Podcast advertising reportedly takes a hit as coronavirus forces businesses to cut costs

Ad Age interviewed several executives about how podcast advertising is changing along with listening in the coronavirus pandemic.

AdsWizz CEO Alexis van de Wyer observed, as other companies have, that most podcast listening during commutes has evaporated. But he also said that many brands have been less interested in advertising.

“We are either seeing canceling budgets or postponing campaigns,” van de Wyer said. “The type of advertisers is also changing: Auto dealerships, brick-and-mortar stores, sports, casinos—all those categories are getting hammered.”

Not only are many businesses cutting the ad budget due to shut-downs and stay-at-home orders, but many of those that are still running ads don’t want to be linked with discussions of the pandemic. Van de Wyer said there are media buyers blacklisting shows that talk about the coronavirus, and it’s a tough topic to avoid right now. According to the Listen Notes realtime podcast database, a RAIN News search found, 2,366 podcast episodes were published in a recent 24-hour period, that contained “coronavirus” in their descriptions.

Other industry execs also shared how they are approaching advertising amid the outbreak. “What I’m finding is marketers need us most with creative and targeting guidance,” said Lizzie Windhelm, senior VP of ad innovation for Pandora. “All of our sellers are auditing their creative and asking if it speaks to the consumer right now.”

Anna Washenko