Study: U.S. Podcast Ad Revenue Reached Record $314MM in 2017



The figure is up 86% compared to 2016 and is forecasted to surge to $659MM by 2020.


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Podcasting had itself a year, and will continue to grow exponentially according to new research by the IAB and PwC.

The two recently teamed up for their second annual Podcast Revenue Study, which surveyed a number of podcast companies considered to be “key revenue drivers.” Results found that U.S. podcast advertising took in a whopping $314 million in revenue in 2017, compared to $169 million (an 86% increase) recorded in 2016. Specifically, revenue figures climbed 94 percent between Q4 2016 and Q4 2017, translating into an 18 percent compound quarterly growth rate.

If this wasn’t notable enough, The research offered some astounding predictions for the years ahead—painting a picture of even stronger growth. Specifically, the report forecasts that podcast revenue will hit $659 million by 2020, a triple-digit 110 percent spike compared to 2017.

The report measured a total of 14 content genres, with the top four podcast genres—arts and entertainment (17%), technology (15%), news and current events (13%), and business (11%)—accounting for more than half of all podcast ad revenues.

Here are a few additional key findings from the report:

  • Between 2015 and 2017, reported revenues by surveyed companies increased by 275%.
  • Ads that were inserted or edited into programming accounted for 58% of the ad inventory in 2017
  • Direct response ads transacted on a cost per thousand basis made up the majority of the campaigns, followed by brand awareness ads at 29%.
  • Host-read ads were the preferred, most heavily used ad type, accounting for more than two-thirds of all ads in 2017
  • Based on a spending analysis conducted as part of the research, top advertisers included financial services (18% share of ads), followed by direct-to-consumer retailers (16%), and arts and entertainment (13%)

“Whether at home on a smart speaker, at work on a PC, or somewhere in between on a mobile device, more and more Americans are listening while they live, providing a robust podcast platform where advertisers can connect with today’s consumers,” said David Silverman, a Partner at PwC U.S. As digital media continues to fuel a culture of “anywhere and everywhere” engagement, podcasting will continue to remain a viable option for advertisers.

The IAB and PwC weren’t the only ones looking hard at the podcasting space in 2017. Nielsen, for instance, found in its own survey that over 60 million U.S. households listen to podcasts, with 22 percent considering themselves “avid” fans. A year earlier, ComScore reported that nearly one in five Americans aged 18 to 49 report listening to podcasts at least once a month. Even more, two-thirds of respondents reported acting on podcast ads by either researching or purchasing the advertised product or service.

Indeed, there is a substantial shift in how we consume audio content whether it be through a podcast on our mobile device, or our music playlists from a smart speaker in our home. Going forward, it is likely that given these numbers, a growing number of advertisers and podcast startups will join the movement because, figures aside, there is clearly money to be made.

You can download and check out the full report from the IAB and PwC here.

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