Two podcasts walk into a bar

This blog post is the first in a series of posts about how marketers use podcasts to reach audiences. More than 600 brands are advertising on podcasts. Learn more about how Magellan tracks podcast advertising.

While most of the podcast ad landscape is dominated by direct response campaigns, the beer category an exception. Brand advertising is just about the only option available to beer breweries outside of events and in-store point-of-purchase displays. So how are beer brands using podcasts?

To find out, we analyzed 14 weeks of ads sampled from podcasts featured on Apple Podcasts’ top 200 list at the end of 2017.

Which breweries are buying ads on podcasts?

During our sample period, ads for seven brands of beer, owned by four big beverage companies, appeared on podcasts.

Please listen responsibly.

Which networks are brands buying?

Some beer brands favored sports podcasts to reach consumers:

  • Bud Light and Blue Moon appeared on ESPN podcasts like 30 For 30 and Fantasy Focus Football.
  • Miller Lite ads appeared on The Bill Simmons Podcast, represented by Midroll. Miller Lite has also appeared on Barstool SportsPardon My Take podcast.
  • PodcastOne featured ads for Yuengling on Jim Beaver’s Project Action and Talk Is Jericho. (It’s worth noting that Yuengling also appeared on PodcastOne shows like The Adam Carolla Show and Off The Vine with Kaitlyn Bristowe.)

By contrast, other brands advertised alongside podcasts featuring news- & pop culture-focused content:

  • The New York Times featured ads for Stella Artois on The Daily.
  • Lagunitas appeared on podcasts from National Public Media, like Embedded, TED Radio Hour, and Wait Wait… Don’t Tell Me!

In the true crime category, Budweiser appeared on Wondery’s podcast Young Charlie by Hollywood & Crime.

What are beer brands saying to listeners?

In our sample, ads were focused on pushing the beer brands’ message and backstory. You can listen to sample ads by clicking the link below in Google Chrome or Mozilla Firefox.

Repurposing of radio ads on podcasts is a fairly common tactic, and represent the only type of ad we tracked for Yuengling, with ads attempting to raise awareness of their Traditional Lager across four talk radio-styled podcasts (listen). Bud Light also repurposes radio ads, at least on a limited basis. For example, we found a “Game Gary” produced spot running on a sports podcast (listen).

The staple of podcast advertising is the “host-read” or “live-read” ad, voiced by the host (or one of the hosts) of the show during the recording of the episode. Blue Moon (listen), Bud Light, Lagunitas (listen), and Miller Lite all used live-read ads to reach audiences. Hosts for the podcasts 30 for 30, Fantasy Focus Football, TED Radio Hour, This American Life, and Pardon My Take each read a scripted ad for a beer brand during the podcast episode recording.

Are beer ads working?

Apple’s Podcast Analytics provides one view into how many ads listeners actually hear, and the early results look good. Another way to measure success: brand are seeing enough positive results to continue buying.

Our sample tracked a total of 17 ad spots placed on podcast episodes last September. That number jumped up by almost 65% in October, and another 46% in November.

Equally important: brands seem to be sticking with the podcasts where they advertise. Blue Moon ads have been running since September on ESPN’s 30 For 30 Podcast, the same time frame Miller Lite ads have been heard on Pardon My Take. Bud Light has had a consistent presence on Fantasy Focus Football since October. And Yuengling seems to have found success on both The Adam Carolla Show and Talk Is Jericho, running consistently on those podcasts during our sample period.

It’s only the beginning…

The four beverage companies currently advertising on podcasts are among the largest breweries, but they only make up a tiny fraction of the thousands of breweries currently operating in the US. On the other side are the hundreds (if not thousands) of beer-themed, beer-focused, or beer-friendly podcasts currently publishing content to an affluent audience.

And don’t forget: beer brands make up only a few of the 600+ advertisers using podcasts to reach their customers.

Magellan helps leading podcast networks like WNYC, Gimlet Media and Wondery win new business. More than 600 brands are advertising on podcasts. Learn more about how Magellan tracks podcast advertising.
Have questions about this data, or an idea for our next post? Email blog@magellan.ai
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