Data Makes Case For How Podcasts Helps Marketers Extend Ads To New Audiences.


A new analysis of Edison Research Share of Ear data shows that Americans who are listening to AM/FM radio station streams are not necessarily listening to podcasts too. The numbers, says Westwood One, make the case for why advertisers benefit by adding podcasting to their media plan.


The data shows that among those that are listening to AM/FM radio streaming, two-thirds also listen to over-the-air AM/FM radio. With that high degree of audience duplication, Westwood says adding AM/FM radio streaming to over-the-air AM/FM radio generates a 6% lift in incremental reach.


But there is less audience duplication between AM/FM streaming and podcasting. Just over one third (36%) of AM/FM radio streaming audiences also listen to podcasting. That means adding AM/FM radio streaming to podcasts generates a 36% lift in incremental reach. And About 62% of podcast listeners also listen to over-the-air AM/FM radio which means that adding podcasting to AM/FM radio generates a 12% increase in incremental reach.


“Once upon a time, digital audio just meant music streaming. In 2021, digital audio increasingly means immersive spoken word via podcasting,” said Pierre Bouvard, Chief Insights Officer at Cumulus Media/Westwood One. “Adding podcasts and AM/FM radio streaming generates incremental reach to over-the-air AM/FM radio media plans,” he writes in a blog post.


While radio’s supremacy among ad-supported audio remains unwavering according to Edison Research data, podcasting has doubled its share of the ad-supported audio pie. Podcasts scored a 12% Share of Ear in Q4 2020, up from 6% at the same point in 2019. That allowed it, for the first time, to jump past ad-supported Pandora which declined from 8% to 7%. Ad-supported Spotify remained fourth with a 4% share.


While some of the ad-supported Spotify share includes podcast listening – Edison says that 14% of listening to Spotify is to podcasts – the overall trend is clear. A four-year comparison of Share of Ear data by Westwood One reveals ad-supported Pandora and Spotify shares have dropped from 12% share in 2016 to 11% in 2020. Over the same period, podcast shares increased four-fold, from 3% to 12%.


“Podcasting also beat Pandora and Spotify handily among the persons 18-34 and persons 25-54 ad-supported audiences,” said Bouvard. The data shows most of Spotify’s growth has occurred with its ad-free subscription service.


Another takeaway from Edison’s Share of Ear data is that podcasting’s daily reach grew significantly among persons 18-34 in the last year. As of Q4 2020, podcasting’s daily reach was 25.8% of persons 18-34. That was a 53% year-over-year increase from 16.9% in Q4 2019. The weekly reach is even greater.


Multicultural podcast daily reach has also grown sharply during the last year. African American 18-34 reach increased 52% and Hispanic 18-34 reach is up 22%. The impact is even more pronounced among young adults.


Even with all of digital’s gains in recent years, the Edison data shows AM/FM radio’s 74% share still dwarfs all others. Its share of ad-supported audio is 11-times bigger than Pandora and 19-times larger than Spotify.


“Advertisers cannot check the box on audio without AM/FM radio,” said Bouvard, adding, “The pandemic did not alter AM/FM radio’s dominant position.”

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