The latest report from Nielsen offers new insights into podcast listening trends — particularly when it comes to tune-in trends and category ad spending among diverse audiences.
Study after study has found that after a decade of audience growth, podcasts have become an appealing and reliable advertising platform. With more than 1.7 million podcast titles available for listeners to choose from as of the beginning of 2021, podcasts are boasting a track record of strong listener engagement — offering advertisers a means of more personalized connection, the Nielsen report said.
Specifically, the February 2021 Nielsen report found that podcast advertising — and notably, those podcast ads delivered by the podcast host — were driving stronger brand recall punch than more traditional forms of advertisements. A series of podcast effectiveness studies by Nielsen has found that host-read ads drive a brand recall rate of 71%, a scenario that subsequently creates high levels of consumer interest, purchase intent and recommendation intent.
The result is an estimated ad spend that is expected to eclipse $1 billion this year, the report said.
The growth seen from podcasts is good news to everyone — consumers, content creators and advertisers, Nielsen said — but as the podcast landscape broadens, “content creators and advertisers will be increasingly tasked with ensuring that their programs and messages align with who’s listening,” the Nielsen report said. “And when we look at audience trends, creators and advertisers should be focused on where the growth is.”
Specifically, the report notes that Hispanic and Black listeners are leaders in podcast consumption. Black consumers are more likely to take action such as visiting a retail location for more information as a result of listening to a podcast, the report said, compared to 8% of all podcast listeners. Hispanic listeners, on the other hand, have gravitated to podcasts more than any other, as the reach among this group increased from 1.1 million in 2010 to 6.8 million in 2019. That represents a growth rate of more than six times.
In addition, the report details that podcasting is also managing to withstand the effects of COVID-19. While the pandemic has altered traditional audio listening habits, when U.S. consumers were forced into lockdown, commuting to work decreased and audio consumption dropped. As the year progressed however, audio use — including podcasts — rebounded as consumers modified their media habits in the wake of life changes brought on by COVID-19.
The new Nielsen report also suggests that podcasting is ideal for brands looking to engage the right consumers with a well-tailored message as opposed to simply casting a big net and hoping for the best. “As the base of podcast listeners rapidly expands, those well-tailored messages depend on having a full understanding of who’s listening and to what,” the report said.
The report also tracks listening by age group, listening location, time of day, median age, median household income and gender breakdown.