Podcast listening is growing and Nielsen says as Americans resume more normal lifestyles after two years of pandemic adjustments, the medium is poised to benefit from greater use as well as stronger appeal from ad buyers looking to capitalize on their “ready to spend” attitude.
Nielsen says podcasting's listener base has increased 40% since 2018, with more than half of daily podcast listeners having begun listening in the last two years. “During a pandemic that drove millions indoors, and in front of screens, a funny thing happened with podcasts -- audience engagement increased,” according to the latest Podcasting Today report. Nielsen’s data shows 56% of those people surveyed are listening to podcasting more often and 52% are listening to a greater number of shows.
The report says podcast engagement is also rising among consumers who pay for audio streaming services, as 61% say they plan to increase their podcast consumption in the coming year.
Podcast listeners spend an average of 90-minutes per day in their car according to Nielsen. Yet it also says the data shows that while many consider audio an in-car medium, at-home podcast listening has increased. It also credits daily podcast listeners, who are listening more often and to more titles. The report says that wider audience presents advertisers with greater reach opportunities through a medium that delivers higher brand recall than other forms of advertising.
Nielsen-owned Gracenote counts 2.07 million podcasts available today, with nearly 92 million individual episodes. That represents a 163% increase in the number of series during the past two years as creators move to satisfy a growing demand for content.
Nielsen’s 2022 Annual Marketing Report shows advertisers are taking note. It found that 56% of marketers in North America plan to increase their podcast spending over the next year. Even more encouraging for podcasters is 15% plan to increase their podcast spending by 50% or more.
Working in podcasting’s favor is data like Nielsen’s brand lift studies revealing podcast ads drive 14 point improvements in brand awareness scores and 7 point gains in information seeking scores. “Those metrics bode well for marketers in North America, whose top objective for the next year is building brand awareness, followed very closely by new customer acquisition,” the report says.
Overall, data showed that podcast advertising drives an aided brand recall rate of 71%.
Podcasters are also well positioned to benefit from the resumption of many pre-pandemic activities and behaviors, especially as brands look to increase their visibility. “Importantly, the strength of the mainstream-bound podcast industry spans beyond simply offering wide-ranging audiences a growing bevy of titles for content-hungry audiophiles— especially for advertisers. That’s because podcast audiences are shedding their COVID-induced spending inhibitions,” says Nielsen.
Its data shows podcast listeners are more likely to be planning air travel in the next year than the population overall. They are also more likely to buy new home entertainment equipment, buy a new house, purchase financial products, or buy a new car. And 88% of listeners said they would be willing to consider a new brand.
“In addition to being receptive to advertising, especially when it’s read by the host, podcast listeners are among the consumers most likely to feel that life is returning to normal,” the report says. “The combination of sentiment and an eagerness to spend represents a bankable opportunity for brands with the right audience data.”
If there is something holding back even more ad spending, it is Nielsen’s Annual Marketing Report showing marketers aren’t overly confident in their ability to measure the ROI of their podcast spending. It says only 43% of marketers in North America are “extremely” or “very confident” in their ability to measure podcast ROI. Nielsen says they are also not overwhelmingly convinced of the effectiveness of their spending, with just 46% saying they believe they are “very” or “extremely” effective. It says a better understanding of listeners and how they engage with podcast content would likely benefit the majority of marketers who still have some uncertainty.
“The Podcasting Today report reveals the massive growth observed in podcast consumers and content, and the impact Nielsen’s podcasting solutions could have on brand awareness, audience reach, and overall engagement,” said Arica McKinnon, VP Brand Impact Solutions at Nielsen.
Download Nielsen’s latest Podcasting Today report HERE.