Nielsen Validates the Power of a Podcast Advertising: Host-Read Ads Outperform Pre-Roll In Driving Purchase Intent

Nielsen Validates the Power of a Podcast Advertising: Host-Read Ads Outperform Pre-Roll In Driving Purchase Intent

Another study continues to validate why major brands are pivoting to podcast advertising, which was highlighted earlier this week in Inside Radio. Bottom line, the study demonstrated the power of host-read ads which are providing ‘the ultimate referral’ for brands.

According to a study from the ‘Nielsen Digital Media Lab’:

70% of those exposed to podcast advertising agree the podcast ad they heard increased their awareness of new products and/or services. 62% of respondents correctly recalled the brand advertised within the podcast clip and indicated the ad made them consider new products/services

Copyright 2017 The Nielsen Company

Host-Read Ads Outperform Video Pre-roll

This fact can’t be understated: 

More than half of the podcast ads tested outperformed video pre-roll in driving purchase intent lift


  • Of the 46 podcast ads tested in the study, 26 outperformed a comparison video pre-roll ad in driving lift in purchase intent for brands advertised
  • Of the 26 out-performers, 85% included sponsorships that were host read

‘Authenticity’ of a Host-Read Advertisement Matters

According to the study:

Host read ads included in the study were significantly more likely to be described as authentic and believable, and two times less likely to be perceived as forced.

What this study means? 

The study validates that podcast advertising’s biggest asset is the ‘lean-in’ experience between the listener and the host. LIVE-READS within podcasts aren’t going anywhere despite the fact that programmatic and dynamically ad-inserted spots are becoming more relevant in the industry.

The unique connection between the host, the listener, and the brand is real…and while social media gets all the attention when it comes to ‘influencer marketing’, there are no stronger advocates for brands than powerful podcast hosts. Because a podcasters are ‘storytellers’, live-read ads comes across in a connected manner to the listener. And the audience is compelled to ‘act’ as they know that the sponsors support the show…or the show might disappear.

Advertisers will gravitate to the shows & hosts that maintain the authenticity and charm of a LIVE-READ spot…which ultimately walk the fine line between native content & sponsored content, aka a paid endorsement.  Nonetheless, brands and digital buyers need to take note of the power of live-reads within podcasts and the success direct response advertisers are experiencing.

An Inquisitive Listening Audience Challenging Themselves

Additionally, the respondents were asked why they listen to podcasts:

  • 66% selected ‘to learn something new’
  • Nearly half listen to a podcast to relax or be an informed citizen
  • Over 30% responded ‘to challenge my current perspective’

The Hosts Influence on a Product Matters – It’s the Ultimate Referral

As previously noted, I’ve always said that a podcast advertisement read directly by the host comes across to the listener as the ‘ultimate referral’….which is the purest form of native content. 

And the respondents agree:

  • 83% agreed that ‘the host is authentic and natural in delivering the ads
  • 78% said that they don’t mind the ads/sponsors because they know that the brands support the podcast
  • 74% said that the sponsors fit well within the content of the show
Copyright 2017 The Nielsen Company

The Digital Buying Community & Brands Need to Jump In Now

It frustrates the hell out of me, when visiting a digital agency, and hearing how many in the room actually listen to a podcast (about 60% typically raise their hand). Then, you ask how many of them have actually placed a podcast buy…and you’ll be lucky to get 10% of them to raise their hand. I experience this more often than not.

Bottom line, it’s time for the entire digital buying community and brands alike to start experimenting with podcast advertising. The time is now. Social Media Influencers have never been hotter, and that’s why it’s time to experiment with podcast hosts that are ready and able to to provide the ultimate referral.

If your business is interested in exploring the power of podcast advertising, reach out to us through our Podcast Business Center – clicking on the banner below. We can place your buy across most major podcast publisher networks and we know which shows derive the greatest returns. Get in touch with us today!