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  • Writer's pictureZach Kangelaris

Advertising in Podcasts Vs Music Streaming - What You Need to Know

By Zach Kangelaris

As the consumption of podcasts and streamed music continues to grow, brands are unleashing the power of sonic branding. But which ad formats are best for different brands and campaign objectives? What are Gen Z’s favourite audio formats? Can you use the same creative across all audio ads? How do you accurately measure ROI? Read on to get the lowdown on how to optimise podcast and music streaming ads to your advantage.

We’ve come a long way since the first radio ad in 1922. Audio is playing a larger and more consistent role in media plans than it did 5 years ago. According to a report from iAB, more than 7 out of 10 agencies (73%) either significantly use streaming digital audio services or regularly consider them as part of activities, up from 69 per cent a year ago. Nearly six in 10 (59 per cent) regularly consider podcast advertising, up from 36 per cent from last year. (IAB Audio Advertising State of the Nation Report 2022).The report also revealed that one-third of media agencies are failing to tailor creative to suit different audio environments when running campaigns.

Do brands need to tailor their audio ads to different environments? Short answer, absolutely.

Context is important to consider here. Music and podcasts both play distinctive roles in users’ listening experience. The consumer is in a completely different mindset listening to an immersive storytelling podcast whilst driving than they are bopping to Britney on a run.

The Power of Podcasts

Dragging your eyes away from your addictive phone screen is tough for the best of us which makes listening to a podcast a rather intimate, consuming and intentional act. 93% of podcast listeners tune into “all, or the majority” of each episode and with the average episode being roughly 40 mins. It’s quite a long time to have someone’s attention in this day and age. Therefore, it’s not surprising that more premium podcasts provide the perfect environment for brands to talk to consumers as they are neurally primed to receive these messages. Listeners want to learn, think and broaden their knowledge. We recommend dynamically inserted host-read ads as you’re able to continuously keep the messaging relevant whilst they are also far more likely to be embraced by the listener given the deeply immersive and trusting environment that the host has established with the audience over time.

With podcasts offering the option of host-read ads, this open ups opportunities that music audio advertising does not. The intimate relationship that forms between listener and host means that hosts are in a unique position to provide trusted product/service recommendations. Host-read podcast ads achieve 72% brand recall, compared with 62% for non-host-read ads. Additionally, host-read ads on podcasts produce an average of 50% increase in purchase and recommendation intent among listeners when compared against non-host-read ads.(Neilson)


The IAB report found that digital audio has continued to increase its role as a brand building tool, with 87 per cent of media agencies using streaming digital audio advertising for this purpose, up from 75 per cent the year prior. In addition, 84 per cent are using podcast advertising to increase brand awareness, up from 65 per cent in 2020. (IAB)

Music + Identity

Listening to music has strength in creating strong positive attitudes towards brands. Three in four millennials say music is part of how they define who they are.** For marketers, this is a chance to reach that audience through a medium they trust and see as a positive enhancer or tool. If a brand can tap into the powerful moods and contextual cues that music can foster, they are on a winner. For example, Baskin Robins advertised on Spotify during the hottest days of the year when summer playlists were at their peak, driving huge store visit stats.

Although both options are often grouped as “audio”, music streaming and podcast advertising are different beasts, offering advertisers unique opportunities to develop media plans that maximise impact for brands. By expanding your media mix to include digital audio advertising and podcasts, you can reach audiences on a level that works with their listening habits, in a space not yet oversaturated by competitors who are fighting against ad fatigue and share of voice.

What’s holding digital audio back?

The IAB found lack of measurement or standardised metrics as the top barrier to spending more on audio advertising both across streaming digital audio and podcasts. It’s a common struggle for media buyers to identify which tools, platforms and metrics are the most relevant to making informed, data-driven decisions.

The introduction of brand lift studies allows us to gain important insight into top of funnel metrics such as awareness versus lower funnel metrics such as brand favorability and taking action. As a refresher, a brand lift study means that two different audiences are served a podcast, one with ads and one without. The one that heard the ad receive follow up research to see what action the ad generated. A brand lift study undertaken by meal kit company HelloFresh showed those exposed to HelloFresh podcast ads had a 164% increase in unaided awareness and a 44% increase in aided awareness. Brand favorability grew by 51% and there was a 16% lift in those that said they would take an action based on the ad. (Inside Radio)

With the great stories podcasts offer, it creates the perfect environment for brands to talk directly to deeply immersed listeners on a scalable level. The lack of data in podcast advertising was once foreseen as a major issue for the industry but with the addition of companies like Podsights & Chartable, podcast ad measurement has never been so robust and will only continue to mature.

2022 is predicted to be huge for podcasts, with the industry hitting $1 billion in net worth. We can work with you to make this happen. Drop us a line anytime :

Header image of girl with headphones by Richard Clyborne of Music Strive


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