Research Briefing: Ad buyers aren’t spending a large portion of their budgets on podcast ads

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Welcome to the Digiday+ Research Briefing, your weekly curation of media and marketing research insights. Digiday+ members have access to the research below. 

In this edition, we share focal points from Digiday’s recently released reports on podcast advertising and how brands are preparing for the death of the third-party cookie.

While interest and enthusiasm for reaching new audiences with podcast advertising may be gaining traction, actual budget allocation for podcast ads is lagging, according to a newly released report from Digiday+ Research, in partnership with Sounds Profitable.

To gain a better understanding of podcast advertising’s future, Digiday and Sounds Profitable conducted an in-depth analysis of advertisers’ current podcast ad budgets and ad strategies to ascertain whether real-world spending tracks with expert predictions for growth and overall optimism about podcast ad spending. Survey results found that the majority (67%) of advertisers who said they currently purchase podcast ads currently devote 24% or less of their media spend to podcasts.

The lack of confidence in going all-in — or just more in — on podcast ads as a budget segment is likely due at least in part to overall ad spend slowing down as advertisers’ scrutinize their budgets amid rising interest rates, inflation and overall uncertainty around the economy — and consumer spending.

Key findings:

  • More than one-third (36%) of advertisers who said they currently purchase podcast ads currently spend between 10% and 19% of their budgets on podcast ads. Only 5% of respondents said they allocate more than 75% of their media spend to podcast ads.
  • Lack of demand from agency clients and brands, along with budgetary considerations, are the main challenges facing the podcast ad market. Among respondents who have never bought podcast ads, more than one-third (37%) said “no demand from client brands or my own brand” was the main reason they had never bought podcast ads. Twenty-seven percent said “no room in the budget” was their top barrier to purchase.

Read full report

In May, Google announced that it will phase out third-party cookies for 1% of Chrome users globally in the first quarter of 2024. And despite plenty of warning, it’s still not clear what will replace the data tracking technology. Publishers, for example, are testing universal identifiers like UID 2.0 and RampID as alternatives, but a handful of U.S. publishers say they are feeling fatigued at having to test each and every universal ID. Many publishers would prefer to use their own first-party data offerings as much as possible. And for brands, the majority of whom say they are taking action to prepare for the post-cookie world, the way forward could very well be first-party data. That’s according to a Digiday+ Research survey of more than 30 brand professionals.

Key findings:

  • More than two-thirds of brand pros (69%) said in Q2 2023 that they’re investing in technology to acquire more first-party data, a slight increase from the still significant 65% who said the same a year ago. This makes first-party data the clear winner among brands when it comes to what exactly will replace the third-party cookie.
  • Nearly three-quarters of brand pros (72%) agree somewhat or strongly that their businesses are actively preparing for the third-party cookie to go away. That’s a significant jump from 2021, when around half (56% in Q1 2021 and 51% in Q3 2021) said they were actively preparing and again from Q2 2022, when 61% said the same.

Read full report

See research from all Digiday Media Brands:

Digiday+ Research

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Modern Retail+ Research

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