With Podcasting, Audio Door Swings Open Wider To Advertisers.

The continued growth of podcast listenership has not only captured the attention of the broadcast radio industry, but also advertisers. The IAB reports podcast ad revenue soared 86% to $314 million in 2017 with revenue forecast to surge to $659 million by 2020. For those on the sidelines about to jump into the podcast game, experts say it’s a way to capture dollars that may not have gone to radio otherwise.

“There are a lot of brands that are coming into the podcasting space that might not have previously had the budgets to even test radio,” said Hilary Ross, associate director of podcast with the ad agency Veritone One. “We’re finding a lot of brands may have only run on Facebook before or have only run minor social campaigns.” Speaking at the Podcast Movement conference Wednesday in Philadelphia, Ross said in most situations the advertiser has too limited a budget to make much of an impact on AM/FM radio. “Radio is a very expensive media to test into and doesn’t necessarily allow the flexibility for testing like a podcast does,” she added.

That testing is more critical in podcasting than any other audio medium since a marketer isn’t just placing commercials, they’re buying into a podcast’s concept, the host’s persona, and the show’s overall tone. Ross said before a client makes that commitment, they recommend the brand run test live-reads to confirm they fit.

Squarespace has been one of the biggest podcast advertisers in recent years and Brianna Hanan, a brand media strategist for the company, said podcasting can take a leap of faith for clients since it’s one of the few mediums where the brand doesn’t get to curate every touch point. “You have to feel comfortable leaning into the idiosyncrasies of podcasting and giving away some control in communicating your brand message,” Hanan said. But she thinks it’s also essential that marketers give a podcast the “leg room” to do live reads in the most natural way to be effective.

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