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U.S. Podcast Ad Revenues Grew 19% YoY in 2020; set to exceed $1B this year and $2B by 2023

Rising adoption of Podcasting for upper funnel brand-building

NEW YORK – May 12, 2021 — According to IAB’s U.S. Podcast Advertising Revenue Study, prepared by PwC (PricewaterhouseCoopers) and released at the IAB 2021 Podcast Upfront, Podcast advertising will grow as much in the next two years as it did in the past decade.

Driven by a particularly strong fourth quarter (+37% YoY), Podcast advertising revenues climbed to $842 million in 2020, up from $708 million in the year prior.

“Podcasting will grow in the next two years by leaps and bounds,” said Eric John, Vice President, IAB Media Center. “Podcast listeners have shown that—even when working from home—podcasts are a preferred medium. Advertisers are benefiting from new technologies developed to serve these marketplaces, to make podcast advertising more dynamic and measurable than ever before.”

Messaging agility matters

Podcast publishers were well-positioned for the quick pivot, with the leading audio platforms steadily investing in new content and buyer-friendly ad tech. In particular, messaging agility, enabled by dynamic ad insertion, made Podcasting especially attractive in an unpredictable year. Marketers valued the ability to quickly switch out messaging as-needed: dynamically-inserted ads, which enable ad placement at the point of listener download, increased share of revenue from 48% to 67% year over year. Announcer-read / pre-produced ads, which also put more control in buyer’s hands, increased share from 27% to 35%. Host-read continues to represent over half of revenue by ad type, which illustrates buyer’s desire to tap the direct, influential relationship creators have with their listeners.

Perhaps the most important shift is that brand advertising (45% of 2020 revenue) is approaching parity with direct response (51% of 2020 revenue). Bigger brands are discovering that Podcast advertising can work across the sales funnel.

Additional highlights:

  • At 76%, mid-roll spot placements continued to account for three-fourths (76%) of revenues.
  • Half of Podcast ads lasted longer than 30 seconds in length. Seller Perspective: Longer ads allow for creative storytelling
  • News continued to be the top content genre for Podcast advertisers (22% market share). Seller Perspective: Advertisers should be leaning-in to News
  • Direct-To-Consumer brands maintained the top advertiser category market share (19%), while Pharmaceuticals more than doubled in share YoY (9%). Seller Perspective: Bigger brands are buying in

“The big takeaway from consumer behavior pre, during, and post pandemic is that podcasting has tremendous growth ahead. Consumers love listening and will integrate it into their lives wherever it fits. Advertisers love the flexibility to adjust their messaging on the fly. And most importantly, brands are continuing to shift to podcasting simply because it works: when they run an ad, the cash register rings,” said John.

For the IAB Full-Year 2020 U.S. Podcast Advertising Revenue Report, click here.

As in prior years, the quantitative, online annual survey was sent to leading Podcast industry players in mid-March to understand 2020 podcast advertising revenues and trends, as well as forecast revenue growth for the next 3 years. This coincided with a Podcast advertising market-sizing to deliver a reasonable estimate of the market in the United States, inclusive of non-survey participating companies.

About PwC
As business, accounting, and tax advisors to many of the world’s leading technology, media, and telecommunications (TMT) companies, PwC ( has an insider’s view of trends and developments driving the industry. With approximately 1,200 practitioners serving TMT clients in the United States, PwC is deeply committed to providing clients with industry experience and resources. In recent years, our work in TMT has included helping our clients to develop strategies to leverage digital technology, identifying new sources of financing, and marketplace positioning in industries characterized by consolidation and transformation. Our experience reaches across all geographies and segments, including broadband, wireless, film, television, music, publishing, advertising, gaming, sports, theme parks, computers and networking, software and technology services. With thousands of practitioners around the world, we’re always close at hand to provide deep industry knowledge and resources

About IAB
The Interactive Advertising Bureau empowers the media and marketing industries to thrive in the digital economy. Its membership comprises more than 650 leading media companies, brands, and the technology firms responsible for selling, delivering, and optimizing digital ad marketing campaigns.The trade group fields critical research on interactive advertising, while also educating brands, agencies, and the wider business community on the importance of digital marketing. In affiliation with the IAB Tech Lab, IAB develops technical standards and solutions. IAB is committed to professional development and elevating the knowledge, skills, expertise, and diversity of the workforce across the industry. Through the work of its public policy office in Washington, D.C., the trade association advocates for its members and promotes the value of the interactive advertising industry to legislators and policymakers. Founded in 1996, IAB is headquartered in New York City.

IAB Media Contacts
Kate Tumino / Brittany Tibaldi
212-896-1252 / 347-487-6794
[email protected] / [email protected]