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Australia is still ‘a bit slow’ when it comes to podcast advertising

Australia has one of the biggest audiences in the world when it comes to podcasts, but is still behind the ball when it comes to one particular area.

To celebrate its 10th anniversary globally and seventh in Australia, Acast managing director AU/NZ, Henrik Isaksson and content director, Guy Scott-Wilson sat down with Mumbrella to discuss the podcast company’s growth over the last decade and what’s still to come.

When it comes to podcast advertising in Australia in particular, Isaksson said “we’ve only seen the tip of the iceberg”.

“I know that sounds like a cliche, but we really are comparing to the UK, Sweden, Canada, where podcasting is  a large part of the media mix. And that’s not the case in Australia, despite us having the biggest audience footprint in the world. More Aussies are listening to a podcast than anywhere else in the world,” he said.

“And with that said, [Australia is] probably just a bit slow on it. I think that’s definitely one thing that stands out.

Isaksson and Scott-Wilson worked immensely hard to grow Acast in Australia in 2017. In that year, podcasting in Australia was valued at $5 million in terms of advertising expenditure. Today, advertising expenditure sits at just under $100 million.

Both knew at the time that podcasting and podcast advertising was going to grow. For Australia, it was a case of keep up or get left behind.

“Where audiences go, advertising revenue will follow, and that’s always been the case,” Isaksson said.

“So even though that $100 million number – that’s recorded ad revenue, by the way – it’s massively undercooked. We know that more than half of Australians now listen to a podcast – the industry is worth not much, let’s be honest.

“And if you look at traditional radio where you have obviously a bigger footprint, it’s worth more than ten times that.”

On the content front, Australians – and podcast listeners globally – were consuming daily news much more than any other genre throughout COVID. However, that has since changed.

“With COVID obviously kind of disappearing from the news agenda, we’ve seen consumer behaviour really swing back towards the reason people fell in love with podcasting in the first place – which is entertainment, listening to great conversations, funny conversation between two charismatic hosts and feeling like a fly on the wall in that conversation,” he said.

“And I think that holds true globally as well. I think from a podcast creation and a consumer standpoint, Australia really stands up with what’s happening in more mature markets.”

Meanwhile this week, McDonald’s was revealed as the biggest advertiser on Australian podcasts according to new research revealed by iHeart and Magellan AI.

The fast food giant was the biggest spender, ahead of Youi Insurance, and Wise. The largest year-on-year increases in advertising spend were in the genres of comedy, health and fitness, and science.

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