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Survey: Podcasters Have More Sway With Gen Zs, Millennials Than Social Media Stars.

In an era where media trust continues to erode, podcasters are emerging as among the most influential among consumers. According to a new survey from Spotify, 63% said they trust their favorite podcast host more than their favorite social media influencer. That has implications for advertisers. The survey data shows 45% of Millennials and Gen Zs said that when they hear an ad during a podcast, they trust the brand or product being promoted because of the relationship they have with the hosts.

Authenticity is likely one of the driving factors and the latest Global Podcast Trends Tour Report shows it is a two-way street. Over half (52%) of surveyed creators agree that they feel they can be more authentic — and true to themselves — on Spotify than on their social media platform.

While podcasts may be more trusted, there are close ties with social media overall. The survey — which was conducted in March among both listeners and creators — also shows 55% of Gen Zs said that if they follow someone on social media and listen to their podcast, they like their podcast content more. No surprise then that seven in ten creators surveyed say they use social media platforms to boost awareness.

Gen Z’s Podcast Interests

Spotify says the most popular podcast categories among its U.S. listeners are Comedy, True Crime, News, Health & Fitness, and Society & Culture, while the fastest-growing genres between the first quarter of 2023 and the first quarter of 2024 were Religion & Spirituality (+49%), Society & Culture (+23%), Arts (+22%), and Sports (+20%).

Globally, Spotify says among its users that Gen Z racked up the most podcast streams, with Millennials a close second. And Gen Z’s least-streamed podcast topics are Boomers’ most-streamed categories: Knowledge, and Politics & Current Events, the report says.

Video may help as Spotify says Gen Zs are 18% more likely to watch video podcasts versus other people who engage with podcasts. And globally, there has been a 64% increase in video episodes on Spotify during the past year and a 78% jump in podcasts with at least one video released on Spotify. But the video habit is not limited to young people. Across all demos, Spotify says global average daily streams of video podcasts are up 39% year-over-year.

Gen Zs are also showing a taste for international flavors of audio. In the U.S., Spotify says nearly half (47%) of podcast streams by users aged 18-24 and 45% of podcast streams by users aged 13-17 came from shows that originated outside of the U.S. And globally, 22% of podcasts have half or more of their audience made up of international streamers. The report says out of country listening is highest for shows originating in English-speaking markets like the United States and Australia, while content from countries like Brazil and Japan gets mostly local listeners due to the native language.

Podcast Ads More Popular Too

All that listening is not going unnoticed by marketers. Spotify says 62% of study respondents took an action after hearing an ad during a podcast show, like searching for the product, purchasing the product, or simply talking about it.

“Podcast ads have grown in popularity and become a proven, effective format to drive business results,” the report says. It has been good for Spotify’s bottom line too. The report says podcast advertising has grown faster than music advertising revenue, and so far in 2024 the Spotify Audience Network continues to see positive growth in participating publishers and shows.

“Through the Podcast Trends Tour, we’re sharing the latest trends that spotlight how the podcast space is growing and evolving, and uncovering just how powerful podcasts can be for advertisers looking to connect with audiences in a genuine way,” says Spotify’s Jenny Haggard.

The Taylor Swift Effect

The data also shows that podcasts are proving to be a window into what is happening in pop culture. Taylor Swift is the case study. When she won Album of the Year and announced her new album at the Grammys in February, Spotify says it saw a 172% increase in global streams of podcasts discussing Taylor Swift. When the album “The Tortured Poets Department” was then launched, there was an eight-fold increase in global streams of podcasts talking about the new record. And Spotify says it too saw a Swift bounce as the artist turned up at Kansas City Chiefs games. After her first appearance, it logged a 148% increase in global streams of podcasts discussing Swift. When the Chiefs won the AFC Championship and secured their spot in the Super Bowl, Spotify says there was a 155% increase in global streams of podcasts discussing Swift.

Download the Global Podcast Trends Tour Report HERE.

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