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Podcast Habits Are Changing Little With Influx Of New Listeners, Survey Shows.

Podcasting is still growing, and as its reach touches new listeners the ability for the medium to sway consumers continues to hold. A new survey from Voices shows that more people are listening as 73% of Americans aged 18 and older say they have listened to a podcast in the past year. At the same time, the report shows nearly half (48%) of listeners have purchased at least one podcast-advertised product in the past year, which Voices says signals the medium's effectiveness as a marketing channel.

The “Power of Podcasts” report also includes other data that should make brand managers happy. Three-quarters (76%) of podcast listeners can recall at least one podcast-advertised product, service, or organization off the top of their heads. The survey also shows that a majority of listeners does not have a preference for who reads the ad – whether it is a host-read spot or a pre-produced announcer ad. But among those who do have a preference, 62% said they would rather hear the ad read by the podcast’s host.

The survey – which was conducted July 12-14 among 1,183 Americans 18 years of age or older – shows roughly half (48%) of podcast listeners spend between one and three hours per week listening to podcasts, while 52% said they clocked in four or more hours. Podcast enthusiasts, which Voices says made up 15% of its sample, said they spend more than ten hours per week listening to podcasts.

“In any given month, just over half (51%) of podcast fans have between one to three different podcasts in their listening rotation,” the report says. “This makes sense considering we know that 48% of listeners spend about one to three hours a week listening to podcasts. But what about those that dedicate a bit more time? 30% of fans listen to four to six different podcasts in a month, and 19% listen to more than seven different podcasts in a month.”

The influx of new ears to podcasting is making little difference in the gender-based decision. Women make up two-thirds of True Crime show listeners while nearly three-quarters (72%) of Sports and Fitness podcast listeners are male. The growing number of older listeners is also likely a boost for News and Political genre shows. Voices says it is the most popular genre for listeners aged 60 and older, with 44% reporting they consume shows in that category.

Across all genders and age groups, Comedy is the favorite genre with 42% of fans saying they enjoy comedy podcasts. Voices says True Crime and Arts and Entertainment tied for the second most popular genres (34%), followed by Lifestyle and Health (31%). The least popular genres were Personal Finance (16%) and Sports and Fitness (15%).

As for when people are most likely to listen to a podcast, 55% of people who took the survey said they listen while doing household chores, while half said they listened during their commute.

With podcast listenership at an all-time high, with an estimated 82 million listeners in America alone, Voices says listeners are reaching for podcasts over other forms of media to stay entertained (62%), to stay up to date with topics they'd like to follow (54%), and to pass time while completing other tasks (48%).

But the results suggest the host is just as important as the content when it comes to listener retention. The survey finds 37% of podcast listeners continue listening to their favorite podcast because they enjoy the host of the show. And 62% of listeners follow their favorite host or shows on social media.

"Podcasting has proved to be exceptionally effective at strengthening online communities, and in turn, cultivating an engaged audience," Voices CEO David Ciccarelli said. "At Voices, we've incorporated podcasting into our marketing strategy for years. This specific style of content allows a brand to explore ideas with depth and nuance, increasing their authority on a subject and providing value in ways which other forms of media fall short."

Download the full “Power of Podcasts Report” HERE.

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