Podcasting is red hot in the audio space right now. With over half a million English-language podcasts already in distribution and 20% of US adults now listening to at least one podcast per week, there’s enough scale to catch marketers’ attention and ad dollars. According to eMarketers’ latest forecast, monetization is starting to pick up with a doubling of podcast ad rev predicted from 2017-2020. Despite this momentum podcasting revenue will still only command about 3% of the US’s $20B+ broadcast/streaming audio market by 2020.
So why isn’t podcasting’s revenue growing as fast as consumption is? Part of the problem is that many podcasts are still downloaded or cached up front and then listened to later. When listeners do this there are no reporting metrics – like amount of time spent listening or the ability to prove ads are even heard. The other problem with podcast monetization is that very few platforms can insert ads in real-time, so limited “brought to you by” sponsorships tend to be the norm. Since you can only have a few of these presenting sponsors in each podcast, the true ad revenue potential isn’t being realized right now.
But fear not podcasters of the world . . . if there’s one immutable law in marketing it’s that ad dollars ALWAYS follow consumption. So despite podcasting’s revenue underperformance right now, the sector will eventually catch up to its own usage footprint.