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US Digital Audio Ad Spending 2020

Examining Radio, Streaming Audio, and Podcast Advertising Opportunities amid the Pandemic

About This Report
The pandemic put pressure on media budgets and changed users’ listening behaviors, forcing advertisers to restructure their audio strategies.
Table of Contents

Executive Summary

Audio is a small, but growing part of digital advertising. With the pandemic affecting listening patterns and media budgets, marketers are figuring out how to realign their audio strategies.

How much will advertisers spend on digital radio this year?

US digital radio ad spending will reach $3.72 billion. While digital radio ad spending will be down from last year, we expect a rebound in 2021.

Is programmatic becoming more common in digital audio?

This year, 16.5% of digital radio ads will be transacted programmatically, and that figure will reach 21.0% by 2022.

Are more people tuning into podcasts?

The number of US podcast listeners will increase 16.0% year-over-year (YoY) to 106.7 million.

How much will be spent on podcast advertising?

We forecast US podcast ad spending for the first time this year. US podcast ad spending will grow 10.4% to $782.0 million and surpass $1 billion in 2021.

WHAT’S IN THIS REPORT? This report covers the current state of audio advertising with a focus on how the pandemic has affected traditional and digital radio. It also includes our inaugural forecasts for podcast ad spending and listenership.

KEY STAT: US digital radio ad spending will shrink 17.0% this year to $3.72 billion.

Here’s what’s in the full report


Exportable files for easy reading, analysis and sharing.


Reliable data in simple displays for presentations and quick decision making.

18expert perspectives

Insights from industry and company leaders.

Table of Contents

  1. Executive Summary
  2. Radio Advertising Outlook
  3. Podcast Advertising Outlook
  1. Key Takeaways
  2. eMarketer Interviews
  3. Read Next
  1. Sources
  2. Media Gallery

Interviewed for This Report

Rachel Adams
Head of Media Activation
Interviewed May 27, 2020
Kareem Ameen
Director, Addressable Strategy and Activation
Interviewed August 7, 2020
Diana Anderson
Carat USA
Senior Vice President and Group Director, National Audio and Local Digital Activation
Interviewed April 28, 2020
Gary Coichy
Pod Digital Media
Founder and CEO
Interviewed August 5, 2020
Simon de Beauregard
Pernod Ricard
Engagement Director, Absolut, Malibu, Kahlúa, and Smithworks
Interviewed August 11, 2020
Stephani Estes
Senior Vice President and Executive Director, Media
Interviewed August 5, 2020
Erica Farber
Radio Advertising Bureau
CEO and President
Interviewed April 29, 2020
Jim Gaither
The Richards Group
Principal, Brand Media
Interviewed June 10, 2020
Dan Granger
Oxford Road
Founder and CEO
Interviewed June 15, 2020
Natalie Hauptman
Senior Acquisition Manager
Interviewed July 25, 2020
Allan Jones
Founder and CEO
Interviewed June 16, 2020
Giles Martin
Oxford Road
Executive Vice President, Client Strategy and Media Operations
Interviewed June 15, 2020
Siara Nazir
Head of Digital Marketing
Interviewed May 22, 2020
Shane Pittson
Vice President, Growth
Interviewed June 18, 2020
Chris Record
Senior Vice President, Ad Product Management and Product Operations
Interviewed May 19, 2020
Jay Richman
Vice President and Head of Global Advertising Business and Platform
Interviewed May 15, 2020
Brett Robinson
National Public Radio (NPR)
Vice President, Ad Ops
Interviewed February 24, 2020
Adel Saadi
Co-Founder and CEO
Interviewed August 7, 2020


Ross Benes


Paul Briggs
Principal Analyst
Nicole Perrin
Principal Analyst
Chuck Rawlings
Senior Researcher
Shelleen Shum
Senior Director, Forecasting
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