A wider variety of content options is helping bring more women into the podcasting fold. The latest numbers from Nielsen show that during the past four years the number of female podcast listeners has increased by 76%. And despite the pandemic piling new at-home duties on women everywhere, Nielsen says there has been a 41% increase since the start of the pandemic.
In the four years since Nielsen launched its Podcast Buying Power service, which provides brands with information about the purchasing behaviors of podcast listeners, the number of heavy female podcast listeners—those who listen 10 or more times per month—has increased by 90%. Its data shows in Nov. 2019 there were 5.4 million female heavy listener of podcasts. By Nov. 2021, that number had risen to 9.3 million.
Nielsen says that as podcast listening has become more mainstream than when podcasts first started to enter the media mix, light podcast listeners—those who listen anywhere between once and three times a month—now represent roughly half of all podcast listeners. “While this clearly validates that podcasts appeal to more than just a niche audience, advertisers know that more frequent engagement means more opportunity to reach listeners. Again, women should be a significant focus on this front,” it said in a blog post.
A recent Nielsen study also pointed to continued growth for podcasting. It said 61% of paid streaming audio subscribers it surveyed said they plan to increase their podcast consumption over the next 12 months. “The growth of podcast engagement also shows no signs of slowing down,” the company said.
The growing number of women listeners comes at the same time that podcast advertising continues to climb. The latest eMarketer projection suggests industry ad revenue could top $2 billion by 2023. But Nielsen says there are more than gender dynamics at work. Its Podcast Ad Effectiveness research has shown podcast ads—particularly when read by the host—drives a stronger brand recall punch than more traditional forms of advertisements. For example, the data reveals that host read ads drive a brand recall rate of 71%, which subsequently creates high levels of consumer interest, purchase intent and recommendation intent.
Nielsen’s Podcast Ad Effectiveness research also shows that podcast advertising drives an average increase in brand awareness of 14 percentage points. Among female heavy listeners, however, the lift rises to 20 points—43% higher than average. It says 73% of female listeners can recall the brand after exposure. And 54% of female listeners find podcast content interesting.
“Compared with the early days of podcasts, advertisers have fewer questions about the fragmented delivery mechanisms and platforms, which prompted concerns about scalability,” the company says in its blog post. “Today, the questions predominantly center on where to invest, especially as the landscape broadens. Thankfully, however, answers to those questions should be directly connected to who’s listening, and how engaged they are with what they’re listening to.”