For the ninth edition of the Podcast Download series, Cumulus Media and Signal Hill Insights retained MARU/Matchbox to conduct an in-depth study of 603 weekly podcast listeners in October 2022. The Fall 2022 Report highlights trends from prior studies and examines new topics such as co-listening among parents with children and listener perceptions of brand safety and content appropriateness.
Advertiser Perceptions: Podcast advertising soars to record levels
Each year, as part of the Podcast Download, perspectives on advertiser and agency attitudes towards podcast advertising are included. Since 2015, Cumulus Media has commissioned an annual Advertiser Perceptions study of 300 national marketers and media agencies probing four key measures of podcast advertising engagement:
- Discussion: Have you and your colleagues discussed podcast advertising for potential media investment?
- Consideration: How likely are you to consider advertising in podcasts in the next six months?
- Intention: How likely are you to actually advertise in podcasts in the coming six months?
- Usage: Do you currently advertise in podcasts?
The eighth annual study conducted in June 2022 reveals significant growth in podcast advertising consideration and activation.
It is safe to say podcast advertising has hit the mainstream among national marketers and media agencies:
- Nearly nine of our ten say they have discussed podcast advertising.
- In a first for the industry, those who say they are likely to advertise in the coming six months hit a new high of 48%. Generally, there are more agencies and brands who say they will “consider spending” in a media versus those who say they “actually intend” to spend. From 2015 to 2021, this was the case for podcasting. This year, the gap has narrowed with 51% of the ad industry saying they will consider advertising in podcasts and 48% saying they actively intend to advertise, a major sign of a coming of age for podcast advertising.
- For the first time, a majority (61%) of national marketers and media agencies say they currently advertise in podcasts. This represents major growth from 2021 (45%). From 2017 to 2020, only about a third of national brands and their agencies said they were advertising in podcasts.
A focus on podcast watching: The video experience
In this installment of the Podcast Download – Fall 2022 Report highlights, the focus is on the growing use of the podcast visual experience.
Nearly a third of the podcast audience prefers to “actively watch” a podcast with a video component
Consumers were asked their preference for three podcast experiences:
- Audio only without any video (43% preference)
- Play video in the background or minimize on device while listening (29%)
- Actively watch while listening (28%)
It’s important to note that this is a measure of consumer desire, not actual behavior. 43% prefer having audio only and 29% prefer listening while having the video available. 28% prefer to “actively watch” with a video experience.
While the podcast consumption experience was once considered an audio-only experience, it is remarkable that nearly a third prefer “active watching.” In recruiting for this study, 7% of the weekly podcast audience indicated “watching” was their exclusive method of accessing podcasts.
Podcast listeners who prefer having a video option lean male and are more likely to be heavy podcast consumers
Active watchers skew towards men (62%) while listeners who prefer audio only are most likely to be women (57%).
Among listeners who spend more than 6 hours weekly with podcasts (heavy consumers), more prefer having video available (64%) compared to the overall weekly podcast audience (57%).
Audio/video podcast preferences drive choice of primary platform
Among the 43% who say they prefer their podcasts as an audio-only experience, Apple is the most used platform (30%), followed by Spotify (24%) and YouTube (6%) a distant third. Among the 57% who prefer some form of a video podcast experience, YouTube is the most used platform (35%), followed by Spotify (21%), with Apple way behind (9%).
With Spotify and Apple now offering the option to watch podcasts, they have a lot of work to do to develop the video brand association
YouTube holds a commanding lead as the platform listeners associate with having watchable podcasts. Even with full video episodes of The Joe Rogan Experience exclusively available on Spotify, few listeners associate Spotify with video podcasts.
Podcast genre usage varies by podcast audio/video experience preferences and platform
The emergence of video as a method of consuming podcasts does not mean every show has to add video elements. Some podcast genres such as True Crime are better suited to an audio-only format.
The True Crime genre ranks third among those who prefer an audio-only podcast experience. Among listeners who prefer to actively watch podcasts, True Crime ranks 8th.
The Music genre ranks top three among both those who actively watch or those who watch but minimize the video. Music ranks 10th among those who prefer an audio-only podcast experience. Other genres are consistently popular regardless of how listeners prefer to experience their podcasts (News/Current Events, Sports, and Comedy).
We see a similar pattern in Triton Digital’s Podcast Metrics Demos+ service, developed in partnership with Signal Hill Insights. In the more than 12,000 surveys conducted in the past year, the genres listened to in the past month vary among users of the big three podcast platforms. For example, True Crime has a 24% past month listenership among Apple users versus 21% on Spotify and only 11% via YouTube. Meanwhile, Music ranks 6th among YouTube users but doesn’t even reach the top 12 genres among Apple Podcasts listeners.
Among those who watch podcasts, “eyes on” advertising attentiveness rivals linear television
A major Nielsen study found that when TV ads are playing, 39% of the audience are “eyes on” to the screen, 40% are looking away to a phone or second screen, and 20% are out of the room.
The Podcast Download finds that 69% of podcast watchers say they have eyes on the screen for podcast ads some or most of the time. The podcast video experience does a better job with advertising “sight, sound, and motion” than legacy television.
- Podcast advertising has exploded as a mainstream advertising platform among national brands and media agencies surveyed by Advertiser Perceptions. For the first time, podcast ads are being used by a majority of marketers.
- Nearly a third of the podcast audience prefers to “actively watch” a podcast with a video component.
- Podcast listeners who prefer having a video option lean male and are more likely to be heavy podcast consumers. Audio and video podcast preferences drive their choice of primary platform. Apple is the most used platform among listeners who prefer an audio-only platform, while YouTube is the most used platform among those who prefer some form of a video podcast experience.
- Podcast genre usage varies by podcast audio/video preference and platform. Listeners who prefer watchable podcasts or YouTube as a podcast platform are more likely to favor the Music genre, while audio-only listeners or those who use Apple Podcasts more commonly listen to True Crime.
- Among podcast listeners who watch podcasts, “eyes on” advertising attentiveness rivals linear television.
Lauren Vetrano is the VP of Advertiser Measurement & Insights of the Cumulus Media | Westwood One Audio Active Group®.
Jeff Vidler is the President and Founder of Signal Hill Insights.
Contact the Insights team at CorpMarketing@westwoodone.com.