital media, of which podcasting is a significant component.
“Whether at home on a smart speaker, at work on a PC, or somewhere in between on a mobile device, more and more Americans are listening while they live, providing a robust podcast platform where advertisers can connect with today’s consumers."