Detroit’s big three automakers re-started their assembly lines in the third week of May—right after auto marketers began ramping up their local broadcast ads in the last week of April. With production now resumed and new ads hitting the airwaves, a new Nielsen study suggests marketers should be engaging with podcast listeners.
According to a recent analysis conducted through Nielsen’s Podcast Listener Buying Power service, some 35.8 million people were shopping online for vehicles at the height of stay-at-home restrictions in the U.S., and 10.5 million of them were listening to podcasts. Those engaged podcast fans represent a $302 billion opportunity for marketers and advertisers, Nielsen says.
Podcast popularity among consumers has been growing for the past few years. The latest Share of Ear data from Edison Research showed podcasting’s share of listening jumped significantly, increasing 26% from Edison’s first quarter report to this new update. In turn, the medium’s appeal among brands is accelerating, largely because of the ad engagement that it commands. A Nielsen study last year, for example, found that top-of-mind brand awareness for many popular brands was nearly 70% among podcast listeners. In addition, podcast listeners tune in for more than 10 hours each week.
Podcasting’s growing popularity and audience engagement offer marketers “significant opportunities” to reach engaged car buyers, Nielsen concludes. Its study this year found that 50% of internet vehicle shoppers visited a website for more information about a product after hearing about it on a podcast, which is five percentage points higher than the average podcast listener. Similarly, more internet vehicle shoppers (26%) visited a website to purchase/order the product advertised than did the average podcast listener (23%).
Importantly, the study also helps auto marketers understand what shoppers are in the market for. For example, a growing number of podcast listeners are green-minded, and therefore they’re 39% more likely to be in the market for a hybrid vehicle than the average American.
And when it comes to which podcast genres marketers should be most focused on for their advertising, comedy takes the cake, followed closely by news, society & culture, business, and education. After that its sports, science, true crime, music and history.
High income households also love listening to podcasts, the new data shows. More than 55% of the podcast audience has a household income above $75,000 a year, compared to only 41% of U.S. households that earn that much. “Podcast consumers have the disposable income for big ticket purchases,” Nielsen says.
Podcast listeners also present opportunities for auto marketing beyond vehicle sales and leases. Even though many consumers are opting to stay close to home these days, podcast listeners are not do-it-yourselfers when it comes to car upkeep. Compared with the average U.S. consumer, they’re 11% more likely to pay for an oil change, 16% more likely to buy new tires and 16% more likely to get a brake job.
No industry has been spared from the effects of the COVID-19 pandemic, but the auto industry has been hit particularly hard. In the U.S., plant closures, combined with global supply chain challenges, have wreaked havoc on production. Additionally, the economic impact of the health crisis will reduce annual sales for 2020 and likely 2021 as well.
“As the future of auto consumption unfolds, more and more marketers are finding out that podcasts might just be the next great advertising frontier,” Nielsen says.