Podcast Ads Perform, Host Reads Outperform

Sep 27, 2021

Results from the first systematic research in the podcast industry comparing host-read ads against announcer-read ads

Stitcher partnered with Signal Hill Insights to conduct a controlled exposure brand lift study testing ads for four different brands, all on the same podcast. Because hosts serve as trusted influencers for their audiences, a critical factor for this test was to isolate the effect among a show’s listeners. We surveyed 692 podcast listeners, and 412 of this group told us that they’re listeners to the show we tested, allowing us to isolate results from that group and gauge the impact of that relationship. For each brand, we tested one ad read by the hosts of the podcast, and one ad read by an announcer.

What we learned is that both kinds of podcast ads perform very well, but host reads outperform.

For each brand, we had eight brand health measures​​—such as Familiarity, Top of Mind Category Awareness, and Purchase Intent—meaning host reads or announcer reads could generate up to 32 total lifts. These are lifts over control, where exposure to the podcast ad resulted in respondents demonstrating more awareness of the brand, or a higher intent to purchase, than respondents who were exposed to the same podcast content, but without the ad.

Announcer reads generated 11 statistically significant lifts, while host reads generated 91% more, for a total of 21 lifts.

Brand Lift with Host Reads

We also saw strong brand recall. Understanding that both emerging and established brands are investing in podcasts, we made sure this was represented in the study, with two brands from each category.

Unaided Recall is a powerful indicator for how well a brand’s identity cuts through. With this measure, respondents are asked to say which brands they remember from a podcast, filling in a free-text box, with no prompting or options to choose from.

Unaided recall for established brands with host reads

For the two established brands, the host reads generated 66% more unaided recall than the announcer reads. 59% more listeners exposed to the host reads were able to recall the emerging brands, unaided, compared to those who heard announcer reads.

Unaided recall for emerging brands with host reads

These are just the top-line results from this study. View the full report to learn how each type of ad read motivates consumer action at every stage of the sales funnel. You will also learn the best strategy to leverage both host- and announcer-read ads for campaigns with class-leading effectiveness.

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