Digital audio experiences are even sweeter when they're shared—like belting out '80s anthems while road-tripping with friends, or watching your partner's every expression as they finally listen to that life-changing podcast.
This phenomenon, sometimes called "co-listening," refers to when two or more people listen to audio content together at the same time. But until recently, many advertisers didn't fully appreciate the value of this trend—or how they could be using it to their advantage in their digital audio advertising campaigns.
A new study, The Togetherness Effect, showcases just why advertisers should be paying attention. For one, co-listening is an incredibly common occurrence among Spotify listeners: Nearly three-quarters (74%) of survey respondents said they co-listen to digital audio at least once a week. What's more, a full 67% percent of co-listeners pay some or a high degree of attention to advertisements, compared to 58% of solo listeners.1
These results highlight how understanding different listening patterns can create opportunities for brand wins:
Methodology: Studying shared listening on Spotify
To conduct The Togetherness Effect, Spotify and IPG polled more than 1,300 U.S. listeners across a range of demographics. Based on their answers, participants qualified for either solo or co-listening environments. They were then randomized to receive a test or control ad. Each subject listened to a 30-minute audio session through a speaker, smartphone, or laptop/tablet. They were then asked a series of questions to gauge the impact of the randomly assigned ads.
Findings: Who's co-listening—and why?
The study found that co-listening is a natural behavior for a wide range of audio fans. Here are a few highlights of who's engaging with the trend:
- 86% of adult Gen-Z listeners co-listen at least once a week, followed by millennials (78%), Gen X (70%), and boomers (50%).
- Around 79% of men and 68% of women co-listen once per week or more frequently.
- Parents tend to co-listen at a higher rate (82%) compared to non-parents (65%).
In terms of what inspires people to co-listen, participants said the practice helps uplift their mood and promote togetherness. In open-ended responses, respondents also described co-listening as a "special bonding moment"—one that helps them "have fun" and "sing our hearts out."
Impact: What does co-listening mean for advertisers?
The positive associations that people tend to have while co-listening may translate into increased receptiveness to advertising messages. According to the study, co-listeners were happier than average listeners overall. They also demonstrated +12% higher search intent after hearing ads, as well as +8% higher purchasing intent and +11% more favorability toward ads, compared to the control group.
In other words: Co-listening can lead to better moods, and potentially more engaged listeners open to hearing your message.
Actions: How can advertisers tap into co-listening?
To tap into this well-primed co-listening audience, advertisers can target by:
Aim for communal listening devices like game consoles, TVs, and speakers.
Time of day
Downtimes like lunch or evenings may be more conducive to co-listening than ads played during working hours. The study found that more people tend to co-listen after 5 p.m.
The top five co-listening moments are when listeners are relaxing, hanging out with friends, cooking, entertaining kids, and doing yoga.
Co-listeners tend to prefer story-driven advertisements over product-forward ones.2 They also seem to react favorably toward podcast ads: Participants in the study showed +17% search intent and +10% willingness to learn about a brand after co-listening to podcast ads.3
With Spotify Ad Studio, advertisers can test multiple strategies to find the ideal way to reach their target audiences—testing multiple combinations of the above elements to find that sweet spot.
To target a co-listening market on Spotify, sign up with Ad Studio today or get the full details of the study by filling out the form below.
1, 2, 3. Spotify 1P Data, "The Togetherness Effect." March 2023.