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How Podcast Advertising Measures Up

3 minute read | April 2019

The IAB expects podcast advertising to exceed $500 million in 2019, which represents growth of about 65% in just two years. For podcasters looking to attract advertisers, demonstrating proof of performance isn’t just a nice-to-have—it’s quickly becoming a need-to-have. And while download metrics can help advertisers understand which podcasts are popular, they don’t tell brand managers anything about the impact their podcast ads have on customers.

Advertisers of all types are getting serious about podcast advertising. From consumer packaged goods (CPG) brands that enjoy widespread familiarity to upstart services in the constantly evolving tech sector, brand advertisers are experimenting—and ultimately staying—with podcast advertising. Why? Because they’re actively tracking the engagement of podcast listeners and reaping the benefits. In fact, many popular brands with as much as 69% top-of-mind awareness, to lesser-known brands with as little as 17% awareness, are tracking the performance of their podcast ads.

Based on data from nearly 50 custom studies Nielsen has conducted over the last 18 months, podcast advertising has demonstrated that it can move the needle on many important metrics for advertisers. Notably, podcast advertising has been found to increase key metrics like awareness, ad recall, affinity, recommendation and purchase intent.

Unlike other forms of media, host-read spots are very common in the podcast space. And as such, it’s important for brands to understand how well the ads are woven into the content of the program. Based on the studies conducted, Nielsen found that brands and podcasters are doing a good job of incorporating ads into podcast content. Sixty-four percent (64%) of respondents agreed when asked if they think the ad was a good fit with the content of the podcast. This represents a great opportunity for brands to find shows that connect with their target audiences.

Additional Resources


 Nielsen’s branded content testing suite has the ability  to evaluate the advertising effectiveness of brand sponsorships in podcasts. Measurement focuses on three key areas of podcast sponsorships:

  • Purchase funnel metrics like familiarity, recommendation and purchase intent
  • Memorability or recall of the ads
  • Attributes and perception of both the content and advertising

This research has enabled us to develop Podcast Ad Effectiveness benchmarks to provide normative averages to Nielsen’s podcast clients. Nielsen podcast effectiveness benchmarks provide directional guidance for individual campaign effectiveness compared to Nielsen’s averages for unaided recall, aided recall, familiarity, affinity, purchase intent, recommendation intent, brand fit, and content rating.

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