US Audio Advertising Forecast 2021

Podcasts Fuel Digital Expansion

Executive Summary

The pandemic didn’t slow—and hasn’t slowed—the advertising and subscription dollars flowing into digital audio, especially after some of the largest tech companies in the world started investing heavily in this space. This new interest signaled that digital audio was no longer experimental for advertisers or content creators.

How much money will advertisers spend on audio ads?

Combined, US radio and digital audio services will receive $16.80 billion in ad spending in 2021, of which terrestrial radio will account for two-thirds with the remaining third going to digital audio.

Which digital audio platforms will have the most listeners?

This year, Spotify will have 83.1 million US listeners, and Pandora will have 54.2 million. Amazon and Apple are gaining listeners, and we expect Amazon to surpass Pandora by the end of 2022.

What share of internet users subscribe to audio products?

In 2021, there will be 121.9 million paid audio subscribers in the US, which account for 41.4% of internet users.

How much money will be spent on podcast ads?

US advertisers will spend $1.33 billion on podcast ads this year, a 38.7% year-over-year (YoY) increase.

WHAT’S IN THIS REPORT? An examination of trends, data, and strategies related to how marketers are approaching US audio advertising. Also, our latest ad spending and listener forecasts for radio, digital audio services, and podcasts.

KEY STAT: This year, US advertisers will spend $5.59 billion on digital audio services ads, an increase of 16.0% over 2020.

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Table of Contents

  1. Executive Summary
  2. Understanding the Opportunity
  3. Identifying Potential Disruptors
  1. Acting on Opportunities
  2. Key Takeaways
  3. Read Next
  1. Sources
  2. Media Gallery

Charts in This Report

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Ross Benes


Chuck Rawlings
Senior Researcher
Audrey Schomer
Senior Analyst
Peter Vahle
Forecasting Analyst
Paul Verna
VP, Multimedia

"Behind the Numbers" Podcast