Advertisers should be augmenting radio buys with podcasts, says Webster

Sounds Profitable analyst highlights potential gains in mid- and lower-funnel metrics

Podcast advertising is most effective when combined with radio campaigns, Sounds Profitable partner Tom Webster has advised brand marketers, in order to maximise campaign performance across the whole sales funnel.

Speaking at this year’s Radiodays Europe conference in Prague, Webster highlighted some findings from podcast analysis firm Sounds Profitable’s latest piece of research, which surveyed just over 2,000 people in the US to analyse how advertising on radio and TV compares to podcasts.

The research looked at the five biggest advertisers in each medium, and asked participants about their awareness of these brands, their favourability towards them, whether they would consider using them, and whether they actually have engaged with them. 

According to these brand lift metrics, podcast advertising significantly increased mid-funnel measures such as consideration and favourability when incorporated into a wider TV and/or radio campaign. The study says the top five podcast advertisers by share of voice saw average increases of around 15% for favourability, consideration and subsequent action between those who listened to podcasts in the last week and those who didn’t.

The only area of the study in which podcasting saw a brand lift of less than 10% was in awareness, where it equalled radio’s 7% increase. As a result, Webster advised brands to combine the scale of radio’s audience with the deep engagement offered by podcast advertising.

“[Brand favourability metrics are] an average of six percentage points higher for all of the brands,” Webster explained. “They're less saturated with advertising. They are getting bombarded by fewer ads, and they are in general more positive and more malleable about all of these things. So all of this adds up to significant impacts here for podcasting in the middle funnel and the lower funnel. Especially when it's accompanied with a broadcast buy.”

The research also showed that the podcast audience is getting younger, larger and more removed from other audiences. Heavy podcast consumers have a mean age of 37, compared with over 55 for radio and TV. In fact, in the in 18-34 demographic, the reach of podcasting is now almost equal to that of TV and radio, and younger users are increasingly disengaged from these mediums. 

“The real answer here is to sequence a radio buy and a podcasting buy,” Webster said. “Use the radio buy to build reach, use the podcasting buy sequence to build middle and lower funnel activity to bring a listener all the way from knowing about a brand to considering it to potentially buying it. 

“Those two things work together. They have an additive audience, they layer on top of each other, and I think represent a very powerful reason why broadcasters in Europe should pay more attention to podcasts as a complete audio solution for advertisers.”

However, Webster also stressed to PodPod that the differences between the US and UK radio markets mean the gulf between radio and podcast audiences may not be as stark in the UK. He particularly highlighted the UK's lower ad loads, better perception of radio as a medium, and greater investment in breakfast shows as reasons why the audience and reach metrics may look significantly different for UK companies. He confirmed that the effects of podcasting for lower-funnel metrics were likely to remain consistent across territories, however.