The Internet Advertising Bureau (IAB) originally expected United States podcast revenue to reach $2 billion in 2023.
Now, it says the industry will cross that figure this year.
A new study from the IAB and PricewaterhouseCoopers (PWC) predicts U.S.-bsaed ad sales on podcasts will “exceed” $2 billion by the end of 2022, will hit $3 billion next year, and will cross $4 billion by 2024.
If the report’s prediction is correct, that means podcast revenue will grow at least 47% from the $1.4 billion they generated in 2021.
The IAB says podcast ad sales continue to grow at a significantly faster pace than the “total internet advertising revenue market.” Digital ads as a whole grew 35% from 2020 to 2021; in the same timeframe, podcast ads went up 72%, having brought in $842.3 million in 2020.
News, comedy, and society & culture podcasts are getting the majority of that ad spend—19%, 13%, and 12%, respectively, in 2021. Sports (11%, up from 5% in 2020) and true crime (10%, up from 7% in 2020) are also biggies.
The IAB and PWC also found that advertisers are running far more of what it calls “dynamically inserted ads,” aka ads that are read live by podcast hosts rather than inserted as pre-recorded, TV commercial-like spots.
Back in 2019, only 48% of ads were host-read, and 52% were pre-recorded, edited-in ad spots. In 2020, host-read ads shot up to 67% of the total. And last year? A full 84% of ads were host-read, and just 16% were spots.
Another trend: Pre-roll ads are creeping up in popularity. 23% of ads run on podcasts in 2019 were pre-rolls. In 2020, they dropped to 22%. In 2021, they jumped to 32%. (No data was provided on what’s happened so far in 2022.)
Also, podcast ads’ average lengths are beginning to stabilize in the 15-to-30-second range. We’ve gone from 38% of ads being 15 to 30 seconds in 2019, to 41% in 2020, to 55% in 2021.
All of this seems to indicate positive things for the continued growth of podcasts (despite what Facebook may think).
“Everything right now is aligned to drive growth,” Chris Bruderle, VP of research and insights at the IAB, told Variety. “There’s more engaging and diverse podcast content than ever, and that is translating into larger, more attractive audiences. But more than anything, podcasting has proven that it can deliver beyond direct-to-consumer advertising to support brand-building and drive business outcomes.”
The IAB and PWC’s study was sponsored by a bevy of industry giants, including SXM Media, AdLarge Media, AdsWizz, Backtracks, Cumulus Podcast Network, iHeartMedia, LAist Studios, Market Enginuity, NPR, Spotify, Slate, and Wondery. It was released ahead of this week’s Podcast Upfronts.
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