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Thanks To Attentive Listeners, Study Finds Podcast Ads Outperform CTV And YouTube.

Connected TV may have sparked interest among advertisers as they see audiences flee broadcast television, but a new study says a more effective way to use those billions of ad dollars being freed up is podcasting. The report, from the digital audio consultancy Sounds Profitable, finds podcast ads delivered stronger results on metrics including purchase intent, brand awareness, and favorability as listeners pay greater attention to the audio ads than viewers of either CTV or YouTube.

“Podcast listeners are more attentive to ads. And in fact, podcasting leads the other media that we tested in the percentage who listen all the way through. As a result, listeners to podcasts are more likely to take action,” said Tom Webster, a partner at Sounds Profitable, during a presentation of the findings Wednesday.

The study — a follow-up to one released last year stacking podcasts up against radio and broadcast TV — asked adults about their receptiveness, attentiveness, and overall attitude about advertising across a range of ad-supported media to compare how podcasts perform versus CTV and YouTube. It continues to show podcast listeners are generally more open to ads on the shows they consume. The data shows 71% of podcast listeners are willing to learn more about the brands that advertise on podcasts — higher than any other medium — and just ahead of TikTok.

Nearly two-thirds (63%) of respondents also said their favorite podcasts’ sponsorship messages are less annoying than other ads. It is likely a reason why 28% of podcast listeners say they listen to all of the ads they encounter. That completion rate is better than every other medium, including radio (23%), streaming TV (18%) and YouTube (10%). But the study’s most revealing data is how that translates into how ads performed.

“Podcast listeners are extremely receptive to the products and the services that they hear on the podcast ads,” Webster said.

The survey finds two-thirds (65%) of podcast listeners are likely to look for more information about brands that advertise in podcasts, while 59% would recommend such brands to others. And 53% would be likely to purchase a brand they heard advertised on a podcast. The data also shows 78% of weekly podcast users acted after seeing or hearing an ad.

“We talk a lot about the special sauce of podcasting, the relationship that people have with hosts and creators. But they’re also less inundated with advertising — and so they’re receptive, and they’re attentive,” Webster said.

To measure podcasting’s performance against CTV and YouTube, Sounds Profitable analyzed the performance of heavy podcast user HelloFresh against four other big brands that spread their money across media, including Amazon, Geico, State Farm, and Walmart. It then compared the results on four standard brand measures, including awareness, favorability, consideration, and purchase.

The data shows among weekly podcast listeners, the audio ads outperformed the video ads on YouTube or CTV. Podcast listeners were three times more likely to take an action based on the ad compared to those who were exposed to the ads on the other two media. Podcast listeners were also 2.5 times more likely to be aware of the brand, and they were four times more likely to have a favorable view of the brand. Podcasting also drove higher brand consideration (5%) than either CTV (2%) or YouTube (2%).

“These results clearly show that podcasting holds its own against any media platform as an advertising vehicle, and in fact leads the way in many key measures,” Webster said.

Sounds Profitable also released HelloFresh specific data that will likely give comfort to similar brands that are investing a large portion of their ad dollars in podcasting. The data shows a sizable bounce for HelloFresh across all metrics.

One of the biggest is for purchase, with 57% of weekly podcast listeners saying they either researched HelloFresh or purchased the food delivery service versus 44% of the survey respondents overall. There was also a 10-point increase in brand favorability and an eight-point lift in awareness among podcast listeners.

“HelloFresh has been actively advertising in podcasting compared to other media, and it’s noticed,” Webster said. “The podcast listener actually gives podcasting credit for introducing them to the brand.”

The study’s findings are based on a February online survey of 2,020 Americans aged 18 and older by Signal Hill Insights. The research was underwritten by Wondery, Spreaker, Betterhelp, ESPN Podcasts, Libsyn Ads, SiriusXM Podcast Network, NPR, and Paramount.

Webster urged podcasters to make sure ad buyers see the data. “We need to start challenging assumptions, and we need to start getting podcasting into those conversations so that it matches its weight in terms of advertising,” he said.

Download a copy of The Ad Bargain study HERE.

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