Why brands can strike gold with podcasts

(Hint: It's all about the audience)

You already know that podcasts are kind of a big deal. We’ve seen 200% growth in podcast consumption hours YoY.1 But do you know why — aside from wildfire-like growth — podcasting is such an extremely unique and effective advertising environment? It turns out the reasons are pretty simple. There are three, and as much as we love deep dives into listener psychology, long chats with data gurus, and looking at fancy animated graphs, we won’t need any of that to explain why any of this matters. The facts speak for themselves.

  • Podcast listeners are a highly desirable, harder-to-reach audience. Marketers are all too familiar with the rise of cord-cutting,2 meaning younger audiences aren’t as likely to see broadcast TV and radio ads as they used to be. They’re harder still to reach on services that are replacing broadcast channels, thanks to the rise of ad-free streaming platforms. But this audience of young, engaged cord-cutters is hardly “unreachable,” if you know where to look. Instead, podcasts are poised to fill the gap between younger audiences and traditional media.

While the medium’s uptake is growing across all audiences, Edison clocked the biggest monthly year-over-year listening gains in the 12-24 age range.3 Weekly U.S. listeners average a stunning seven podcasts a week,4 and they’re open to advertising — our studies show 81% take action after hearing ads during a podcast.5 In fact, the flexibility of audio allows brands to speak to podcast fans across their day as they listen, whether commuting, working out, or chilling at home — how’s that for reachability? As Spotify’s learned, such screenless moments create even more opportunity to reach listeners in their own specific context.

  • Podcast listeners are exceptionally engaged. We’ve also learned there’s no such thing as a passive podcast listener. No matter the topic — daily news, true crime, high fantasy, or absurd comedy — people are turning to podcasts to dig into their passion. These passionate listeners cite three main reasons they tune into podcasts: to stay up-to-date, to be entertained, and to learn new things.6 Three out of four listeners give their favorite shows their full attention.7 And when they do, they feel they’re part of a niche community, as if they’ve discovered a secret. In those niche communities, listeners really trust what their favorite host has to say (or promote). That trust goes a long way for brands, with 41% of listeners saying they trust ads more in a podcast environment.8 In fact, 58% say they’re more likely to remember an ad after hearing it during a podcast precisely because they’re so engaged.9

  • Podcast listeners see hosts as true influencers. Within this immersive in-ear space, listeners form bonds with the hosts of their beloved shows. That connection goes beyond shared interests, inside jokes, and the intimate vibe that podcasts cultivate: nearly half of Spotify listeners say they trust hosts as much as their own friends.10 In a world where the word “influencer” is thrown around liberally, podcasters are the real deal — when they personally deliver ads via “host-reads,” the ads especially resonate with listeners. Our fans say that due to that authentic connection between listener and host, 54% believe podcast ads are more effective than ads they see on social media, TV, or elsewhere, and 52% trust whatever is being promoted.11

Even if we hadn’t given it away in the title, we’re pretty sure you would’ve noticed by now that each of the four points above ladder up to one pretty simple fact: it’s all about the audience. Want to connect with podcast listeners? Get in touch with our team to find out how your brand can make the most of this opportunity. And stay tuned to Spotify Advertising for more insights on advertising in the modern era.

1 Spotify First Party Data, Global, 2019 2 Forbes, “Portrait of a Cord Cutter,” June 2019 3 Edison Research & Triton Digital, The Infinite Dial 2019 4 Edison Research & Triton Digital, The Infinite Dial 2019 5 Crowd DNA & Spotify, “We’re All Ears,” AU, BR, DE, MX, UK, US, 2018 6 Edison Research & NPR, “The Spoken Word Audio Report,” US, 2019 7 Crowd DNA & Spotify, “We’re All Ears,” US, 2018 8 Crowd DNA & Spotify, “We’re All Ears,” US, 2018 9 Crowd DNA & Spotify, “Seize The Moments,” AU, BR, DE, MX, UK, US, 2019 10 Crowd DNA & Spotify, “Seize The Moments,” AU, BR, DE, MX, UK, US, 2019 11 Crowd DNA & Spotify, “Seize The Moments,” AU, BR, DE, MX, UK, US, 2019

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