The popularity of podcasts is growing. According to The Infinite Dial 2021® from Edison Research and Triton Digital released last week, approximately eighty million Americans – 28% of the U.S. 12+ population – are now weekly podcast listeners, a 17% increase over 2020. 176 million Americans are now weekly online audio listeners.
For marketers seeking to reach the desirable online audio audience, podcasts offer flexibility and reach. Podcasts complement more traditional media such as radio to build awareness and can be easily shared on social media, your company website, and multiple streaming platforms, making it easier to measure attribution. In short, podcasts are an ideal addition to your marketing mix.
In a time when more people than ever are at home, podcasts have become an important part of our culture. Consumers have the freedom to listen to podcasts when they can be the most engaged. When conversations used to feature discussions on favorite television shows, you are now more likely to hear a lively debate on the best podcasts. Let's look at a few more reasons that you should consider podcast sponsorship as an important part of your overall marketing strategy.
Highly Engaged Listeners
The average time U.S. audiences listen to podcasts per week grew last year to 6 hours, 39 minutes . Listeners are eager to find relevant and engaging topics, so they actively seek out podcasts that relate to their lives or their interests. In 2020, U.S. weekly podcast listeners averaged 8 podcasts per week.
If you've considered podcast sponsorship, consider this: more than half of Americans over the age of 21 listen to podcasts and 78% of Americans are at least familiar with the term “podcasting.” What does that mean for podcast sponsors? It means that you can expand your reach and brand recognition to an expansive, previously untapped market of potential customers who actively listen to your sponsored content.
Across the board and regardless of publisher, podcasts are clutter-free with relatively low ad counts. The PRX Podcast Network, one of the leading digital audio content producers and distributors in the U.S., generally limits the number of sponsored messages to no more than four spots per single listening session. Consequently — and without the ad cacophony found in many media platforms, audio or otherwise — the sponsor's messaging blends seamlessly into the show content, providing a more organic, engaging and less intrusive listener experience. When you choose the right format and content, brand messaging is complementary to the topics.
Case in point, a recent BBC news study, with a sample audience of “ad avoiders”, found that branded podcasts were able to reach and engage the hardest to attain audiences. Their responses to brand mentions measured by emotional intensity, engagement and memory encoding were much higher with podcasts than TV by 22%. For the average audience, sponsor messages within a branded podcast show elicit 12% more memory encoding and 16% higher engagement than the show content.
Host Reads Lend Credibility to Messaging
A recent study showed that listeners place a high level of trust in their podcast host. They feel the hosts are authentic, like a trusted friend that shares their same ideals and interests. Not only do listeners want to hear their content, but they prefer host-read messages to those presented by others.
Sponsors can benefit from this established bond between the audience and host with trust by association. Because the audiences place so much trust in the host, they believe host recommendations to be credible. Thirty-seven percent of podcast listeners are more likely to check out brands if they trust the source.
Podcasts Are Effective for Reaching Your Target Audience
Undoubtedly, an effective marketing strategy is generally built upon a multichannel, cross-platform approach to reach customers on both their preferred channels and in ways the messaging will best resonate. To that, podcasts can be a highly effective way to promote your brand, integrate seamlessly with more traditional media, and allow you to increase your reach. Audiences are drawn to podcasts because they are entertaining, educational, portable, accessible, on-demand and an easy way to learn something new. Listeners are more engaged because they are interested in content that is relative to their lives.
Since the audience isn't bombarded with messages on podcasts, sponsor messages are viewed as less disruptive. The lack of clutter allows the brand messages to reach even ad-resistant listeners because they are more organic to the conversation. When combined with a trusted host, the brand message is even more impactful, as there is trust by association. When you are ready to connect your brand to a savvy, influential audience in a trusted, clutter-free environment, work with a podcast partner to develop a sponsorship strategy that will fulfill your marketing goals.