Type here to search
Get weekly podcast industry insights like this straight to your inbox

Sign-up to PodCraft Perspectives

Get weekly podcast industry insights like this straight to your inbox

Podcast Advertising is Now More Effective Than TV and Radio, Study Finds

article featured image


A new study from Sounds Profitable has revealed some interesting insights about how effective podcasts are nowadays as an advertising tool. 

The study, which surveyed over 2,000 US consumers aged 18 and above, suggests that podcasts have now overcome TV, radio and social media as the most effective advertising medium in the US. 

It’s a meaty 62-page report packed with additional insights about brands and advertising media. If this is something that interests you, you can dive into the full report here.

But for now, we’re here to pull out some insights you’ll want to know about as an independent podcaster. And spoiler alert: it’s all good news.

So what exactly does the data tell us about how listeners experience podcast ads? Why are podcasts so effective as an advertising tool?

And most importantly of all, how can you capitalise on this news as a podcaster moving forward?

Podcast Advertising Clearly Works

The biggest takeaway from SP’s report is that podcast advertising is undoubtedly having an impact on US consumers. Here are the main data points from the report that tell us this:

1. Listeners Trust Brands Affiliated With Their Favourite Podcasts

According to the report, consumers are very likely to support brands affiliated with their favourite podcasts. Much more so than their favourite TV or radio shows.

graph: podcast listeners more likely to support brands that support their favourite podcasts

The study also found that respondents were likelier to trust brands they hear about on podcasts than other media. And this even includes social media and YouTube too.

Respondents also said they’d be much more likely to buy something they hear advertised on a podcast (43%) than on TV (33%) or radio (26%).

Graph: consumers most likely to consider brands they hear aboout on podcasts
Graph: podcast listeners more likely than TV or radio to say ads prompt purchase

2. Podcast Ads Are More Relevant Than on Other Media

According to the report, consumers also respond more positively to ads on podcasts than on other mediums.

Most of those who took part in the study said ads they hear on podcasts are relevant to them. They also said they’re more likely to actually listen to ads on podcasts compared to TV and radio ads.

Graph: Consumers find podcast ads most relevant
Graph: Podcast ads hold cosumer attention better than tv

Why Podcast Advertising Is So Effective

It’s true that SP’s report contains exclusively US consumer data. However, it still serves as a strong indication that podcasts are overtaking TV and radio as the best medium to advertise on. 

But what is it about podcasts that makes advertising so effective?

Authenticity, Engagement, Trust, & Intimacy

When you spend hours listening to a host talking on a regular basis, you build a level of intimacy and trust that you just don’t see in other forms of media. It’s only natural that this will have an impact on brand affiliation too. Parasocial relationships between listeners and hosts can be so strong that advertising could be seen as a form of social proof. If a friend you respect and trust recommends something, you’re likely to try it. Podcast advertising thrives off this.

Less Ad Saturation

According to the report, consumers saw/heard fewer ads on podcasts than on any other medium. This is clearly a good thing, and suggests podcasting has hit a sweet spot in terms of ad saturation. As a medium, podcasts are lighter on ad spots than radio and TV.

There was also a correlation identified in the study between heavy podcast listeners and paying for ad-free streaming services (Spotify, Netflix etc.). This suggests a lot of podcast listeners prefer less ads – which is something to keep in mind.

Graph: how many consumers saw or heard ads in the past week
Graph: podcast listeners more likely to consumer ad-free on-demand media

Personalised/Programmatic Advertising

Thanks to the wonders of programmatic advertising, podcasters can deliver relevant ads to listeners. If you use programmatic advertising for your podcast, no two listeners will hear the same ads. Programmatic uses technology to fill podcast ad slots based on a listener’s browsing data and other data.

This is a much more personalised experience than what consumers experience with TV and radio, where the stations choose the ads for everyone.

Less Distraction

Podcast advertising is also distraction-free. This is very different from social media, where a million other things are floating around the screen to distract you from the message. It’s hard not to listen to an advert that comes on during a podcast.

Host-Read Ads Can Be Seamless

Podcasts also lend themselves well to ads blending in nicely with the content, rather than feeling like interruptions, particularly when they are host read. For example, a fitness podcaster might be doing an episode on workout recovery, during which they talk about a particular supplement they take. This is an ad, but it’s also part of the content.

Fiction podcasts also lend themselves well to seamless in-content adverts. Characters can chat about a product or service within the story, and this is often delivered with humour. You can learn more about this in our How to Advertise on Podcasts guide.

PSA: It’s essential that you declare any ads or sponsor-reads to your listeners. Yes, they can slot in nicely to your content, but if you’re finacially gaining from them, keep yourself in the right by being up-front about it!

How to Capitalise on This as a Podcaster

So now you might be thinking, this is all riveting stuff, but how can I use this information to my advantage as a podcaster?

For starters, if you’re not currently monetising your podcast through sponsorship, now’s the time to look into it. This sponsorship guide for podcasters has everything you need to know to weigh up your options and get started. Even if you’ve just started out, or if your numbers are too small to catch the eye of any advertisers, you can opt for an affiliate marketing approach.

If there are any actionable takeaways from this report in terms of managing your podcast advertising, it’s that programmatic advertising is crucial to uphold the reputation podcasting is building for ad relevancy. Host-read ads are arguably even more effective, too, because they can be ultra-personalised.

It’s also well worth limiting the number of ads you allow on your show. The report seems to suggest that podcasting has hit a sweet spot, so it’s important not to get carried away and start stuffing your podcast with adverts.

And finally, we’d encourage you to use Sounds Profitable’s data in your pitch when approaching potential advertisers for your podcast. This report is gold material for convincing brands that sponsorship with your podcast would be a great investment. ‘Cause who even advertises on the radio nowadays anyway?

From idea to legendary podcast...

Plan & launch

From idea to recording


Produce & edit

Gear, software & tips



Be the best show host


Grow & monetise

Promote and earn


We’ve got every step covered.