Podcasts are emerging as an extremely powerful tool for building brands, according to Randall Rothenberg, president/chief executive officer of the Interactive Advertising Bureau (IAB).

During the IAB’s 2018 Podcast Upfront, Rothenberg argued that podcasts have rapidly caught the attention of consumers – and, in turn, lured brands to a fresh digital-advertising opportunity.

“They’ve actually only been with us for six, seven, eight years,” he said. (For more, read WARC’s in-depth report: IAB’s Rothenberg champions the power (and growth) of podcast advertising.)

“If it seems like 170 years, it’s because very few entertainment, information, and news media have ever established themselves this quickly in the consciousness of a culture. This is what podcasting has done.”

Intelligence provider Edison Research and audio-tech firm Triton Digital have found that 73 million consumers in the US listen to podcasts every month, while 124 million people have accessed such audio material at least once.

Figures from the IAB and PricewaterhouseCoopers, the auditing and consulting group, indicate that US podcast ad revenue should hit $402m this year, a 28% annual increase, and reach $659m by 2020.

“It’s absolutely clear that more and more marketers understand the value of podcasting,” Rothenberg said. “You know that brands can be, have been, and will be strongly and permanently built through the medium of podcasting.”

And he drilled down into the reasons for the rise of podcasts – whether they are produced by traditional media entities like NPR, Univision, and ESPN or online-first players like Panoply and Wondery – as a marketing channel for brands.

More specifically, he linked their growth with an “enduring shift going on in the consumer economy” that has been led by direct-to-consumer ecommerce brands.

These enterprises, like cosmetics pioneer Glossier, petcare expert BarkBox and eye-glasses brand Warby Parker, have often turned to podcasts as a means of engaging with millennial consumers in particular.

“You probably tend to think about these companies as interesting curiosities in individual categories or segments,” Rothenberg said.

“But the fact of the matter is they are not just interesting curiosities; they actually represent an enduring shift in the way the consumer economy operates.”

Sourced from WARC