The Days of Podcasting’s Zero-Budget Advertising Are No More

By: Kaydee Ambas · December 06, 2023 · Reading Time: 2 minutes

Not Your Father’s Podcasts

The world of podcasts is going through some major changes, and the days of low-budget advertising are pretty much over. Things have gotten seriously competitive, with top shows pulling in millions of listeners.

Back in the day, podcasts relied on good ol’ word-of-mouth and didn’t bother much with advertising. But today, if you want your show to be in the running, that just doesn’t cut it. That’s why many podcast producers are opening up their wallets and throwing some serious cash into marketing their new shows.

A Whole New Ball Game

Podcasts have come a long way from exchanging host-read ads and crossing their fingers for high placement on podcast apps.

Amazon (AMZN) podcast studio Wondery is treating the release of its new Christmas podcast Tis The Grinch Holiday Podcast more like how Hollywood studios might market a new movie, complete with billboards and a “pop-up experience” in a California shopping mall. Meanwhile, Spotify (SPOT) has spent over $1 billion on its podcast business.

But that’s not all — as the podcast listener crowd keeps growing, the game is changing. It’s not just about engagement; it’s about cold, hard profitability. Podcast studios are bringing in former movie and streaming executives ‌to help bring their shows to the forefront of the cultural conversation and make sure they’re the talk of the town.

Money Where Their Mouth Is

Podcast studios are also investing more in shows’ artwork, filming podcast recording sessions to cross-promote on platforms such as YouTube (GOOGL) and TikTok, and looking to create a loyal audience across multiple shows, utilizing subscription services and live events to do so.

As people everywhere continue to listen to podcasts, Americans just might start to see them everywhere, too.

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