James Cridland

Radio: the gecko’s cheating on you

If you’ve not yet discovered it, Magellan is an interesting company. It monitors the top 2,000 podcasts in the US Apple Podcasts trending chart, and produces ad reports. Here’s the ad report for January 2019.

I’ve found the differences between podcast advertising and radio advertising quite stark. When I last looked at these charts in detail, in November, it was very obvious that US radio’s biggest advertisers were nowhere to be seen on podcasting. For whatever reason, podcasting has appeared to attract a different type of advertiser.

US radio, of course, attracts $15.9bn of annual advertising revenue; while podcasting attracts a rather more disappointing $314m. It’s forecast to grow quite a bit in the next few years: but, as a wise man said, double nothing is still nothing.

The new figures for January still show ZipRecruiter at #1 in podcasting; Squarespace, a website company, is also in the list, as are all the typical podcast advertisers. There’s an electric toothbrush in the list; a mattress company; a website that lets you buy your stamps at home.

But new in this month’s top 5 is an advertiser familiar to US radio listeners. While the company’s gobby gecko, speaking in a British accent to make him more “unexpected”, hasn’t made it yet to podcasting, the company itself has. Geico, a US insurance company, was US radio’s #1 advertiser in 2017, and #2 in 2018 (beaten by DIY store The Home Depot). And now Geico are the #2 podcast advertiser as well.

The benefits of audio advertising is well known. Those benefits work well on radio; but also work well for podcasting, too. It’s probably no accident that Geico is now one of the largest advertisers in podcasting too: a medium that, like radio, is highly habitual.

Podcasting is now attracting one of radio’s biggest advertisers. Should we worry that the gecko is cheating on us?