Podcast listeners pay more attention to ads than other media consumers

by | Apr 18, 2024 | Marketing, Public Relations

Unless they’re watching the Super Bowl, a great many viewers and listeners tend to tune out ad messages on TV, radio and other media with audio—and increasingly so in this age of hyper-skeptical consumers. But new research from digital audio industry resource Sounds Profitable finds this isn’t the case with all audiovisual media—podcasts have not only shifted media consumption among all age groups, but these listeners are highly dialed in to their favorite series and programs, and that includes the marketing and ad messaging.

The firm’s latest report, The Ad Bargain: Attracting Consumer Attention in a Sea of Ads, is based on a consumer survey of over 2,000 Americans adults about advertising across a range of ad-supported media. With a focus on two of the fastest-growing channels in digital ad spend, YouTube and Streaming/CTV, the researchers found that results were clear across the board—podcast advertising leads the way in receptivity, attention and, most importantly, effectiveness.

podcast listeners

Key findings from the study include:

  • 71 percent of podcast listeners are willing to learn more about the brands that advertise on podcasts—higher than any other medium—-and 63 percent of respondents said their favorite podcasts’ sponsorship messages are less annoying than other ads.
  • Podcast listeners pay more attention to ads than listeners of other media and are more likely to listen to ads all the way through on podcasts compared to other platforms tested.

As a result, podcast listeners are more likely to take action:

  • 65 percent indicated they are likely to look for more information about brands that advertise in podcasts.
  • 59 percent would recommend such brands to others.
  • 53 percent would be likely to purchase a brand they heard advertised on a podcast.
  • 78 percent of weekly podcast users took action after seeing or hearing an ad.

podcast listeners

In addition to the general advertising survey questions, the firm selected five leading brands (GEICO, State Farm, Amazon, Walmart, and HelloFresh) and analyzed how they were perceived by users of podcasts, YouTube, and Streaming TV across four standard brand measures: Awareness, Favorability, Consideration, and Purchase. This group represents four heavy cross-channel advertisers and one top podcast advertiser (HelloFresh).

To test these brands, the researchers looked at the difference between the general population and weekly users for each of the three media channels, and learned the following:

  • For HelloFresh, a very active podcast advertiser, the differential between the general population and podcast listeners was 9 percent for Awareness, 10 percent for Favorability, 9 percent for Consideration, and 13 percent for Purchase (the highest positive differentials in the study).
  • Podcast listeners also led all four brand metrics for GEICO and State Farm, two of the four metrics for Amazon, and led or were tied for all four metrics for Walmart.
  • The average positive differentials for the average metrics across all five brands were led by weekly podcast listeners, with these results:
    • Awareness: +5 percent (CTV and YouTube were both +2 percent)
    • Favorability: +4 percent (CTV and YouTube were both +1 percent)
    • Consideration: +5 percent (CTV +3 percent, YouTube +2 percent)
    • Purchase: +9 percent (CTV and YouTube were both +3 percent)

podcast listeners

“We expected the results for podcasting to be superior with HelloFresh, which is a heavy podcast advertiser; however, we did not necessarily expect to see podcast listeners lead the way with all five brands,” said Tom Webster, partner at Sounds Profitable, in a news release. “These results clearly show that podcasting holds its own against any media platform as an advertising vehicle, and in fact leads the way in many key measures.”

Download the full report here.

The Ad Bargain was sponsored by Wondery, Spreaker, Betterhelp, ESPN Podcasts, Libsyn Ads, SiriusXM Podcast Network, NPR, and Paramount in partnership with Sounds Profitable. The study was conducted by Signal Hill Insights and comprised an online study of 2,020 Americans, ages 18+, weighted to US Census Data.

Richard Carufel
Richard Carufel is editor of Bulldog Reporter and the Daily ’Dog, one of the web’s leading sources of PR and marketing communications news and opinions. He has been reporting on the PR and communications industry for over 17 years, and has interviewed hundreds of journalists and PR industry leaders. Reach him at richard.carufel@bulldogreporter.com; @BulldogReporter


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