Podcasts are one of the hottest advertising platforms. but not all podcasts are created equal. With 700,000 podcasts and counting in the Apple podcast app, brands have plenty of content to choose from, yet advertisers are putting the bulk of their money in a handful of genres, including news, business and true crime podcasts.
As radio stations look to capture a larger share of podcast ad dollars, you can leverage their core strengths in local news, information, entertainment and investigation to create podcasts and time-shifted on-demand content that align with advertisers’ preferences.
In 2020, podcast advertising spending is expected to hit $836.4 million, up from $497.1 billion in 2018 and $169.1 million in 2016, according to a new forecast by the Interactive Advertising Bureau and PriceWaterhouseCoopers. That’s some seriously impressive growth.
What genres garner the most ad dollars and how can radio cash in?
So what types of podcasts command the most ad dollars? The answers will be music to radio stations’ ears, as the results align closely with many of local radio’s core competencies. If radio stations don’t expertise in a subject area or a qualified host, make use of your deep local ties in the community, as well as your audio production skills, and partner with a local expert or talent and co-create a show.
Here are five areas that are hot with advertisers, and radio stations can pursue as they build out their podcast menus:
News/Current Events and Information
Radio stations are local experts and can create podcasts that dive into local issues. With the 2020 elections around the corner, opportunities abound to talk local, state and regional politics. Advertisers want to reach these information-seeking listeners and, in 2018, this category attracted 18.4% of all podcast ad dollars. In particular, with political and current events podcasts, radio stations can attract significant dollars from both traditional advertisers, as well as candidates and ballot- issue groups.
Podcasts have given comedians a new forum to connect with their audiences, and advertisers are eager to reach these consumers. In 2018, 13.9% of all podcast ad dollars went to comedy podcasts. While radio stations might not have comedy shows on their airwaves or comedians in house, they can get creative to participate in this category. You may have hosts or staff members who moonlight as comics and would like to host a show. Also, you could partner with comedians in your community and produce their podcasts.
In every market, there are stories to be told about the local economy and area businesses. Podcast advertisers are keen to attach their messages to these shows, with business podcasts earning 12.8% of all podcast ad dollars last year. This is a prime real estate for radio to develop locally-focused business podcasts. Stations already have deep ties with businesses who advertise on their airwaves and work with on promotions. Also, news/talk stations can use their expertise covering business and economic issues to spin off podcasts. Stations could also create co-branded podcasts with local businesses or community organizations, such as the Chamber of Commerce.
Audiences and advertisers are clamoring for more true-crime podcasts and, with some creativity, radio stations can play in this space. With already lean staffs, most radio stations do not have investigative reporters on their payroll, but they could partner with local newspapers or TV stations who do have investigative staffers. (You may even have existing partnerships or share owners, which opens up even more opportunities for collaboration.) True crime podcast advertising only accounted for about 9% of podcast advertising last year, but the category boasted the most growth of any genre, jumping 26.4% from 2017 to 2018.
Another growth category, lifestyle podcasts can also spotlight a radio’s stations local ties and insider information. Radio stations can create podcasts on trends in dining, real estate and music, to name a few, and could partner with area businesses to sponsor or co-brand a podcast. Really, a radio station with any format can potentially play in this space. A music station could produce a podcast about local events and concerts, or entertainment guides. You could even create a co-branded podcast with a local eatery or venue.
The bottom line is that audio companies -- including local radio -- are focusing considerable effort and resources towards the emerging podcast industry, but these are still early innings. While advertisers experiment with podcast ad placement, as well as format, radio stations can be their partners by using your expertise in audio production and considerable radio experience to produce the shows that listeners and advertisers want.