Weekly podcast listening among African Americans soared 53% during the past year as a growing variety of shows targeting Black listeners has attracted more users to the media. A new report finds weekly listenership rose to 26% among Blacks, up from 17% in 2020. And more than 12 million Black adults report listening to podcasts each month, of which 42% say they have been listening to podcasts for a year or less.
The findings are in the first-ever Black Podcast Listener Report, released by Edison Research, SXM Media and the advertising agency Mindshare. It says what may be even more significant is that Black listeners are closing the gap with the general market. In 2020, 17% of Black Americans were listening to podcasts weekly, compared with 24% of all Americans. Just a year later, the number of weekly Black listeners jumped to 26% while the general market grew slightly to 28%.
“Podcast listening among Black Americans is surging, and these consumers are gravitating to shows with Black hosts that spotlight Black issues and voices,” says the report. The data backs that up. It shows seven in ten Black monthly podcast listeners say they listened to a podcast with a Black host in the last month. In fact, 47% prefer to listen to podcasts with Black hosts or hosts who are people of color, while 51% say it is important that the podcasts they listen to are hosted by Black podcast hosts and 61% say it is important that the podcasts they listen to include Black stories and perspectives. And despite the rise of networks like iHeart’s Black Effect Podcast Network and the introduction of the Black Podcasting app, a majority (54%) of Black monthly podcast listeners wish there was more content around niche interests by and for Black voices.
“Black podcast listeners are diving into topics that interest them, and they want honest and raw conversations. Half of Black podcast fans said they like shows that focus on people of color because these podcasts spur unfiltered conversations that can’t be had on social media,” the report says. “Not only that, but these consumers want content that reflects their lives and experiences, including shows with relatable creators. Half of the users that were surveyed said it was important to them to listen to shows with Black hosts, and more than half wanted shows that include Black stories and perspectives.”
In terms of actual shows, the survey shows the top three podcast categories for Black adults are Comedy, Music, and Health & Fitness. But it also finds Black listeners are interested in listening to podcasts across a variety of topics like Business/Economy/Entrepreneurs (65%), History (65%), Friendships (63%), True Crime (62%), and the Environment (60%).
What About Advertising?
Similar to podcast listeners overall, Black podcast listeners trust what the host has to say in terms of recommendations for products and services they use and admire. But the response is even greater for Black listeners. The survey finds 81% of Black monthly podcast listeners say they would be “very” or “somewhat likely” to trust a brand if they heard an advertisement on a podcast with Black hosts; 81% would consider a brand if they heard an advertisement on a podcast with Black hosts; and 82% would purchase a brand if they heard an ad for it on a podcast with Black hosts. And 40% of Black listeners report they’re more likely to purchase a product based on an ad they heard on a podcast compared to other platforms.
“Marketers have an immense opportunity to support and elevate Black podcasters today. In doing so, not only will they better connect with Black audiences, but their support can help Black creators breathe and thrive in a space where their voices are often underrepresented,” says Natasha Stockton, Director of Communications Planning at Mindshare. “It shouldn’t surprise anyone to hear about the importance of Black creators and stories in culture, but this research goes another key step in better understanding the growth of Black listeners as well.”
There are other factors that may play to advertisers’ advantages when trying to reach Black consumers via podcasts. The survey finds 71% of Black listeners are streaming their favorite podcasts most often at home. And similar to a trend seen in the Latino Podcast Report released earlier this year where 49% listen to podcasts with others, the data shows Black listeners are more likely to do the same – 47% of those who listen at home say they listen while spending time with family and friends, compared to just 23% of the general weekly audience.
Read the Black Podcast Listener Report HERE.
Register for The Black Podcast Listener Report Nov. 16 webinar HERE.