NEW YORK: The US podcast market saw strong advertising growth in 2017, rising 86% to reach $314m, according to new data from the IAB.

The latest Podcast Advertising Revenue Study, conducted by the Interactive Advertising Bureau (IAB) and PwC US covered the 2017 calendar year and was based on self-reporting by leading podcast companies and a quantitative mailing survey with leading industry players, including podcast publishers and ad networks.

In addition to the record 2017 figure, the study predicted that podcast revenue will surge to $659m by 2020, a triple-digit 110% hike from 2017.

“These strong numbers speak to advertisers’ increasing recognition that podcasts provide a powerful platform for reaching and engaging audiences,” said Anna Bager, Executive Vice President, Industry Initiatives, IAB.

Host-read ads were cited as the preferred ad type, representing more than two-thirds of ads in 2017.

Direct response ads transacted on a cost per thousand basis made up the majority of campaigns, followed by brand awareness ads (29%). In addition, ads integrated or edited into programming accounted for 58% of the podcast ad inventory in 2017.

More than half of all advertising revenue came from just four content genres: arts/entertainment (17%); technology (15%); news/politics/current events (13%); and business (11%).

Cutting the figures by advertiser category revealed that financial services spent most on podcasting with an 18% share. This was followed by direct-to-consumer retailers (16%) and arts and entertainment brands (13%).

“The growing trend toward ‘anywhere and everywhere’ media engagement has created tremendous opportunity for digital media, of which podcasting is a significant component,” said David Silverman, a partner at PwC US.

“Whether at home on a smart speaker, at work on a PC, or somewhere in between on a mobile device, more and more Americans are listening while they live, providing a robust podcast platform where advertisers can connect with today’s consumers."

Silverman didn’t specifically mention vehicles, but according to Ford Motor Co., a particularly intriguing podcast datapoint is that 76% of listening happens in a car.

And when it partnered with Gimlet Media's StartUp podcast, the auto brand found that its storytelling approach helped lift brand metrics and boost purchase intent. (For more details, read WARC’s report: Ford has a newer idea: Podcasting.)

The April edition of WARC's Global Ad Trends report, which focuses on the radio and digital audio industry, found that podcast advertising outperformed pre-roll video for driving purchase intent in 57% of cases.

Sourced from IAB; additional content by WARC staff