comScore 375

As podcasting continues its steady march from niche status to mainstream media habit, new research shows the medium has hit a bullseye on some of the most valuable and difficult-to-reach consumers. Two-thirds of podcast listeners have engaged in various research and/or purchase-related behaviors as a result of advertising exposure from podcasts. This is among the findings in comScore’s first study dedicated to podcasting, commissioned by audio on-demand network Wondery.

Among all forms of advertising on mobile devices, podcasts create the highest improvement in perception, with 32% of respondents saying they tend to improve their perception of the products being advertised, tied for first place with social media. Among all forms of digital advertising, podcast ads are considered the least intrusive with only 25% indicating they found ads in podcasts to be intrusive.

“This research provides strong evidence for why this sector is very attractive for advertisers,” Andrew Lipsman, VP of Marketing & Insights, comScore, said in a news release. “Not only do podcasts over-index on reaching some of the most valuable and hardest-to-reach audiences, but they also put consumers in a mindset that’s favorable to ad receptivity.”

One in three podcast listeners expect to increase their podcast consumption over the next six months, the study found, following a similar increase in their behavior in the past six months. Nearly one in five Americans aged 18-49 report listening to podcasts at least once a month, while nearly one in three men 18-34 do so. And compared to the average consumer, podcast listeners are more likely to have a college degree or higher education, $100k+ household income, and to be early adopters in multiple categories including movies, electronics and consumer packaged goods.

The study, commissioned between March and April of 2016 among over 2,000 respondents in the U.S. aged 18-49, asked respondents to report on various emotions before and after listening. Podcast listeners felt more connected, intelligent and energized after listening to podcasts, the data shows.

"This study underscores the power of the podcast as a vital digital platform for brand advertising," said Randall Rothenberg, president and CEO, IAB. "We saw marketers and media buyers come out in strong numbers for the first IAB Podcast Upfront Showcase. Now, with research showing the medium's reach and resonance, we anticipate an even bigger turnout for the event later this year."​