Data & Tech

Podcast ad revenue growth slowed for second year in a row: report

Podcast ad revenue increased by 5% from 2022 to 2023, a slower rate than in previous years, according to an IAB report.
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Podcast ad revenue growth slowed for the second year in a row in 2023, but it’s on track to cross the $2 billion mark this year, according to the IAB’s annual US Podcast Advertising Revenue Study.

The IAB, which hosted its podcast upfront last week, largely attributed the slowdown to “a challenging advertising climate that particularly affected mid-tier companies.” A few of the biggest podcasting companies saw double-digit growth, according to the report, but collectively, last year marked the industry’s first year of single-digit growth since at least 2015.

Off year: Podcast ad revenue reached $1.9 billion in the US in 2023, per the IAB. That’s up 5% from $1.8 billion in 2022, a significantly slower growth rate than the industry has seen in recent years.

  • From 2021 to 2022, podcast ad revenue jumped by 26%.
  • From 2020 to 2021, it shot up by 72% to cross the $1 billion milestone.

Podcast ad revenue growth was outpaced by overall digital ad revenue growth last year, another change from 2022, when podcasting showed stronger growth than digital. But single-digit growth could continue to be an outlier: The IAB predicts that this year will mark a return to double-digit growth, with revenue on track to more than double its growth rate from 5% to 12%, pushing the industry beyond $2 billion in ad revenue. The industry had previously been on track to hit that number in 2022, according to the IAB.

Brand boost: So-called niche categories, including energy, government, tech, law, and sports, represented more than a quarter of podcast ad revenue last year and in 2022, per the report. Financial services and arts, entertainment, and media also contributed significantly to podcast ad revenue.

The CPG and retail categories grew their share of the podcast ad pie in 2022 and 2023, which demonstrates their “increased leveraging of digital platforms that enable data-driven, direct connections with consumers, which helps CPG with branding, while helping retailers personalize by geolocation,” according to the report.

Have a laugh: Comedy podcasts accounted for the largest share of ad revenue by genre last year, clocking in at 17%, up three percentage points from 2022. It’s also the most listened to podcast genre in the US as of January, according to Edison Research, and added 268 new advertisers in the fourth quarter of last year, per podcast media planning platform Magellan AI.

Sports follows comedy in terms of podcast ad revenue, though its share was down two points, from 15% in 2022 to 13% last year. News podcasts’ share of revenue stayed flat at 12% in 2023 after falling from the top spot in 2022 for the first time since 2018.

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