A new study from Nielsen, “A Marketer's Guide to Podcasting,” shows significant growth in podcasting from 2016 to 2017 and reinforces that podcasting has become a very appealing medium for advertisers and a trusted source for brands looking to reach consumers.
Nielsen’s Fanlinks Survey asked households to rate their interest in overall podcasting as well as various genres of podcasts. The highest scores are tagged “avid podcast fans.” In Fall 2016, there were 13 million homes who identified as such. Over the course of a year, that number increased by three million, to 16 million “avid podcast fans.”
The report reveals the increasing role of smartphones in podcast usage along with a summary of Nielsen’s Brand Lift studies conducted specifically for podcast networks.
According to “A Marketer's Guide to Podcasting,” more than 23 million adults in the U.S. have listened to a podcast over the past month on a smartphone. That’s twice the amount who have listened on a computer during all of 2017. Three years ago the majority of podcast listening took place via computer. From 2014 to 2017, the podcasting audience on smartphones increased by 157%. The conclusion: The growth of podcasting is being driven by smartphones.
The report looks at three product categories from Nielsen’s Fanlinks Survey: juice, milk and cereal – mainstream products that nearly all U.S. consumers buy on a frequent basis. By matching purchase behavior in the Nielsen Homescan Panel to fans of podcasts, Nielsen is able to quantify the value of consumers who listen to podcasts.
Some 74% of all households in Nielsen’s Homescan Panel have purchased refrigerated juice in 2017. That amounts to nearly 92 million homes in the U.S. More than half of these homes (51 million) indicated that someone in the house is a fan of podcasts, and 12.5 million, or roughly one-quarter, of these homes are avid podcast fans. As such, the study found that avid podcast fans are also heavier consumers of juice. The average household spends approximately $37.98 annually on juice, while households with avid podcast fans spend an average of $41.32.
Fans of business podcasts spend the most annually, $40.77, while 78% of households who are fans of podcasts buy juice. There are 47,124,947 households buying juice who are fans of music podcasts. In total, $2 billion dollars was spent in 2017 on juice among podcast households in the U.S.
Looking at the milk category, 96% of all households (119 million) in Nielsen’s Homescan Panel purchased the product in 2017—and 64 million of these homes identify as avid fans of podcasts. As with the juice category, these podcast fans are heavier milk consumers than the average household. Avid podcast homes spend $100.10 annually on milk compared to the average household, which spends $90.73.
In total, $6 billion dollars was spent in 2017 on milk among podcast households in the U.S. Fans of kids and family podcasts spend $95.86 a year on milk per household. Nearly 98% of all households who are fans of kids and family podcasts buy milk; while 59,181,265 households buying milk are fans of music podcasts.
A look at the final category, cereal, revealed that 93% (nearly 115 million) of all households in the Homescan Panel purchased breakfast cereal in 2017. Of these households, 62 million indicated that someone in the home is a fan of podcasts; and 15 million of these homes are avid fans of podcasts. Avid podcast fans are also heavier consumers of cereal.
The average household spends $68.71 on cereal annually, while avid podcast fans spend $77.93. In total, $4.5 billion dollars was spent in 2017 on cereal among podcast households in the U.S. Fans of kids and family podcasts are the largest purchasers of cereal, spending $75.32 annually per household in 94.4% of the households who prefer this genre of podcasts. There are 57,274,911 households buying cereal who are fans of music podcasts.
Podcast ads lift purchase intent for a variety of advertisers, according to the study. An online survey of 7,000 podcast listeners age 18-49 was conducted in 2017 to gauge their response to advertising in podcasts. Respondents were asked to indicate the likelihood that they would purchase a product or service from a variety of advertisers. After hearing the ads within a podcast, the respondents were asked again to gauge their likelihood of purchasing. The result: Not only did podcast advertising lift purchase intent, it also drove awareness – 69% of respondents agreed that the podcast ads made them aware of new products or services.