Podcast Advertising 2018

The Power and Potential of Storytelling for Brands

The US podcast advertising market has exploded in recent years, fueled by a fast-growing, premium audience that attracts some of the top advertising rates in the industry. Many marketers are showing interest in the medium, but it has yet to break through among most Fortune 500 advertisers. As such, it remains a small speck on the overall US advertising landscape.

  • According to our newest forecast, 73 million people in the US will listen to a podcast at least monthly in 2018. That equates to more than one-fifth (22.2%) of the US population.
  • The average podcast listener skews younger, more educated and more affluent than average. Because their time spent with media is distributed among various devices and digital subscriptions, podcast listeners are both a valuable but difficult group of consumers for advertisers to reach.
  • Podcasts may give advertisers an avenue in, however, as listeners are highly engaged when tuned into a podcast and usually don’t mind hearing ads. That’s because podcast ads tend to be kept to a minimum and are relevant to the program’s content, often via host-read ads. Trust and brand recall for podcast ads is also high when compared with other audio formats.
  • Podcast advertising commands some of the media industry’s highest CPMs due to the medium’s desirable demographic profile and effective advertising format. The format reaches more targeted audiences than terrestrial radio while offering a higher degree of direct-response measurability.
  • Still, the podcast market today attracts primarily direct-response advertisers in a select set of categories while struggling to tap the budgets of large brand advertisers. Lack of audience scale, standardized measurement and media planning and buying infrastructure have inhibited larger brand investments thus far.
  • The podcast advertising market in the US is poised for strong continued growth in listenership and ad dollars, but without meaningfully addressing current friction points, it might remain a niche advertising vehicle primarily suited to direct-response advertisers in the near and medium term.

WHAT’S IN THIS REPORT? This report provides an overview of the state of the US podcast market today, including our first-ever forecast for podcast listeners in the US. This report also examines which advertisers are experiencing the most success with podcasts, and why, as well as what it will take for the market to realize its considerable potential.

KEY STAT: According to our estimates, 73 million US consumers, or 22.2% of the population, will listen to a podcast at least once per month in 2018. That figure will rise to 23.7% in 2020.

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Table of Contents

  1. Podcasts: Who’s Listening and What It Means for Marketers
  2. The Podcast Audience
  3. Podcast Advertising Today
  4. What’s Holding Advertisers Back?
  1. The Potential of Podcast Advertising
  2. Key Takeaways
  3. eMarketer Interviews
  4. Read Next
  1. Related Links
  2. Media Gallery

Charts in This Report

Interviewed for This Report

Gina Garrubbo
National Public Media
CEO, President
Interviewed July 27, 2018
Bryan Moffet
National Public Media
Interviewed July 27, 2018
Alex Shear
Director of Acquisition
Interviewed July 25, 2018
Rion Swartz
Senior Director, Marketing and Brand Management
Interviewed August 1, 2018
Lex Friedman
Midroll Media
Chief Business Development Officer
Interviewed August 1, 2018
Ken Lagana
Panoply Media
Head of Sales
Interviewed July 27, 2018
Hernan Lopez
CEO, Founder
Interviewed July 19, 2018
Amit Shetty
IAB Tech Lab
Senior Director, Video and Audio
Interviewed July 31, 2018
Dave Hanley
Vice President, Business Development
Interviewed July 24, 2018
Mark McCrery
CEO, Founder
Interviewed July 17, 2018
Judy Ransford
Adopter Media
Interviewed July 20, 2018
Glenn Rubenstein
Adopter Media
Interviewed July 20, 2018


Jasmine Enberg, and Andrew Lipsman


Caroline Cakebread
Junior Analyst
Annalise Clayton
Senior Researcher