Podcast ad revenue set for double-digit growth in 2024, IAB finds

In 2023, the trajectory of podcast advertising revenue saw a notable shift. After experiencing consecutive years of robust double-digit growth, the industry encountered a slowdown, with revenues increasing by a modest 5% to $1.9 billion, as per the findings of the eighth annual IAB U.S. Podcast Advertising Revenue Study. 

The slower growth in 2023 was largely attributed to the challenging advertising climate, which particularly affected mid-tier companies. These companies experienced losses that tempered the overall growth trajectory of the industry. Despite this setback, industry experts remain optimistic about the future.

Chris Bruderle, VP of Industry Insights & Content Strategy at IAB, noted, “While a few of the largest podcast companies maintained double-digit growth, mid-tier companies hit a speed bump. But revenue is already bouncing back.”

Looking ahead, podcasting is poised to return to double-digit growth, with a projected 12% increase in revenue, surpassing $2 billion this year and nearing $2.6 billion by 2026. Publishers are expected to drive this growth through various initiatives, including improved measurement techniques, programmatic advertising, live events, aggressive show promotion, and the continued development of video podcasts.

One notable trend is the rise of comedy podcasts, which have seen a significant increase in revenue share over the past two years. Fueled by shows from notable comedic personalities, comedy has become one of the most-listened-to podcast genres, overtaking news and sports. In Q4 2023 alone, comedy gained nearly 300 new advertisers, highlighting its appeal to both creators and advertisers.

Sports remains the second most popular content genre, although its revenue share saw a slight decline from 15% to 13% since 2022. David Cohen, CEO of IAB, commented on the enduring appeal of comedy and sports podcasts, stating, “Between comedy and sports, consumers are using podcasts to be entertained and delighted – which provides a sanctuary from other serious headlines playing out across the nation and the world. It’s where the greatest engagement and subsequent ad dollars are.”

Furthermore, the study indicates that CPG and retail brands have seen steady growth in podcast advertising revenue, with increases of 4% and 5% respectively since 2022. Advertisers are increasingly drawn to digital platforms like podcasting, which offer direct connections with consumers and opportunities for targeted advertising.

The diverse range of subjects covered in podcasts, coupled with the intimate rapport between podcasters and their listeners, continues to make the medium attractive to advertisers seeking to reach niche audiences. Over a quarter of podcasting revenues were attributed to categories such as government, non-profit, pets, and home, which although individually small, offer highly targeted advertising opportunities.

David Cohen emphasized the unique strengths of podcast advertising, stating, “Podcasts deliver at scale, can pinpoint niche audiences, and have the power to build authentic connections with consumers.” As audience measurement in podcasting becomes more aligned with other digital channels, the industry is poised for further growth.

Written by Maya Robertson


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