The Podcast Glow Up

Harness the Power, Part 1: Podcast Buying Guide 2.0

Photo by Barrett Ward on Unsplash
What’s new in podcasting? A lot. Fear not — we are bringing back our Podcast Buying Guide to get you up to speed and in the know. Maybe you’ve tested a few campaigns. Maybe you’ve yet to find the budget. Maybe you’re still unconvinced that the audio revolution is here.
Whatever your situation, this is the place to get you all caught up on the research, ad trends and success stories. We’ll answer all of your burning questions and give you valuable tips to make your investment pay off. Follow us over the next few weeks as we put a spotlight on the power of this rising star in audio and how to truly harness it.
“It has been a very consequential year for growth of the podcasting category” — Edison Research

It was not too long ago that podcasts were in that awkward phase. Yes, people were making them and people were listening. But the audio format was a wallflower for a long time, ignored by major publishers and non-existent to advertisers. This “consequential” year is the culmination of the podcast industry’s continued evolution and reinvention over the last decade-plus.

Podcasts have glowed up.

Edison Research has been busy the past few months with the release of the 2019 Infinite Dial and Podcast Consumer studies, and the findings have everyone with skin in the game buzzing while piquing the interest of those who don’t (yet). We won’t talk about the flood of mainstream media coverage or name drop the celebrities who have rushed to launch their own shows. Let’s talk about the numbers behind the incredible transformation podcasting has experienced.

It’s podcasts’ time to shine.

In 2019, podcast listening not only reached an all-time high, it crossed the 50% mark. Of the 70% who are now at least aware of the term podcasting, 51% have given them a chance. 90 million of those folks (32% of Americans 12+) are making them a habit. Monthly listening crept up from 24% of the U.S. population in 2017, to 26% in 2018, and finally made its biggest jump to 32% in 2019.

The percentage of Americans who are aware of podcasts, but have not listened has hovered around 20% for the past 3 years. 2019 may be the turning point when habitual listening begins to close this gap.

The podcast glow up has been a steady process as the barriers to entry — demystifying what podcasts are, making listening as easy as possible, making discovery as easy as possible — break down. And once podcasts recruit new listeners, they get hooked…fast. There may be over 130,000 active podcasts, yet there’s room for more. 65% of monthly listeners agree that they would listen more if there was more content on topics that interested them. Weekly listeners are consuming 7 shows a week on average and 47% find themselves listening to more content. What’s not to love? Podcasts are very attractive because they are convenient, portable, entertaining, and informational.

That love shows in how people are listening too. Podcasts are often streamed for immediate gratification, but even when they are downloaded for delayed consumption there’s no time to waste. 78% listen to a downloaded podcast within 48 hrs. Among those who listen monthly, 93% are listening to most or all of the episode (ads and all).

What are listeners up to when they hit play on their favorite show? 59% are doing housework or chores. 52% are driving. 51% are relaxing before going to sleep. 50% are cooking in the kitchen and 44% are working out. 70%…wait for it…are doing NOTHING else. What else besides podcasts can command an audience’s attention like that?

Now, what does this all boil down to for you the digital buyer? The media planner? The marketing executive? Engagement, if used correctly. Over half of podcast consumers (54%) would be more likely to consider a brand they heard within a podcast. Understanding why the audience may be listening to a particular podcast, how they are listening to it, and what they may be doing while listening are key considerations for any podcast ad to successfully move the needle.

Guess what? It’s your brand’s time to shine too!

As podcasting grows, there’s plenty of room for brands to grow too. Even if you have been waiting for the right moment, the right show, the right creative to dive in; time is still on your side. There are untapped shows that cater to your dream audience. There are creative ways to integrate your messaging that have yet to be explored. There’s still a chance to get the edge on your competition, who may not be in the space.

If you have an audience to reach, you’ve come to the right place. There are few environments that are expanding in audience and opportunities like podcasting and even fewer where ads are a welcome part of the culture. Stay tuned for part two when we get into the one-of-a-kind podcast ad environment.

This is part one of our five-part series.

Part 1: The Podcast Glow Up

Part 2: Understanding the Podcast Ad Environment

Part 3: Ask an Ad Ops Expert

Part 4: Dynamic Mechanics

Part 5: Winning Strategies

You can get the complete 2019 Podcast Buying Guide here.

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