McDonalds tops iHeart podcast advertising for Q1 2024

I’ve been rumbling over an article in support of industry measurement organisations and resources like GfK, Triton and, in this instance, Magellan AI. ARN and iHeart have been using this particular artificial intelligence to analyse thousands of episodes “from 400+ of Australia’s most popular podcasts”, determining the top brands advertising in the medium. This does not, I assume, include most of LiSTNR‘s suite of podcasts, although I am sure they will be as keenly interested in this top 15 as ARN. LiSTNR was just ahead of ARN in sales representation by monthly listeners in the latest Triton Australian Podcast Ranker.

This quarter, Q1, 2024, McDonalds is No 1. They were also No 1 Q1 2023. For the other three quarters Amazon was No 1. This time it is No 8. Having no idea what LiSTNR’s top 15 is I wonder where Amazon currently would sit on their equivalent?

There is also only one other company in Q1 2024 list who also appeared on Q4, 2023, besides Amazon and McDonalds. That’s Wesfarmers, at 14 both times, representing Bunnings, Officeworks and Kmart, the latter of whom interestingly appears at No 15 on this list too. There are no gambling companies this quarter (against three for Q4 2023, which would have encompassed NRL and AFL finals) but six finance, business banking and insurance companies. The top 15 is below.

I mention measurement because last month Spotify let their certification with the Interactive Advertising Bureau (IAB) lapse. IAB develops industry standards, conducts research, and provides legal support for the online advertising industry. I don’t think I can put decision by Spotify any better than Neal Lucy, the EVP of Strategy and Product for Oxford Road who said:

“You can say you’re compliant, but if there’s no auditing, you’re judging your own homework.”

Spotify has never paid to be a part of our Triton Australian Podcast Ranker, on which none of their exclusive podcasts (like the US’s most listened to Joe Rogan Experience) have ever appeared. Or now of IAB, who have been increasingly critical of a lack of standards and regulations for the US podcast industry. Like Meta removing the news feed tab from Australian’s Facebook feeds, this decision by Spotify is another big company saying that they don’t answer to anyone.

Closer to home, and with The Australian Financial Review deciding they will not longer provide print copies in Western Australia apparently after Kerry Stokes’ Seven West Media doubled the cost, the Audited Media Association of Australia (AMAA) has also announced they too will no longer audit the amount of newspapers that publishers print. Yes, print publications have dramatically dwindled in a digital world, but for advertisers who might pay across digital and print it means that the supplier’s numbers provided are at their discretion.

Possibly those two decisions don’t impact you at all.

But I am feeling that we increasingly want to read and research plus be presented with facts, not a filtered or biased view, before decisions or choices are made. That’s why I am grateful that iHeart and ARN do make this list of top podcast advertisers available, as they are under no obligation to do so.

GfK has released two provincial survey results, one for the Gold Coast, the other of Newcastle in May. The Gold Coast had ARN’s Hot Tomato at No 1, with the best results and biggest lead in the station’s history. Newcastle had SCA’s Triple M in the same situation. For local advertisers looking to connect with people on the Gold Coast or in Newcastle, they give guidance on where might be the best investment, meaning these surveys are not just a battle between stations and networks.

Podcast advertisers, as you can see above, are more national brands than local. Technology is becoming better available thought to create almost real time advertising turnaround in podcasts as well as locational and targeted for radio networks.

With podcasting increasingly effective to US advertisers, how it is measured in Australia, and the audience size that receives that messaging, should also be regulated and freely accessible. We too should not just accept networks and media houses marking their own homework.

Jen Seyderhelm is a writer, editor and podcaster for Radioinfo
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