Research reveals new wave of younger, brand-aware podcast listeners

The podcast boom shows little sign of abating, offering engagement and outreach opportunities for advertisers.

Podcasts: research found 62% of listeners more likely to engage with brand messaging (Getty Images)
Podcasts: research found 62% of listeners more likely to engage with brand messaging (Getty Images)

Research carried out by podcast indie Acast and audience measurement global powerhouse Nielsen has found that 45% of current podcast listeners started using the format only over the past 12 months.

The survey of 2,002 UK and Irish adults who consume a podcast on at least a monthly basis also found that 53% of users in the 18- to 34-year-old age group were new listeners (compared with 65% of over-55s), suggesting a healthy outlook for a platform that has continued to build on a lockdown-prompted boom.

More than a third (37%) of respondents said that they listened to podcasts every day, with more than two-thirds (70%) tuning in once a week, while almost a further third (32%) of listeners said that they expected to increase their use over the next six months. 

That compares with 25% who said that they expected to increase the amount of music they streamed and 27% who said that they would be streaming more video content. 

In further intriguing news for advertisers, 62% of respondents agreed that they would be more likely to interact with brand messaging and said that they have engaged directly with a company following an advert heard during a podcast.

And 31% said that they had considered or purchased a product mentioned in a podcast ad and 26% spread a positive word about their experience with a brand, with 24% following it on social and the same number, 24%, searching for more information about the brand online. 

Leo Goldingham, director of sales, UK at Acast, said the report is a clear indication of a buoyant sector with plenty of opportunity for growth and engagement: “Podcasts are an increasingly important part of life and culture for listeners all around the world, and more people are discovering podcasts for the first time every year.

“We trust our favourite podcasters to entertain and inform us — just as much as we trust them to recommend brands and products we’ll enjoy.

“Podcasts have become an integral part of thousands of brands’ marketing strategies but, together with Nielsen, our research shows there are still huge opportunities for advertisers to reach untapped audiences.”

One of the most impressive findings from the report is the listen-through rate, with 41% of respondents saying that they listened to “most” or “about half” of ads during podcast episodes that were 30 to 45 minutes long. For downloaded episodes, 71% of listeners said that they listened to “all” or “most” of an episode. 

It wasn’t all good news, with 29% of respondents complaining that there were too many ads during podcasts, but even that compares very favourably with other platforms such as YouTube (with 52% grumbling about ads interrupting their content) and radio (37%).

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