Radio Executive: Brands Turn To Podcasting


A very high level radio executive says podcast advertising is shifting from direct response to recognizable brands. And, she says, 2019 will be the breakout year for brands.

Cumulus Media’s EVP of Marketing and Westwood One President Suzanne Grimes says 2019 is the “year of the brands” in podcasting. Analyzing recent research and data Grimes says “brands are much more active in podcast advertising than meets the eye.”

The Westwood One insights team analyzed the recent IAB and PwC 2018 podcast revenue report, and combined that information with insights from a MARU/Vision Critical study, and Cumulus’ fifth annual Advertiser Perceptions study of advertiser/agency consideration and usage of podcast advertising. The research found that brand advertisers doubled their spend on podcast advertising in 2018

Grimes says the combination of podcast brand awareness ads and branded content spend doubled from 2017 to 2018. “Direct response podcast spending was only up 22%. Brand advertising represented nearly three-quarters of the entire spend increase in U.S. podcasting and is growing five times faster than direct response. Once dominated by direct response, podcast revenues are nearly split between brand and direct response. In 2016, direct response represented 73% of podcast spend. Brand campaigns made up only 25%. Comparing 2016 to 2018, brand spend grew from 25% to 38%. Branded content rose from 2% to 10%. Direct response’s share of podcast revenues dropped from 73% to 52% from 2016 to 2018. Combined, brand spend represents 48% of 2018 podcast revenues versus direct response at 52%.”

And even though every podcast app has a 30 or 45 second skip button if consumers wish to bypass ads, Grimes says podcast ads are least likely to be skipped versus all other digital/traditional media.

“85% of “Power” podcast listeners, those who listen 5+ hours a week, say they have taken an action after hearing a podcast ad. Given that brand awareness/branded content spend in podcasts is growing at five times the rate of direct response campaigns, 2019 will be the breakout year for podcast brand awareness campaigns.”

Read more from Grimes HERE


  1. This is important news for podcasters everywhere, including me, Dr. Z to know about as we begin monetizing the service we provide for our clients and listeners.

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