New research is showing that as the podcast habit spreads among more Americans, one of the medium’s key advantages for advertisers continues to hold with new listeners. The customer experience platform DISQO finds that a third (33%) of podcast listeners say they pay more attention to podcast ads as compared to ads on other mediums. And that number jumps to 45% among people who listen to podcasts daily.
“Podcasts continue to show strong popularity across a wide range of consumer segments, and can be uniquely engaging from an advertising perspective. In fact, about two-thirds of consumers say that they either don’t mind, or actually enjoy podcast ads,” said Patrick Egan, Director of Research and Insights at DISQO. “The intimate nature of podcasting offers marketers a unique avenue to drive attitudinal and behavioral lift for their brands.”
Podcast ads are more easily skippable than ads on other media, such as broadcast radio, but DISQO says its survey finds it is not a widespread practice as only about a quarter of those surveyed said they pay less relative attention to podcast ads.
“Driven by its audio-only format, engaged listener base, and host-supported creative, we see fairly compelling evidence that podcast ads command more attention than ads in other digital channels,” the report says. “While this difference isn’t overwhelmingly large, it does suggest that consumers can be more influenced by podcast ads. The opportunity for outsized campaign performance is even stronger among more frequent listeners.”
Working in podcasting’s favor is what DISQO says is “clear evidence” that ads are positively – or at the very least neutrally – received. Its survey found that two-thirds of consumers say they either don’t mind or actively enjoy podcast ads. Overall, half of those surveyed said they don’t mind podcast ads while 15% went so far as to say they like them. Roughly a third (35%) dislike them.
“While few consumers ‘love’ advertising the way marketers do, the lack of negative sentiment and the presence of ample positive feelings suggest that podcast ads can meaningfully engage target audiences,” the report says. “Enjoyment is highly correlated with age and listening frequency.” It also points out younger adults, who are typically more frequent listeners, report more positive sentiment about podcast ads than older adults. The data shows 18 t 44 year olds said they liked podcast ads than those over age 44, by 10 points.
A big factor in why podcast ads are well-received and therefore more effective for marketers according to the study is that host-read ads become intimate to their most avid listeners, which DISQO says provides “a strong fit between the advertiser and the programming.” A third of those surveyed said having the commercials voiced by the host makes them like an ad more. The number increases to 44% among daily podcast listeners.
“Podcast sponsorships and host partnerships can go a long way in securing positive brand perceptions,” the report says. DISQO advises marketers to establish “specific and robust strategies” among their highest-allocation podcast spots so that their messages come across as authentic, embedded, and explicitly linked to the podcast topic and personality.
The findings are based on survey results from 34,841 consumers in DISQO’s audience from April 6 to 8. It asked consumers how often they engage with podcasts. Over one-third of U.S. consumers listen to podcasts weekly or more often, and less than one-third do not listen to podcasts at all. As a whole, it says about 70% of US consumers are engaged with podcasts, and about half are engaged either daily or weekly.
DISQO says the most frequent podcast users are more likely to be young, male, highly educated, and higher income. Among these groups, 35-45% of consumers are listening to podcasts weekly or more often, compared to only 25-35% of their counterparts. “That’s not to say that other groups are not engaged,” its report adds, saying older adults, women, non-college educated, and lower-income adults all listen with moderate frequency with roughly 30% listening daily or weekly. Nonetheless, it acknowledges their engagement levels are 20% to 30% less. DISQO says consumers aged 55-64 saw a 10-point increase in platform visitation in the past year, but consumers aged 25-54 are still 16 points higher on platform engagement overall.
The report also highlights that compared to some other media, podcasting has more flexibly which accommodates multi-tasking. Three in ten surveyed said they listen while cleaning. The same number said they listen while driving, and 24% said they listen while taking a walk. As a result, DISQO tells ad buyers they should be aware of the context when strategizing podcast marketing.
Among the other findings: About two-thirds state that their search behavior for podcasts is driven primarily by topic, and the remaining one-third said they looked for content by host and topics. And when it comes to recommendation, listeners trust their friends and family (52%) and social media (47%) the most to recommend new podcast content but 30% said they also get recommendations from the streaming platforms themselves.
Download DISQO’s “Proving the Power of Podcast Ads” study HERE.