Podcasting could have more momentum right now than any other media format—and the opportunities for brand marketers is booming as well. New research from ad effectiveness improvement firm NCSolutions (NCS) affirms that podcasts are going mainstream—and consumers who subscribe to six or more (which the firm calls “Power Subscribers”) do more than simply listen to their favorite programs; they actively discover and buy the products advertised in the audiocast.
More than two-thirds (68 percent) of Power Subscribers have made a purchase compared to 42 percent of all podcast listeners, according to the research. In fact, many podcast listeners are repeat buyers: 34 percent say they’ve purchased products two or more times after hearing an advertisement on a podcast, while 17 percent have bought products they’ve heard featured four or more times. In addition, 29 percent of all podcast listeners have used a promotional code they’ve heard during an audiocast.
With one of the most robust and unique purchase data sets in the market, NCS has been measuring the incremental sales impact of advertising across all major media for more than 11 years. Podcasts are the newest addition to the NCS measurement suite.
“As their popularity has grown, podcasts have become a new advertising medium for CPG brands,” said Lance Brothers, chief revenue officer at NCSolutions, in a news release. “Podcast advertising hit a significant tipping point in 2021, with spending expected to reach $1 billion. As CPG brands look to justify further investments in the medium, they will need performance metrics that demonstrate the impact of their brands’ podcast advertising on incremental sales.”
Consumer attitudes towards podcast advertising
One-third of podcast listeners (33 percent) say ads during a podcast are a good way for advertisers to reach them, and 27 percent find ads are enjoyable to listen to. However, Power Subscribers are even more likely to welcome podcast advertising, finding it useful and relevant, the survey findings indicate. Among Power Subscribers, 42 percent feel podcast advertising is a good way for brands to reach out to them.
One-third (32 percent) of Power Subscribers feel podcast advertising helps them learn about unique products they wouldn’t have discovered elsewhere. More than half (53 percent) of Power Subscribers say advertising helps them discover new products and 28% of Power Subscribers say podcast advertisements are relevant to them.
What types of product are being purchased?
Three of the top five types of products purchased as a result of podcast advertising are CPG-related: food and beverage, beauty and grooming and health and wellness. According to the survey, 42 percent of all listeners purchased food and beverage products after hearing a podcast advertisement, while 35 percent purchased beauty and grooming products, and 31 percent bought health and wellness items.
Hosts make powerful influencers
Podcast listeners and subscribers are receptive to the host’s influence. When they hear a host endorse a product, 36 percent of all listeners say they will research the item, and 28 percent say they’re more likely to pay attention or remember the product. In addition, nearly one-third (32 percent) of Power Subscribers remember products endorsed by the host, and 30 percent of this type of subscriber say they trust the podcaster’s opinion of a product.
“A podcast is a personal medium. Hosts are very influential when in the ears of subscribers and partnering with a podcaster who speaks to your audience can be a very powerful strategy,” said Linda Dupree, CEO at NCSolutions, in the release. “Together, CPG brands have a real opportunity to connect and influence a listener’s purchase decisions; however just like any advertising campaign, there is a need to measure outcomes to fully realize the sales impact.”
Podcast popularity accelerates
Since the start of 2020, interest in podcasts has accelerated with more than one in three (34 percent) podcast listeners having started listening during that period. Among all podcast listeners, 88 percent say the time they’ve spent listening has either stayed the same or increased during the pandemic. Over half (56 percent) of Power Subscribers say they’re listening more frequently as well.
The findings are from a newly commissioned consumer survey by NCSolutions (August 2021). It is nationally representative with 2,043 respondents. 52% of the respondents indicated they are podcast listeners, ages 18+. The survey was weighted by age, gender, region, educational attainment and other demographics to accurately represent the overall U.S. population.