What is podcast’s return on ad spend? Acast surveys marketers

“Identifying a medium’s return on ad spend (ROAS) is tricky.”


That’s how Acast forthrightly introduces its new survey: Podcast’s Return on Ad Spend. (The deck is HERE.)

The company cites two previous surveys tackling the topic:


  • A 2020 Podsights study which settled on an ROAS of $2.42
  • An Acast/Spotify survey in Sweden which delivered an ROAS number of $6.20.


Now, to help identify how effective podcasts are on this metric in 2023, Acast Intelligence ran a study with 250 advertisers/marketers who have spent money on multiple podcast campaigns before. The study was conducted with Attest in May 2023. All study participants work full time jobs, have a household income of over 50K, and live in the USA.

The single-metric upshot of this new work is: An ROAS range of $4 to $6. The interest is in the details.

The $4-6 metrics is not a consensus; respondents in this survey expressed a range of expectation when asked: “How much do you think $1 of investment on podcasts would return?” The anwers are plotted below:

The survey also asked to compare predictions of podcast ROAS to several other media categories:

Interestingly, Acast asked podcast marketers whether their second podcast campaigns invested a higher, lower, or equal amount of dollars, compared to their first campaigns. Higher budgeting won the day, as 68% of respondents claimed they spent more the second time around the podcast block. Only two percent spent less.

Also interesting — Acast asked marketers whether large shows perform better than small shows. The marketing presumption in this survey is that large shows are more influential. Acast put that result against the company’s previous listener research showing that the smallest shows are the most influential, and their listeners would welcome more commercials:

What about total spend? Respondents were asked what share of total marketing spend should be on podcasts. Over 60% of the replies fell into the 7%-14% range:

Acast investigated marketers’ opinions about ad frequency, top-performing genres, the value of first-party data, marketing multipliers, funnel placement, and more. We recommend viewing the study directly. It is freely available HERE.

Brad Hill