Why advertisers need to include podcasting as part of their connected audio strategy

Advances in podcast tech can provide unique insights into consumer behaviour. So what does this mean for adspend? And how can brands use it to best effect?

Advertisers are missing out on a highly engaged audience if they’re not connecting in this intimate and personalised space, explains Matthew Rouse, Podcast Lead at Octave Audio.

Podcasts enable consumers to access the audio content they enjoy at any time of the day, wherever they are. With content becoming more widely available, more people are embracing the audio channel every day. In fact, the number of podcast listeners in the UK is on course to grow to 23.3 million next year, meaning the space would’ve added 10 million new listeners since 2019.

With podcast listening growing exponentially over the past few years, there’s a significant opportunity for advertisers to truly grab the attention of consumers in an intimate, yet non-intrusive way. It’s something that more advertisers are recognising, with podcast adspend in the UK growing by 61% year-on-year to £54 million in 2021.

Needless to say, podcasting has boomed in the last two-to-three years, both in terms of listeners and adspend. However, as the space continues to grow, what can podcasts offer your brand that other mediums aren’t able to? What’s more, how can you navigate the more than 2.4 million podcasts, and over 66 million episodes, currently on the market? 

Are you listening?

Podcasts should appeal to you, as an advertiser, for a number of reasons. Perhaps most importantly, they enable you to reach a highly engaged audience in an environment where there usually aren’t many other ads. There’s also the fact that consumers actively choose to listen to podcasts. They have to be in a mindset to consume that audio – a mindset that usually means seeking out a podcast on a topic they’re interested in. 

This environment provides the perfect platform for you to deliver your brand message. Because, for instance, it’s very unlikely that someone who isn’t a football fan will listen to a podcast about football. So, a sports brand could safely infer that this type of podcast would provide them with the means to reach a highly engaged audience that is more likely to be interested in what the brand has to sell. And the technology is now emerging to enable you to reach these kinds of audiences at scale.

Advertisers are able to buy podcast inventory by categorising them by context and genre. Sticking to the football example, it would be reasonable to group football podcasts with rugby union, rugby league, tennis, and cricket podcasts in a ‘sports’ category. Audiences can also be targeted using some commonly used contextual signals, such as location, time of day, and weather.  

These signals can be taken a step further by utilising first-party data to better understand the listening behaviours of those audiences and target them at the right time. Contextual first-party data around behaviours – such as the speed a device is moving at (is the person running?), frequency of the movement (how often do they run?), and time of the movement (when do they run?) – provide the opportunity for advertisers to drill down deeper into those audiences and ensure they are targeting people at the most relevant time possible.

This helps to ensure that no adspend is wasted, and that audiences can still be targeted with relevant ads when they’re listening to podcasts that may be more difficult to categorise.

Podcasts – key to an audio connection

Thanks to these advancements, podcasting provides the perfect avenue to reach audiences with ease within a wider connected audio strategy. Furthermore, with measurement improving across the audio space as a whole, advertisers have the ability to track and attribute website visits and impressions after exposure to a podcast ad.

Connected audio is a powerful medium, which provides advertisers with the means to reach audiences with uninterrupted, targeted ads. These engaged audiences often consume audio through headphones, creating an intimate and trusted space for advertisers. Podcasting heightens the levels of intimacy, because the consumer has chosen to listen to that particular podcast on that particular topic, unlike on digital radio, where the consumer is typically only in control of the station they select and not the actual content they’re consuming.

Layer this with the levels of contextual personalisation, and podcasts offer the perfect environment to deliver a meaningful advertising experience to the most engaged audiences. The podcast space is only going to continue growing in listeners, and failure to reach consumers in the environment will only result in missed opportunities for your brand. Podcasting should be featured in the present and the future of your connected audio strategy. 


By Matthew Rouse

Podcast Lead

Octave Audio