Podcasting’s best listeners are also advertiser’s best target according to a new survey from NCSolutions, an advertising analytics company that works in the consumer packaged goods industry. It finds that people who subscribe to six or more podcasts – or what it calls power subscribers – are more likely to have purchased a product advertised on a podcast than listeners overall.
Its data shows that more than two-thirds (68%) of power subscribers have bought something they heard advertised on a podcast compared to 42% of podcast listeners overall. And nearly half (49%) of power subscribers used a promotional code mentioned in a podcast ad versus 29% for the more casual podcast listener.
The impact of podcast advertising was less pronounced although the NCS data does show power subscribers are swayed more by what they hear. More than four in ten power subscribers described podcast advertising as a “good way” for brands to reach them. A still significant one-third of more casual listeners agreed. While podcast ads are considered relevant by roughly a quarter of both groups, brands may be even more surprised to see how many people say they enjoy listening to their commercials on podcasts. NCS says three in ten power subscribers say podcast ads are enjoyable to listen to, with nearly as many (27%) of all podcast listeners saying the same. The survey also found that a third of power subscribers say they hear about unique products they don’t see advertised elsewhere on a podcast – a metric backing up the growing list of ecommerce brands that have been built in part via podcast marketing.
The host-read ad continues be one of the biggest factors in the efficacy of podcast ads according to the survey. It finds roughly one out of three power subscribers say they can trust the host’s opinion. A third also said the host-read format also helps them remember a product. The stickiness of the ad appears to work well regardless of how many podcasts someone subscribes to. NCS says 28% of casual listeners say they too remember the product better when the ad is host-read.
"A podcast is a personal medium. Hosts are very influential when in the ears of subscribers and partnering with a podcaster who speaks to your audience can be a very powerful strategy," said NCSolutions CEO Linda Dupree. "Together, CPG brands have a real opportunity to connect and influence a listener's purchase decisions."
Among the other findings is that many podcast listeners are repeat buyers: 34% say they have purchased products two or more times after hearing an advertisement on a podcast, while 17% have bought products they've heard featured four or more times. In addition, 29% of all podcast listeners have used a promotional code they've heard during an episode.
NCS also asked people how their podcast habits have changed this year. They found that 56% of the so-called power subscribers report they have increased their listening in 2021 versus a year ago. And 88% of power listeners overall have spent as much or more time with the medium. It also finds that a third (34%) of podcast listeners are new to the medium since the start of 2020.
"As their popularity has grown, podcasts have become a new advertising medium for CPG brands," said Lance Brothers, Chief Revenue Officer at NCSolutions. "Podcast advertising hit a significant tipping point in 2021, with spending expected to reach $1 billion. As CPG brands look to justify further investments in the medium, they will need performance metrics that demonstrate the impact of their brands' podcast advertising on incremental sales."
Beginning this month, NCSolutions began offering podcast publishers, CPG advertisers and their agencies the ability to track how podcast ads are impacting sales. Its NCS Sales Effect tool is also able to measure podcasts that are downloaded and streamed and to compare the relative sales impact of a campaign across different types of media.
The survey was conducted in August among a nationally representative of 2,043 respondents aged 18 and older. It included 52% who indicated they are podcast listeners.