Beyond DTC: Podcast Advertising is Winning Over All Brands

From legacy to B2B, here’s why everyone wants in.


Photo by Tim Mossholder on Unsplash


DTC Brands (companies with direct-to-consumer business models) were among the first to find an advertising channel that complements their digital-first presence – podcasts. These brands found themselves quickly embracing the medium and everything that made it unique. 

With a younger audience who grew up online and can’t resist a good promo code (#studentloans), this messaging resonated when delivered right into their ears by a newfound friend.

That attractive audience and level of engagement the podcast host read could provide couldn’t be kept a secret for too long. In a few short years, advertising revenue skyrocketed, now expected to surpass $2 billion dollars by 2023

But for traditional advertisers, finding an in with the podcast crowd proved to be challenging. What if we don’t have a promo code? How do we know this thing is actually working?

Dynamic ad insertion, stricter IAB download standards, and pixel attribution helped change the advertiser landscape. According to Magellan AI, four of the top 15 July advertisers are among the top 200 spenders overall, and four of the top 10 are B2B brands. The ‘Movers and Shakers’ for the month include brands like Jaguar, 3M, and IKEA.


Oh, how times have changed…Magellan AI’s top advertisers in 2018 vs. today


Taking a page from the DTC playbook, what lessons can be learned from the pioneers of podcast advertising? 

Treat podcasting as a unique channel. 

It’s all about context. Listeners are more likely to listen at home thru their smartphones. With listening done via headphones or earbuds, the environment is very intimate. Why people listen is important too – turning to podcasts when they want to learn something new or for the company when they are alone.

Don’t sleep on the gold standard of podcast advertising.

Even if you need the scale programmatic-style ads offer, dedicate a portion of your budget to host reads. When the host puts their spin on your brand messaging, listeners take note. 33% of heavy podcast consumers (listening 5 or more hours a week) pay more attention to host-read ads than other ads in podcasts.

Test, test, test.

Testing could be used strategically to find the right fit with a host if endorsements are involved. Depending on the product and your target demo, diversify the genres you test as well. Plan at least 4 weeks for a test, these can be back to back or spread out (2 weeks on, 1 week off).

Use attribution to gauge success.

No promo code? No problem! Pixel-based attribution is turning all marketers into performance marketers, allowing brands to track campaign success in real-time across a variety of KPIs. 


Need a hand navigating the podcast space? We’d love to help! From the basics of setting up a campaign to the advancements in ad tech, we guide advertisers every step of the way. 

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