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Podcasts are growing, even as Facebook draws back

The opportunities in podcast advertising are expanding, even as Facebook steps away from its nascent platform to prioritize video.

3 min read

Marketing Strategy

A radio mic and an "on air" sign are shown.

Fringer Cat / Unsplash

Just a few days after Facebook’s plans to drop its nascent podcast service became public, a new report highlights the growing opportunity in podcast advertising and marketing.

Podcast advertising spend in the US is expected to hit $2.13 billion in 2022, up 47%, and is estimated to increase more than 100% over the next 24 months to reach $4.2 billion in 2024, according to a forecast from IAB and PwC.

Three critical factors are driving increased ad investment in podcasts, per the report:

  • Content and listener growth
  • Significantly higher use of dynamic ad insertion
  • More ad spend in categories such as true crime and sports

“Everything right now is aligned to drive growth,” IAB’s Chris Bruderle told Variety, adding, “More than anything, podcasting has proven that it can deliver beyond direct-to-consumer advertising to support brand-building and drive business outcomes.”

The IAB released its study ahead of its Podcast Upfront event, which started today and features brands including Disney, NPR and Paramount touting their podcast offerings and related ad opportunities.

Facebook suggests video for podcast creators

Despite the growing interest in podcasts, Facebook is closing down its year-old Audio hub and Soundbites features next month. Its Clubhouse-style Live Audio Rooms will become part of Facebook Live. 

An email sent by the company to its podcasters suggested they make the move to short-form video via Reels, TechCrunch reports.

“We are seeing podcast-related content being developed in video, Reels and Live to engage and grow audiences,” the email stated. 

The Verge noted that Facebook’s launch of its podcast service last year came following a period of hype surrounding Clubhouse. By encouraging podcasters to move to video, the company now seems to be trying to capitalize on the explosive popularity of short video content on TikTok as that platform expands its marketing solutions.

Our take

Facebook’s pivot is likely more about its internal strategy as it copes with Q1 results that fell below expectations than about the viability of podcasts versus video.

The podcast market already has big players, including Apple and Spotify, and they continue to grow. Interest from traditional video brands such as Disney and Paramount in this space suggests that there are as many content creators moving into podcasts as there are moving in the other direction towards video.

In short, today’s media environment is multifaceted, and marketers would do well to diversify their strategies across channels and remain open to new possibilities for engaging audiences.

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