The Audio Indicator: 8,000 Branded Podcasts Live in 2021

October 2021

​​If Trader Joe’s ever opened its tasting panel to the general public, some challenges include: 

  • Limited capacity 
  • Endless NDAs 
  • Spots to attend might sell out faster than Coachella

Instead, with a branded podcast, Inside Trader Joe’s, anyone with internet access to an RSS feed or a podcast player can download an episode and witness a product tasting for goodies they might see on the shelf in several months. This is all thanks to branded content. 

There are over 8000 branded podcasts live in 2021 – and 600 podcasts launched their first episodes in 2020. Branded podcasts expand a brand’s story beyond the standard 15-30 second midroll, allowing a company to become the main story itself. From GE’s narrative series from 2015, The Message, to Charles Schwab’s advice podcast, Choiceology, there’s flexibility in the medium for how brands make their mark. While some brands produce custom podcasts in-house, others partner with audio industry leaders like Spotify or audio agencies. National Public Media recently released its first branded podcast with sponsor YouTube, The Upload, which dives into the origin stories of notable YouTube creators.

Branded podcasts offer long-term benefits. Podcasts are already a space where listeners are engaged: Podcasts outperform digital ads in brand recall as much as 4.4x, and listeners are 22% more likely to recall podcast ads versus TV ads. At NPR, 71% of podcast listeners have taken action in response to a sponsorship message. Advertisers can tap into the intimacy of audio by creating a regular touchpoint with listeners that increases brand awareness and cultivates loyal audiences. And with the evolution of data privacy practices and normalization of ad blockers, branded content allows brands to build an audience that seeks them out, whether that’s discovery in podcast players or podcast tiles showing up in Google Search.

Average podcast listening time per day continues to grow, and the IAB projects podcast advertising revenue to exceed $2B by 2023. Does your brand have a story to share?

About the Author

Tiffany Jeung is a Sr. Corporate Marketing Coordinator at National Public Media, where she manages paid marketing and marketing operations efforts. She is a graduate of Northwestern University, where she earned a Bachelor of Science in Journalism, focused in data journalism and science communications. When she’s not listening to podcasts, you can find her ballroom dancing or ruminating over a crossword puzzle.