Podcast Scalability: Maximize Your Audience, Simplify Your Buying

Jan 31, 2022

Podcasting is a diverse and wide marketplace, more so than any other medium. For instance, in Edison Research’s Podcast Network Ranker, it lists 35 different networks, each of which reaches at least 1% of the U.S. podcast audience. And the Apple directory is filled with 2.4 million podcasts. 

At first glance, it may sound challenging to achieve scale—as if it requires placements with dozens of networks and publishers—but it doesn't have to be so daunting. Here’s why: we’re #1 among those 35 networks (Q4 2020-Q3 2021), reaching 22% of U.S. podcast listeners. 

We know you want to reach the largest podcast audience of potential consumers, whether that’s a certain demographic or psychographic, and you can achieve this through our ability to scale.

Narrowing in on the ad-supported podcasts 

First let's take a step back, and make that 2.4 million podcasts number a lot more realistic. Not all of those shows are in regular production. In fact, as of November 2021, podcast host Buzzsprout estimated only about a half-million had published a new episode in the previous 90 days. Moreover, only a small percentage of the shows are actually monetized through advertising. 

The podcast market intelligence company Magellan.ai analyzes advertising on the top 3,000 shows in the U.S. They did a custom report for us, where they looked at 17,782 shows that appeared on their list between April 1, 2020 and March 31, 2021. They found ads in just 44% of those podcasts. That means we narrowed the set of ad-supported podcasts to around 7,700—that’s a heck of a lot less than 2.4 million (and here’s why ad-supported audio matters for you).  

We exclusively represent more than 300 of the very top podcasts, including Crime Junkie, Office Ladies, Conan O'Brien Needs a Friend, and NBC Dateline. 

And that's just a snapshot. Through our SXM Podcast Network, buyers can access more than 5,000 titles. That nets us a significant percentage of the ad-supported podcasts that are available to advertisers in the U.S.

Using announcer-read ads to help scale

Here’s why scale is important to advertisers of all sizes and verticals: Let's say you’re a direct-to-consumer brand who has a new product aimed at women aged 25 to 34. For host-read ads, you’ll want individual shows that index highly for that demographic, so you can leverage the host’s appeal to speak to their devoted listeners. But to efficiently level up, you'll also want to leverage announcer-read ads that are precisely delivered to that demographic across multiple shows.

Keep in mind that that audience segment of women 25-34 makes up no more than about 15% of the overall podcast audience. But working with a partner that has market-leading scale still lets you maximize your reach with a single buy, very efficiently. Being able to target women listeners, 25-34, on more than 5,000 podcasts means you're much closer to one-stop-shopping. 

The same goes for broader audience targets, too. For instance, we’ll have no problem helping you reach a significant portion of millennial adults who listen to podcasts, whether you’re leveraging host-reads, announcer-reads, our entire SXM Podcast Network, or all three. No matter your budget, the same holds true. But remember that podcasting has a very long tail. While many shows are reaching true mass audiences, a large percentage are exceptionally good at being (and staying) niche. Because of this, not every show available to advertisers has cracked the top 3,000 that Magellan tracks.

At SXM Media, we’ve been focused on scale because we want to make it even easier to navigate the most meaningful areas of the podcast landscape. Simply put, advertisers need options for maximizing the reach and efficiency of their ad dollar. Having access to SXM's industry-leading scale allows for more options and greater flexibility to hit your objectives. Get in touch with us today to learn more. 

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