February 14, 2017

Podcasts—Back and Bigger Than Ever

Let’s pretend it’s 2010. Your friend asks, “Have you been listening to this podcast?” Everyone stares blankly at said individual because they’re thinking podcasts are those weird audio recordings that loners produce in their parents’ basement when they’re not crushing the high score in DDR at the local arcade.

Fast-forward to 2017. Podcasts like Serial, This American Life and 2 Dope Queens have received national exposure, covering a range of topics, from comedy to lifestyle pieces to criminal cases.

This has opened the door for many advertisers. If you’re a podcast junkie like me, you’ll hear an overload of promotions for Squarespace, MailChimp and Casper Mattresses—no matter what region of the world you’re downloading content in.

So, what the heck changed in the past few years to make podcasts a desirable platform for both listeners and advertisers? Let’s dig in.

  • Listeners are all over podcasts. According to a report released in early 2016 by Edison Research and the IAB, about 21% of sampled people in the United States (age 12+) have listened to a podcast in the last month. To give you some comparison data, that’s the same number of Americans who use Twitter. Crazy!
  • Advertisers are seeing a ROI. This same report is claiming that 65% of surveyed listeners said podcast ads increase their purchase intent. And from a branding standpoint, 42% of listeners said they’re likely to visit an advertiser’s website after hearing an audio promo. While it’s tough to quantify metrics with podcast advertising, things like promo codes for offers can help gauge impact.
  • It’s not that annoying. Media analytics company comScore has reported that consumers find podcast advertising to be the least intrusive out of all digital ads.

You may be asking yourself, what does the average podcast listener look like? And how do I go about purchasing space for my brand?

Great questions. Let me help you out.

Who’s listening?

Based on the Edison Research and Triton Digital Podcast Consumer 2016 report, here are some generic demographic podcast listener stats:

  • 63% White, 16% African American, 12% Hispanic, 4% Asian, 5% other.
  • Americans age 18–34 have the highest listenership, followed by the 35–54 range. These two age groups make up 72% of the podcast consumer audience (not to mention 59% of the U.S. population).
  • 41% of podcast listeners have a household income of 75K+, and 22% of them have a four-year college degree.
  • The average podcast consumer listens to 4 hours and 10 minutes of podcast content per week.

Those are some powerful numbers!

How do I purchase space?

Companies like Midroll, Wondery and Gimlet are ahead of the game offering services to help pair advertisers with appropriate podcasts based on their content and messaging. A quick Google search will also provide you with a plethora of podcast advertising networks, such as Podlexing, PodGrid, Adopter, Authentic and Archer Avenue.

Unfortunately, if you’re looking for a more regional approach, the industry isn’t quite there yet. Check in with local radio stations or content providers in your service area to see if they offer sponsorship opportunities.

Key takeaway: Podcasting is growing by leaps and bounds, so get on board.

Happy listening!