New categories in Apple Podcasts: True Crime listeners love Madison Reed

A week ago, Apple started rolling out new podcast categories. We took an early look at advertising in one new category: True Crime.

We analyzed 181 podcasts that were listed as “popular podcasts” in the True Crime category on the Apple Podcasts website as of July 29, 2019.

We’ve picked up ads on 66 of those podcasts. While we’re sure the numbers will change, we’ve collected some early observations below.

Which advertisers dominate True Crime?

Every month, we publish a ranking of the most frequent advertisers in our sample of the top 2,000 podcasts — here’s the ranking for June.

The usual suspect for the #1 spot on that list is ZipRecruiter. The True Crime category is different: the most frequent advertiser in both 2018 and 2019 has been Madison Reed.

Here’s the 10 most frequent advertisers on True Crime, as measured by detection of pre- and mid-roll ads since the beginning of 2019:

Advertisers on True Crime podcasts skew towards direct response

86% of the ads we’ve picked up on these podcasts since the beginning of 2019 are direct response, meaning that the ads mention a trackable landing page or promo-code. By comparison, just over 70% of the ads we analyzed in our Q1 report on the top 2,000 podcasts were direct response.

Ads on True Crime podcasts up 30–40% YOY

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Ads on True Crime podcasts ranked in the top 400

We compared the number of ads detected in May and June 2018 against the number of ads we detected in May and June 2019. We detected 43% more ads in May 2019 than the year before, and 33% more ads in June 2019 than the year before.

Why focus on May and June? We only started tracking the top 2,000 podcasts in Q4 2019. Before that, we were tracking the top 400 podcasts.


Every week, Magellan samples episodes from 2,000 shows that rank in the Top Podcasts view available through Apple Podcasts in the US.

Here are a few other details that could impact our analysis:

  • Categories are selected by each podcast (not by us). Some podcasts may add or remove the True Crime category in the future, changing the mix of podcasts.
  • We excluded post-roll ads, and ads injected on back-catalog episodes. We also excluded podcasts advertising on other podcasts, and foundations.

Magellan AI creates tools that help marketers at brands like SimpliSafe, Wix, and ThredUP spend intelligently on podcast advertising. Podcast publishers like WNYC and Audioboom use Magellan to track advertisers spending money in the podcast space. Learn More.

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Magellan AI helps leading podcast networks like WNYC, Gimlet Media and Wondery grow revenue. Discover 4,000+ brands advertising on podcasts at

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