| 12 February, 2019

Why are Podcast Ads So Effective?


More Americans are tuning into podcasts than ever before. In 2018, almost half of all Americans ages 12 and up said they had listened to one. But it’s not just the podcast content that’s making an impression — people are listening to, and internalizing, the ads as well.

80% of listeners stick around for the majority of a podcast, if not all of it. And a series of studies by Nielsen showed that ads on podcasts are more effective than traditional display ads, prompting up to 4.4 times better brand recall.

But why exactly are podcast ads so effective? As big podcast listeners ourselves, we have a few theories. 

They meet consumers where they are — and go with them.

In our increasingly busy and mobile world, many people are spending more time absorbing content via their smartphones on the go and less time parked on the couch in front of the TV. By embedding an ad into a podcast, the ad can tag along with the consumer while they run errands, drive the kids to school, or go for a jog.

The hosts have earned our trust.

After listening to a favorite podcast on a regular basis, it’s easy for consumers to feel like they truly know the hosts. The tone of most podcasts is chatty and informal, which fosters a sense of intimacy. And in most cases, the podcast ads are read by the hosts themselves, making them feel more authentic and genuine. It’s not an anonymous talking head telling you to buy the coolest new brand of socks — it’s your pal PJ from Reply All!

Listeners invite the ads in.

Unlike traditional radio, consumers make a conscious and active decision to download and listen to specific podcasts. This is not the type of medium that people are using for background noise; the podcast audience tends to be one full of active listeners. When a listener chooses a podcast, they are making a choice to invite the ads in as well. And many podcast hosts reward this choice with engaging ad content, which brings me to my next point... 

The ads tell their own stories.

It's not uncommon for podcast hosts to inject their own personalities and content into their ad reads. Beyond just covering the required ad copy, many hosts often discuss their experiences with the product, and by extension, their personal lives. An ad for a suitcase turns into an anecdote about their most recent vacation. And for a consumer who feels like the host is a trusted friend, this glimpse into their daily lives can mean the difference between an ad that is merely tolerated and an ad that is eagerly anticipated. In some cases, hosts will use their ads to tell personal stories that span multiple episodes, enticing listeners to come back not just for the podcast but for the ads. (Sounds like these advertisers and hosts are applying the principles of content marketing!)

Ad blockers don’t touch them.

Yep, that’s right. Podcast ads can’t be blotted out by ad-blocking software, which is projected to cost publishers $35 billion by 2020. Podcasting is still a relatively new frontier, so perhaps someone will invent a podcast ad-blocker eventually, but if ad content stays this engaging and entertaining, they won't have to. 

Thinking about expanding your advertising horizons and exploring the podcast realm? Drop us a line — we’d love to help!

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