Consumers perceive radio and podcast personalities as highly relatable, trustworthy, and authentic, according to a new study conducted by research firm Magid for iHeartMedia and PMX, the investment arm of ad agency holding company Publicis Media.
The study, “Exploring The Brand Benefits of Trust and Companionship in Audio,” combines quantitative and qualitative research to highlight the role that different audio channels play in the lives of audiences when it comes to trust and companionship.
It found radio hosts score high when it comes to their perceived authenticity and connections to the communities they serve, while podcast hosts are seen as highly honest and trustworthy.
The findings uncover a major opportunity for advertisers to use audio to build brand affinity and favorability, and drive purchases.
“With the resiliency of radio and recent explosion of the podcasting space, audio influencers have emerged as a new avenue for advertisers to continue to connect with audiences in authentic ways,” said Chris Yarusso, National Audio Practice Lead at PMX. “Our research confirms that radio and podcast hosts are perceived as some of the most trustworthy, essential, and relatable personalities in the media ecosystem.”
Given the wide range of diversity and variety in radio and podcast content in today’s marketplace, Yarusso sees “an enormous strategic opportunity for brands to connect with highly engaged consumers across this evolving influencer marketplace.”
According to the study, 55% of participants said they listen to commercials more often on radio and in podcasts than through any other medium. In addition, 53% found radio and podcast ads to be more relevant than on any other medium and 51% said they are more trusting of radio and podcast advertisers than on any other medium.
When comparing radio versus streaming music services in nine consumer categories – including restaurants, retail and automobiles – consumers who purchased a product were more likely to buy from a radio ad in every single category.
“This research highlights what we call the ‘trust halo,’ the unique relationship and trust that audio listeners form with their favorite hosts, personalities, and programs,” said iHeartMedia Chief marketing Officer Gayle Troberman. “Marketers benefit from this trust halo, as this connection extends into advertising, product recommendations, and the radio and podcast communities at large. Listeners feel an unmatched sense of companionship and learn more about the world and about themselves.”
Other key data takeaways from the study include:
Radio listeners are 129% more likely than listeners of other audio platforms to say they listen “to be entertained”
Podcast listeners are 158% more likely than listeners of other audio platforms to say they listen “to immerse myself”
Radio hosts are seen as some of the most relatable and trusted influencers, when compared to other verticals such as TV and social
67% of podcast listeners and 74% of heavy podcast listeners (defined as the top 25 percent of hours listened per week) say that podcasts “motivate and inspire me”
71% of podcast listeners and 79% of heavy podcast listeners say that podcasts “educate/teach me something new”
The research also included a study in which audio listeners were asked to give up radio and podcasts for three days. Participants reported feeling “lonely,” “disconnected,” and “more overwhelmed doing simple tasks.” One radio listener said it “felt like I was being excluded from a conversation.”
"Radio personalities are the original influencers. We found they've retained that status over time and are now joined by podcast hosts as major influencers in media today,” said Mike Bloxham, Executive VP of Global Media and Entertainment at Magid. “And the data suggests that benefits advertisers in terms of the impact of their campaigns.”