As everyone returns to work following the Christmas holidays, many of us will be planning our strategies for 2024. This includes podcast networks seeking to court more advertisers, as well as advertisers themselves who want to ensure greater reach and conversion for their clients’ campaigns.
With this in mind, we spoke to a range of figures from across adland to get their predictions for what the coming year has in store for the podcast industry from an advertising and marketing perspective, to give brands, agencies and media owners an insight into what to expect from the next 12 months.
Sam Austin - Head of audio, Goodstuff Communications
Goodstuff saw a 60% year-on-year growth in brands utilising podcasts within their marketing comms in 2023. For 2024, many of these brands will continue to invest in podcasts, with most looking to further grow their investment.
As host or sponsored reads continue to be the preferred solution, with increased investment comes the potential for repetition and the risk of frustrating loyal listeners. As such, there needs to be more consideration given to strategy and planning to avoid such pitfalls, which presents an opportunity for brands to use a broader range of podcasts.
Moritz Hahn - Strategy director, Jung von Matt
Podcast marketing will become an essential part of the digital strategy in 2024.
As podcast marketing continues to grow strongly, the industry will continue to professionalise in 2024. Podcasts are no longer just on platforms like Spotify and Apple Podcasts: they are content ecosystems in their own right, played out across multiple touchpoints in digital and social media and even at live events.
Especially video podcasts and (live) podcast events are becoming increasingly relevant. This gives brands the opportunity to convey their messages to their target groups at multiple touchpoints in an even more specific, integrated and holistic way.
Jason Donnelly - Marketing manager, Kubbco
In 2024, the podcast industry will undergo four major changes: more AI integration, with platforms like Eleven Labs generating content mimicking human speech, raising authenticity and market saturation concerns; a growing emphasis on video content, leveraging social media and YouTube to reach audiences who prefer visual content; a shift to subscription models, with a nominal fee for exclusive content, potentially redefining podcast value and revenue; and enhanced interactivity, shifting from one-way information flow to interactive experiences using audio and video feedback, transforming podcast production and consumption.
Thomas Balaam - AV business director, Mindshare UK
2023 saw many brands test podcast advertising, the majority of which were looking to utilise the authenticity and connection that host read ads have to offer. We’ll continue to see high interest from advertisers and brands in 2024, however it is important that podcast suppliers continue to improve and innovate their advertising models to ensure that brands have the best experience possible. Increasing spot ad solutions will be key for podcast suppliers to scale ad revenues, and solutions such as contextual spot ad placements through conversational and key word targeting will see increased demand as advertisers look to contextually place ads in relevant content beyond just simple genre targeting.
In terms of podcast ad suppliers, the market remains fragmented, but we are seeing signs of consolidation with larger established UK audio suppliers looking to bolster their podcast offering through ad sales agreements with fringe podcasts networks that may have been struggling to entice large-scale advertisers. 2024 will also see podcasts go beyond just audio ad solutions, with larger more popular podcasts looking to utilise video episodes and live events that offer increased advertising opportunities beyond host-reads and audio spot ads.
Georgie Holt - Cofounder, Telling Media
Hopefully, distracting conversations on what a podcast is and what a podcast is not will draw to a close and the era of ‘podcast media’ will truly arrive. The way we talk about ‘social media’ as an audience, creator or publisher experience across multiple apps and platforms that best suit tastes and preferences, is how we will describe ‘podcast media’ in 2024. The successful publishing methodology of creating great content and going where your audience are will matter more than ever to a podcast brand's long-term success and potential value.
That means social, and that means video. Brand-developed podcasts will be back, but with a fresh look; an original branded series is not enough anymore. Smart and successful work in this space will give brands an opportunity to expand IP and energise fandoms in new ways and for the long term.
Maleehah Choudhry - Biddable media manager, Yonder Media
Over recent years we have seen the podcast landscape excel. We’ll continue to see growth in popularity and also how brands use these platforms with new creators and fresh voices joining podcast networks. This will be great for the creation of more diverse content and more advertising opportunities. At the same time I expect to see tech advancements which will enhance the listening experience.
There will be more in terms of interactive content which will allow brands to place ads in more integrated ways, and the use of new ad formats with exclusive partnerships details and native brand associations. The other side of the increased growth is that the landscape will become more saturated, and creators are likely to focus on niche and specialised content to target specific audiences. This could lead to a greater variety of podcasts catering to specific interests and communities, which will allow brands to tap into those specific audience segments on a mass scale through various media outlets.
Paul Kelly – Chief revenue officer, AMA
Audio will only become more prominent, especially given the macroeconomic challenges afoot. People are cutting back on subscriptions. As a result, they’ll naturally gravitate towards ad-supported entertainment mediums like podcasts, radio, or Spotify’s free tier. This will be a silver lining for brands because customers are moving from ad-free walled gardens to arenas where advertisements are an inevitable (and expected) element of the broader experience.
Audio advertising that is environment aware, and thus more relevant, timely, and interesting in terms of message, leads to better outcomes for all parties. Advertisers see their ads performing better due to raised appeal and better retention of the message, which increases the value of the inventory for both advertisers and publishers. Users get a better experience, thus leading to growth in audience and aggregate consumption — and this creates value for creators and media owners.
Visha Kudhail - Host, Behind the Face of Success
In 2024, I predict personal and industry-wide growth. Popular shows have firmly established themselves with expansive audiences and top-tier talent, presenting a golden opportunity for marketers to seamlessly weave their brands into narratives. Live podcast events are also becoming a strategic way for brands to transform real-life moments into long-lasting content experiences that can be resurfaced. AI also brings exciting prospects for weekly podcasters, offering solutions to expedite content creation, facilitate language localization, and expand their reach globally.
The IAB predicts significant year-on-year revenue growth as ad algorithms are also becoming increasingly intuitive to content and far more personalised, enriching the overall listener experience. Yet, as we positively embrace these advancements, a note of caution is essential. Recent experiments, such as the Joe Rogan AI show, serve as a reminder of the delicate balance required to prevent the erosion of the unique human touch that defines the podcasting industry. Navigating this dynamic landscape in 2024 demands a thoughtful approach that preserves authenticity.
Simon White - Media manager, BT Business
For me, the next year in podcasts is likely to see growth in the amount of both advertisers and average spends, as podcasts continue to prove a successful and engaging medium. I expect there to be increased investment in host reads versus standard spot advertising, as the cost differential is often not prohibitive and it brings an extra level of credibility to the messaging. It is also likely that more podcast partnerships will occur on the back of several recent successes.
One thing advertisers will need to be careful of is creating their own podcasts in order to jump on the bandwagon of success, unless they do it extremely well and in a way that does not seem like wanton self-promotion. If not, it could be a new equivalent of brands making ‘viral’ videos that don’t go viral, or hashtags that nobody quotes. Any branded podcasts will need to be done alongside known creators who know what they are doing and what the audience want.