IAB UK champions power of podcasts for brand-building campaigns

New campaign aims to emphasise creative potential of digital ads

The Internet Advertising Bureau (IAB) has today launched a new campaign encouraging more brands to invest in digital channels such as podcasting, fronted by an 8ft brown bear character named Joy. 

As part of the campaign, which is produced by creative agency NOW, IAB UK has brought the character of Joy - who is serving as the organisation’s ‘chief digital cheerleader’ - to life through a series of video display ads across its social media channels, which direct advertisers to a hub on the IAB website with resources and advice on digital advertising.

This is the first IAB UK campaign focused specifically on digital advertising, and highlights the trade body’s new strategy which focuses on getting advertisers excited about digital channels. NOW CEO Louise Hayward said that the campaign focuses on addressing the misconception that digital advertising only works from a commercial perspective, and emphasising that it can be valuable for both brand-building and creating “meaningful connections”. 

“We know that advertisers are spending on digital channels, but do they feel positive about it?” said IAB UK chief marketing officer James Chandler. “The honest truth is that they’re daunted by the pace of change in the industry and are constantly battling a feeling that they need to be investing in the next newest tech to make an impact. This campaign is about addressing that unease, encouraging advertisers to use digital channels confidently and creatively and - ultimately - to spark some joy.”

According to IAB UK and PwC’s half-year Digital Adspend update, which was released in April 2023, digital advertising in the first half of this year remained resilient despite economic pressures, and grew by 5% year on year.

The IAB UK’s Digital Ad Spend Report also showed that podcast investment proved to be an area of growth for advertisers, up by 32% year on year in 2022, which beat the overall UK digital ad industry’s growth of 11%. Since 2020, podcast investment has continued to grow significantly despite economic challenges faced in 2022, up from £33.54m to £76.3m in just three years.

The latest IAB study on US Podcast Advertising Revenue also highlighted that more podcast advertisers are now focusing on brand awareness, with those types of campaigns now making up 61% of total ad revenues for the medium, which is up by 13% year on year. Brand awareness campaigns can be made more effective through contextual targeting, using artificial intelligence measurement solutions that allow advertisers to track their progress in-flight or after. 

Chandler told PodPod that the UK advertising scene is “in rude health” and that more brands are investing in the medium every year as it continues to grow and diversify, with ad opportunities such as spot ads and host read sponsorships that can be designed and written specifically to match the different objectives of brands, which can include driving more awareness or actions like purchasing a production. 

“The technology powering ads in podcasts is accelerating in line with the revenue, with solutions that allow brands to reach listeners at mass scale as well as enabling incredible precision to targeting the right person, in the right context, at the right time,” said Chandler.