Not All Heroes Have Capes…They Have Ear Buds

What you need to know about podcasting’s Super Listener.

Photo by Ash Edmonds on Unsplash

The heavy podcast listener may just be a small subset of the wider audience, but this group is worth paying attention to. Super listeners are harbingers for larger consumer trends as podcasting grows and they just may hold some important lessons for brands too.

Who are they

After teasing at this year’s IAB Podcast Upfront, Edison Research and PodcastOne have finally dropped their findings on the ‘Super Listener’ – a weekly podcast listener who consumes 5 hours or more podcast content a week. This group currently represents the top 28% of all weekly podcast listeners. 

Super listeners skew slightly male, and half fall into the 25-44 age demo. It is worth noting that newcomers to the medium are more female and younger. The overall makeup of the podcast audience is becoming more diverse!

They consume media differently

Over half of super listeners listen for more than 8 hours, making podcasts a large chunk of their audio diet. They love them because it’s unique content they can’t get anywhere else, and they can listen on their own schedule.

Consumers are putting a value on their time, no longer just hitting “play” or turning on the TV. They are actively seeking our content they want to hear for education or entertainment. This is especially true for these folks who have made podcasting their #1 source for audio content.

25% of super listeners spend over 12 hours a week with podcast content!

Super listeners are active ad-avoiders who subscribe to ad-lite or ad-free platforms. 50% want to limit exposure to ads. An overwhelming majority (86%) subscribe to a paid streaming video service and about half pay for an internet-only music streaming service. Also, 37% have cut the cord with their cable companies.

But they are not totally unreachable

Despite their taste for subscription platforms and limiting ad exposure overall, they are being reached. Over 4 in 10 super listeners agree that they pay more attention to ads on podcasts than other forms of media and 37% agree ads on podcasts are the best way for a brand to reach them. 

They are receptive to podcast advertising because they understand that ads support their favorite podcasters, and the brands featured are relevant. 6 in 10 super listeners appreciate the support advertisers give to their favorite podcasts While 41% agree that the brands promoted are relevant.

70% of super listeners say they will consider a new product or service after hearing a sponsorship or ad on a podcast they listen to regularly.

They will be your brand’s hero…or biggest foe

It all depends on how you speak to them. Approximately one-quarter of respondents said there are too many ads in podcasts while 62% say there are too many ads on live TV and 51% say there are too many ads on social media. Even though the perception of ad saturation is low compared to other mediums, 49% felt there were more ads now than a year ago.

The future of podcast advertising is in the super listener’s hands. While they know sponsors keep their favorite shows going, they are aware that ads in podcasts are on the rise. Luckily, host-read ads still remain extremely effective and the least disruptive, striking the right tone with even the most ad-phobic consumers. Super listeners approve of host ad reads with 49% saying that their opinion of personalized product discussions is favorable or very favorable and only 17% find them unfavorable.

While ad tech is in high demand from advertisers, don’t lose sight of the power the host holds to get your message heard. Dynamic insertion may make it tempting for advertisers to use radio ads or pre-recorded spots, but host-read ads can still be placed with this tech to preserve the environment. Super listeners put their trust in their favorite hosts, so they are all ears when they suggest a product. 

Partnering with cabana means placing your message in an environment that makes sense – and getting results. Get in touch today to find out why dynamically-inserted, host-read ads work best. | instagram | linkedin | get our newsletter

Sources: Edison Research, PodcastOne Super Listeners Study, 2019