Branding investment in podcasting

Branding Investment in Podcasting Doubles, Magnifying Focus on Brand Lift

Looking at the recently released IAB/PwC U.S. Podcast Advertising Revenue Study 2023, I found it notable that brand-focused campaigns are now claiming a clear majority of projected podcast ad revenue this year: 61%. That’s a 13-point gain since 2021. But that understates a much more impressive number when you look at the actual dollar amounts.

The short story is, ad revenue from branding campaigns has very nearly doubled from 2021 to 2023, from $695.4M to $1.389B. On top of the increasing share of investment going to branding,  total ad  revenue for podcasts has grown by 57% to an estimated $2.277B in 2023.

Signal Hill president Jeff Vidler likes to call this an example of “Moore’s Law of Podcasting” holding true, even in a challenging overall ad market.

Brighter Spotlight on Brand Awareness, Consideration and Preference

A major implication is that, “Measurement will focus on how well campaigns build memories to ensure brands are ‘easy to mind and easy to find’,” according to Pierre Bouvard, Chief Insights Officer for Cumulus Media and Westwood One. This shines a brighter light on KPIs like “brand awareness, brand consideration, and brand preference.”

Indeed, we see this trend reflected in Sounds Profitable’s “The Podcast Opportunity” study that we partnered on earlier this year. Podcast ad buyers cited brand awareness as the top driver for buying podcast ads.

Podcast Brand Lift Encourages and Supports Brand Investment 

All of these upper and mid-funnel metrics are well measured with brand lift studies, allowing us to tell advertisers how their podcast campaign affected, and even changed, listeners’ perception of their brand. Looking at the KPIs Pierre mentioned, brand lift can show how podcast listeners who heard the campaign are more aware of, more likely to consider, or are more likely to prefer that brand compared to listeners who didn’t hear it. 

Again, this is consistent with the fact that brand lift was most-selected as the most important podcast ad evaluation criteria in “The Podcast Opportunity.”

I was there when the application of scalable brand lift methods for podcasts helped to usher in participation from major national brands that had previously been watching from the sidelines. Today, brand lift is a mature research method for podcasts, and digital audio in general. This means measurement capacity is here to keep pace with the booming investment in branding campaigns.

This is critical for publishers and brands of all sizes to know and leverage.  It’s particularly important for ad sales teams to be ahead of the curve and ready to activate, as measurement becomes a pre-requisite for winning that brand business. 

Because we know it’s a key growth factor for podcasting, the Signal Hill Insights team is dedicated to making brand lift research accessible to as many brands and publishers as possible. Get in touch. We’d love to help you succeed. 

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