MAGNA of IPG Mediabrands distilled 610 Nielsen podcast studies to determine best practices, including when to use host-read copy, why longer ads work best and how industries differ

New York, NY- October 26, 2022 – A new meta-analysis on the advertising effectiveness of podcasts, commissioned by MAGNA and conducted by Nielsen, represents the largest ever undertaken. It included 610 separate studies and involved over 140,000 respondents. “Podcast Ad Effectiveness: Best Practices for Key Industries”, released today, reveals the consumer impact of podcast advertising in driving key brand metrics. The study found that while podcast ads are generally effective at driving key brand metrics, fine-tuning the placement and structure of ads can create even more value for advertisers. In addition, longer creative generally drives higher lifts, but 35-seconds to a minute seems to strike the right balance between results and the listener experience. The study also found that custom content seems best suited for brands seeking to build awareness, as recall is strong.

Another key finding of the report is that brands seeking to reach Hispanic/Latinx or Asian American listeners, should leverage podcasts in their advertising strategies as they are particularly good at driving mid-to-lower funnel metrics. Also, ad copy with eight or more brand mentions consistently drives higher lifts than creative with fewer mentions. The study findings recommend brands focus on pre- and mid-roll placements to maximize impact and should also consider which ad type to use based on brand KPIs: For example, non-host read ads can be existing audio creative—and thus more cost effective and easier to use for dynamic insertion—but without sacrificing too much in terms of results, whereas host read ads are better for building awareness and driving search.

Podcast advertising proved to be particularly effective at improving aided awareness, with 79% of those surveyed recalling spots, a 15% lift over control groups. The study also found a 7% increase between control and exposed groups for intent to seek information, a 6% lift in recommendation intent and 5% lift in purchase intent. The report also revealed how listeners responded to familiar hallmarks of the medium, such as host-read ads and long-form spots. Host-read ads proved to be particularly effective at driving listeners to search for more information (+7% lift) and ads that were longer than one minute delivered higher scores on search intent (+8%) and purchase intent (+6%). Other conclusions included adults aged 50 and older clocking larger gains across affinity, search, purchase and recommendation intent than younger demographics.

“Podcasts are one of the few growth areas in terms of consumer time spent with media, and as more of our clients invest in the space, we wanted to surface best practices to maximize impact,” said Brian Hughes, EVP, Managing Director, Audience Intelligence & Strategy at MAGNA. “By leveraging the extensive work Nielsen had already done in this space, we were able to not only create overarching guidelines, but uncover useful nuances for specific industries.”

“Podcast Ad Effectiveness: Best Practices for Key Industries” also identified characteristics that were unique to auto, CPG, financial services, retail, and telecom categories that advertisers can factor into their decision-making. Key highlights of the study include:

Sports Wins for Auto Brands: Sports podcasts delivered stronger results for affinity (+7%) and intent to seek information (+8%) compared to comedy and society & culture podcasts.
Repetition is Good for CPG Advertisers: While 8 or more brand mentions in a spot performed better in podcast advertising in general, repetition proved to deliver even stronger results for CPG brands, for example earning a 7% lift for purchase intent, compared to 6% for all advertisers.
No News/Good News for Financial Brands: Counter-intuitively, financial services ads scored much better, across all metrics, on sports and society & culture podcasts compared to news shows–for example, purchase intent rated +8% for sports, +5% for society & culture and only +1% on news podcasts.
Telecom Take 2: Podcasts can add incremental reach on top of media where younger audiences are harder to connect with, like broadcast and cable TV.
The Read on Retail: While non-host-read ads scored better in increasing familiarity lower down the funnel (+4% in exposed vs. control groups), host-read ads scored better for affinity (+6%) and search (=8%), purchase (+5%) and recommendation intent (+5%).

“Podcasts continue to grow and represent a vibrant medium for brands with dialed-in, active audiences who are eager to engage,” said Arica Mckinnon, Vice President of Solutions Consulting, Nielsen. “Our research continues to uncover how podcasts can push behavior through the funnel and how brands fine-tune their campaigns for better results across categories, unlocking new opportunities for consumer engagement.”

“Podcast Ad Effectiveness: Best Practices for Key Industries” analyzed findings from 610 Nielsen Brand Impact simulated studies, encompassing 147,525 respondents, age 13 and up between 2018 and this year, examining both macro trends and drill-down insights across six major advertising categories including auto, CPG, financial services, retail and telecom.

The full study can be found here.

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