Podcasts are a growing medium for practically every topic and genre, no matter how niche. As people spend more time listening to podcasts at home and on the go, brands are experimenting with ways in which to engage this audience. But the unique aspects of how podcasts are delivered and consumed make it both an effective advertising channel and challenging to scale.
- About a quarter of consumers in Canada listen to podcasts at least monthly, led by millennials, who overindex in podcast consumption. These listeners are a committed audience, tuning in to an average of five podcasts weekly, and the majority are likely to listen to the entire episode.
- The podcast ad environment is unlike other digital formats, lacking detailed user metrics. But that’s changing as Apple, whose iTunes is the dominant distribution point for global podcast downloads, made podcast analytics available in late 2017. Now publishers and advertisers have a better view of metrics about listening habits.
- Achieving scale in podcast advertising is another challenge, as podcast producers have historically been independent publishers. But the podcast network model developed in the US is now emerging in Canada, allowing for media buying of audiences across publishers. Dynamic ad insertion into podcasts is also gaining momentum as a complement to the host-read ad model that’s familiar to listeners.
- Brands are also investing in sponsored podcasts, many of which are conceived by the brand itself as a means to attract audiences and round out the content marketing mix. In 2018, several podcasts supported by brands launched their first seasons in Canada.