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Survey Shows Audio Provides Soundtrack For Summertime Activities.

With Memorial Day weekend heralding the unofficial start of summer, Americans are venturing into the great outdoors for a wide range of activities. Fresh research into the listening habits of regular streaming audio and podcast listeners finds nearly eight in ten respondents (78%) say they are likely to listen to these digital audio channels when they are outside during the summer, with 50% listening during beach days and 65% listening during outdoor activities.

Nearly three in four respondents (77%) said they tune into streaming music, podcasts, or music during summer road trips, with 63% tuning into podcasts and 72% streaming audio.

Advertising research and analytics provider Veritonic sampled 600 persons 18+ who listen to both podcasts and streaming audio monthly. In the post-pandemic environment, “people are much more tied into what's happening from a streaming audio standpoint,” says Veritonic CEO Scott Simonelli. “More and more people are moving away from a book to some form of audio at the beach, or at the lake or wherever they're out and about. There's a transition happening from print to audio in all those settings.”

The data shows streaming audio (72%), podcasts (63%) and AM/FM radio (58%) are the preferred audio sources during road trips. Keep in mind that the qualifier for the survey sample was people who listen to both podcasts and streaming audio monthly.

In one of the survey’s more eye-opening findings, two thirds of respondents (66%) report they listen to podcasts when they are bored, outranking consumption of both television (62%) and streaming audio (58%). And two-thirds listen to streaming audio while doing idle tasks like waiting in line at the airport or for an appointment, compared to 51% who listen to podcasts, 21% who tune in AM/FM radio and 13% who use another audio source. This is seen as a ripe opportunity for a brand to develop a relationship with someone when they are using audio to alleviate boredom or to make a mundane task more enjoyable.

“It's very intimate and powerful for an advertiser to be present at the time when somebody's doing something that they're looking to feel better about,” Simonelli says. But he cautions that these kinds of settings require brands to pay careful attention to the ad creative. “You want to be careful about how you take advantage of that opportunity. Because when they're in that state, you don't want to hit them over the top with a discount mattress sale.”

In other findings, nearly three in four (72%) of respondents default to streaming audio during periods of relaxation, compared to 57% for podcasts and 31% for AM/FM radio.

Simonelli believe these findings help quantify habits that began to develop pre-COVID, were cemented by the pandemic and continue post-pandemic. “That combination of phone, airpods, and podcast is very habit forming. It's very sticky, but also very niche. So if you find a podcast you like, there's something that's personal in your ear, that's accessible all the time.”

The study also suggests advertisers should pivot their tactics to ensure they reach consumers wherever they go. Thanks to more sophisticated targeting technologies, such as geolocation and contextual targeting, Simonelli says audio allows brands to engage in classic marketing techniques. “The call to action can be very targeted to the season or whatever you're doing. You can really be specific about what you're accomplishing here and what you do, and how you track the outcome. You're taking advantage of this surge and it's not spray and pray, it's not just trying to get awareness. You can actually use some real marketing here.”

The data is based on an online survey conducted by Veritonic of 598 people in the U.S. aged 18+ who reported listening to podcasts and streaming audio at least once in the last month.

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