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Not Suprising News: Host-Read Podcast Ads Drive Higher Engagement than Non-Host Ads (per Nielsen)

Not Suprising News: Host-Read Podcast Ads Drive Higher Engagement than Non-Host Ads (per Nielsen)

Shocker alert. Nielsen is out with data that asserts host-ads are more effective than non-host read ads. Not that this is new to any of us who’ve been embedded in the podcast industry for years, but we figured we’d dive a little bit deeper into industry trends impacting host-read ads. To someone who’s been involved in the podcast industry before it became sexy, I’ve always been a proponent of the organic nature of the baked-in LIVE HOST READ AD, even more-so than a dynamically inserted host-read ad. To me, the measurement of a true host read ad is when it’s delivered natively within the fabric of a podcast.

As experienced marketers know, host-read ads (baked into the show) have always been the cornerstone of the podcast industry. With Radio media companies becoming more active in the medium (or taking over), some of us worried (and still worry) about the industry retaining the purity of ‘LIVE HOST-READ ADS’.

Dynamically inserted host-read ads are becoming the ‘name of the game’ as Radio looks to aggressively monetize their podcast networks. We literally are watching first-hand the slow death of ‘LIVE HOST-READ ADS’ within certain networks.

Nonetheless, in Nielsen’s unsurprising study, they found that 71% of respondents ‘recalled’ the advertised brand after hearing a host-read podcast ad compared to 62% of those that heard a traditional spot. Let’s dive a little deeper into these predictable metrics:
Notable highlights: 

  • Host-read ads outperformed traditions audio spots in causing the audience to seek additional information about a product
  • Produced a 33% lift in brand familiarity
  • Created a 67% higher increased affinity for a product/brand

When speaking to brands about the medium, I’ve always said that ‘live-host-read ads’ provide the purest form of native advertising. My friend at Pandora, Melanie Shiffman, stated it even better when she once told me:

A live-read podcast ad is the ultimate referral

I love that phrase and use it regularly when speaking to brands. Note that this Nielsen study said nothing about baked in ‘LIVE-HOST-READ-ADS’, which provide even greater uplift for brands than dynamically inserted host-read ads. I don’t need a study to confirm that for me.

As Radio companies slowly diminish the purity of traditional podcast advertising by relying on dynamically inserted ads (be it host-read or not) it’s going to be challenging to continue to say that podcast advertising provides the ultimate referral. Nonetheless, there is no better platform in attaining that highly coveted ‘lean-in’ listener that brands desire.

I’m not giving up on calling podcast advertising ‘the ultimate referral’…but the industry is slowly stealing the purity of what podcast advertising once was. Study that.