By Focusing On Non-Listeners, Podcasters Hope To Grow Their Reach Among Latinos.


The latest Edison Research data shows 44% of U.S. Latinos have not yet listened to a podcast. That may be down 11 points from a year ago, but in an effort to help shrink those numbers further Edison has released a report on the non-listeners in the hopes that the information will help creators design shows and strategies that will bring more Hispanics onboard.


The biggest reason cited by Latino non-listeners is a sense that podcasts are not for them. It was cited as a factor by seven in ten. Nearly half said they don’t have enough time to listen or that podcasts are too long. One-third also worry that listening to a podcast will eat up too much of their data plan. A similar number said there are no podcasts that appeal to them, while 31% said they do not listen because podcasts cost money.


Elsie Escobar, cofounder of She Podcasts and Community Manager at Libsyn, said during a webinar Thursday that her experiences as an immigrant showed her that spending money on family and food was always more important. “This feels like it will change as LatinX family structures and culture here in the U.S. evolve, particularly given the world that we’re living in now,” she predicted.


Gabriel Soto, Director of Research at Edison Research, also thinks that the reasons cited for not listening shared by many of the non-listeners suggests that many do not understand podcasting. That could mean that some who say they that podcasting isn’t for them may instead be conversion candidates if they’re better acquainted.


Edison’s survey data shows Latino podcast non-listeners are more likely to be women – they make up 56% of non-listeners – and older. “Thirty percent are over the age of 55,” noted Soto. “Non-listeners are also more likely to be born outside the U.S. – 37% say they are.” He said 46% of non-listeners speak only or mostly English at home, suggesting first generation Latinos are being lost in the middle between Spanish-language shows and English-shows not speaking to their bilingual, feet-in-two countries reality.


Escobar thinks one way Hispanic women could be brought into the medium is by tapping into their desire to stay connected to what a family member may be talking about, and then evolve their habit into listening to shows that spark their interest.


What would it take to get non-listeners overall to become users of the medium? The data shows 43% of those surveyed said they would listen if there were podcasts about topics that interest them. Three in ten said they would listen if podcasts were easier to discover, a quarter said they would if they had more data on the mobile plan, and one in five said they’d listen if there were Spanish-language shows.


Escobar said hearing one’s own stories and voices on a medium is a factor that cannot be ignored. “For you to recognize yourself, it immediately connects you to something,” she said.


There are several ready-made ways for podcasters to reach non-listening Latinos. Nearly two-thirds listen to AM/FM radio each month, and just as many are using YouTube for music. Another 44% listen to streaming audio services like Spotify and Pandora.


“It’s time we take to heart that non-listeners first experience or gateway to podcasts is through video,” said Escobar. “Yes podcasting at its core is an audio medium and it’s meant to be listened to, but for these audience, listening on podcast apps is not going to be that first exposure.”


Social media, especially Facebook, would be a good way to reach the non-listener. Edison says 87% use social media including 71% that use Facebook. “These non-listeners can be reached somewhere, and this is that somewhere,” said Soto.


Despite all the focus on those missing, Edison’s report released in June delivered a positive story for podcasting among Hispanic audiences. It shows a majority 56% of U.S. Latinos aged 18 and older now report having ever listened to a podcast. That is up 24% from a year ago.


The Latino Podcast Listener report is based on more than 2,500 online interviews of U.S. Hispanics aged 18 and older in May 2021. The survey was offered in both English and Spanish with 17% of respondents opting to take the survey in Spanish.


Download the Latino Podcast Listener Report HERE.

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