Do Podcasts Ads Work Better Than Other Audio Ads? New Research Offers Some Insight.


Are podcasts a better medium for brands to reach consumers than other audio media, like radio or streaming music? The podcast company Acast thought so, but quantifying that hunch took a bit of doing. So it teamed up with the market research company Differentology to demonstrate the value of podcasts, and show that podcast advertising is more effective than other audio channels.


Attention research typically relies on eye-tracking studios. But for an audio medium, that tool is unreliable at best. So Acast conducted a 15-minute online quantitative survey, in which participants were asked to pay attention to a video of someone washing up or ironing. That was in order to replicate the real-life experience of multitasking when listening to audio or second-screening while audio plays in the background. Participants were then asked questions about the content and advertising they listened to.


Acast calls its findings “staggering” and says they demonstrate the power that podcasts have to connect audiences, deliver messaging and — most importantly — keep people listening.


The research finds that when it comes to absolute, undivided attention, nearly two-thirds (64%) of respondents pay full attention to podcasts. That compared to 49% of music streamers and 44% of radio listeners. Acast calls that evidence for podcasts’ ability to encourage connection and engagement.


When it comes to recalling information, podcasts also lead the way. For example, when asked nine questions about the ads they’d been played, 35% of respondents were able to recall and correctly answer at least three questions for host-read podcast advertising, and 36% paid attention to the generic dynamically inserted ads – a nine-point percentage increase over the average. The numbers are even more impressive when compared to radio where those correctly answering questions about an ad were three percentage points below the average.


Acast says it appears what is driving the difference is that more than two thirds (68%) of research participants said that podcast ads “stand out” more than streaming or radio spots. They also said podcast ads have more “clarity” than music and radio, while 54% describe podcasts as “engaging.”


The research also shows that podcast ads promote affinity, with more than half (52%) agreeing that host-read ads are for “people like me” while only a third feel affinity for music streaming ads.


“Our research demonstrates contextual evidence of engagement with podcasts, but also shows why having better ads — designed specifically for podcasts — is equally important,” says Acast.


The research was conducted April 8 to 22 in the U.K. among adults aged 18 and older. The sample included 200 weekly radio listeners, 200 weekly music streaming listeners, and 200 weekly podcast listeners.


The content people were exposed to included a radio show from the CHR-formatted Capital FM. Podcast listeners heard a section of Sh*gged Married Annoyed. And streaming listeners played a section of a Spotify pop/chart playlist.

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