Brands Finding New Purchasers on Podcasts

Niraj Sharma |
 07/30/20 |
4 min read

Podcasting has seen steamrolling growth over the last few years. And despite COVID, is looking to still hit sizeable growth for 2020. It has definitely captured brands’ attention, as we see many adjusting their marketing strategies and finding new purchasers on podcasts.

Here we’ll take a peek into the podcasting space to see what is making it so enticing for brands. Specifically, we’ll focus on:

  • The landscape of podcasting and how it’s pushing forward.
  • Listening as the new consumer love.
  • The future of podcasting from a market and consumer standpoint.

And before we get going, here’s a few stats around the podcasting space that might surprise you:

  • 2020 podcast advertising revenue in the U.S. is forecast to rise by 14.7%.
  • In 2019, ad revenue in podcasting hit $708m which was a 48% year over year growth from 2018.
  • By podcast genre, news captured 22% of advertising revenue, while comedy came in second with 17% in 2019.

Podcasting Pushes Forward

Ad revenue generated through podcasting has seen exponential growth year over year. And despite the hiccups of COVID-19, all signs suggest the trend will continue. Back in 2015, ad revenue was a comparatively paltry $105m and then ballooned to $708m just four years later.

Ad revenue is expected to break the $1b threshold in 2021 with a projected 35% increase over 2020 totals. While that seems like an almost crazy number, keep in mind that 2018 and 2019 saw increases of 53% and 48% respectively year over year – so in actuality it seems a little modest, comparatively speaking.

While listeners’ routines where thrown in disarray with the onset of the coronavirus, podcast downloads slowed as they readjusted to a new work/life balance. However, those numbers are back to normal as listeners have settled into their new routines. 

Though advertising continues to be an unsettling investment in other areas (like in-person events), the podcast space is continuing to attract brand dollars.


Just last week, Digiday quoted Ken Lagana, the executive vice president of the broadcasting company, Entercom Communications saying, “not only are we seeing new business come in the door, but we’re seeing renewals and we’re seeing, in some cases, either brands further extending their commitments or adding episodes to commitments.”

Listening as the New Consumer Love

Why do people love podcasts so much? The podcast platform offers flexibility for the intellectually curious that can be consumed in small chunks whenever they have the time – and many people have a good bit of idle time right now. And even those who don’t flock to them: The true crime junkie can listen to the latest episodes of their favorite podcasts while grocery shopping, jogging or maybe doing a little knitting. Podcasts are certainly a multi-tasker’s dream come true.


Professional podcasts offer listeners engaging content coupled with high production values. And new podcasts and series are coming out all the time, such as the recently announced Michelle Obama Podcast set to launch as a Spotify exclusive on July 29th.


Right now, the podcast space is looking like a win-win judging by net sentiment for content creators, advertisers and consumers. Here’s a look in at the podcast conversation over the last three months with 73% positivity and only 4.8% negative sentiment:


And consumers are telling the world how they feel online. Below are the top trending emotions for the same time period showing words such as love, great, favorite and enjoy standing out above the rest.


As podcasts are becoming everyone’s new obsession and getting a lot of consumer love in the process – what does the future look like for brands?

Future of Podcasting 

There’s been a few significant acquisitions in the podcast space the last couple of years by heavy hitters such as Spotify and iHeartMedia. Judging by the New York Times’ announced acquisition of Serial Productions last week, we can likely anticipate more such deals in the future. As ad revenue continues into the stratosphere, brands are looking to increase their assets in the space.

And those brands that are in on the action already are enjoying a healthy dose of positive sentiment in conversation surrounding ad revenue and podcasting.


Speaking of ad revenue, brands monitoring the social conversation around podcasting will definitely want to pay attention to niche blogs as 36.2% of the conversation is happening there; which is almost as loud as Twitter at 38.1%.


This makes sense, as there’s a podcast for every niche, and consumers interested in specific content will be found in well carved out corners of the internet devoted to the topic. And their influencers, to help you reach them, will be found there as well!

Watching for Emerging Trends in Podcasting

Forward looking brands will definitely want to stay focused on the ever-evolving clusters of conversation out on the fringes of the global narrative. Here, we zoomed in on the network map of our podcast advertising analysis. It shows emergent conversations around popular podcasts/episodes, new launches and the recent LiveXLive acquisition of PodcastOne earlier this month.


The exciting thing about the future of podcasting for brands is the nearly limitless advertising opportunities available thanks to the sheer diversity of podcast topics. And new ones are launching every day.

Not only that, consumers have an almost relational attachment to their podcasts and the feeling of community that they inspire. And listeners understand that their favorite podcasts not only survive, but produce better content through the relationship with the brands that advertise with them. Which means brands get their advertisements to a sympathetic audience that isn’t resentful of them and are glad to lend support via purchases.

While the podcast market is ripe for brand opportunities, brands keeping tabs on emerging trends with next generation artificial intelligence (AI) will beat the competition to this audience. Make sure your brand’s voice gets heard on the next big podcast series. And reach out for a demo so we can show you how!

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