US podcast advertising will see strong growth this year

  • US podcast ad spend is still set to surpass $1 billion next year.
  • The continued interest in podcast advertising is due in part to the industry overcoming earlier challenges that made ads less measurable.
  • Insider Intelligence analyzes this industry and several others to provide in-depth analyst reports, proprietary forecasts, customizable charts, and more. Learn more about what we offer.

US podcast advertising will see especially strong growth this year, relative to ad spending for all other audio formats. We estimate that podcast ad spend will grow by 10.4% to $782.0 million this year, compared with a 17.0% drop for digital radio outlays overall.

US podcast ad spending

US podcast ad spend still set to surpass $1 billion next year.


Podcasts will make up around one-fifth (21.0%) of digital radio ad spend this year, a large jump from the 4.1% share it had just five years ago. We forecast this growth will accelerate strongly in 2021, increasing by 44.9% to reach $1.13 billion in ad spend. 

Podcast ad rates experienced a comparatively low dip during the pandemic, as interest in the format has remained high. An International Advertising Bureau (IAB) survey of digital ad sellers found that podcasters expected only a 6% drop in their CPMs this year compared with their originally planned rates. That’s lower than the 13% drop anticipated for digital radio and the average 16% drop expected by online ad sellers overall.

The drop in podcast revenues is mainly attributable to H1 2020, and many companies expect a rebound in H2, per the IAB’s “US Podcast Advertising Revenue Study” published in July.

Continued interest in podcast advertising is due in part to the industry overcoming earlier challenges that made ads less measurable. In late 2018, the IAB released guidelines that established a common set of ad metrics for podcasts, which have since helped the format break out of experimental ad budgets.

“One of the key challenges was the lack of uniformity in measurement,” said Shelleen Shum, eMarketer forecasting director at Insider Intelligence. “Bringing some standardization to the industry helped give advertisers more confidence.” 

Additionally, Spotify released a new streaming ad insertion technology earlier this year that makes it easier to serve and measure ads. It’s a tool that will help propel the podcast industry, Shum said.

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