There’s only one chance to make a first impression and for many podcasters that make-or-break moment comes quick. A new survey conducted on behalf of the WarnerMedia Podcast Network finds a majority of podcast listeners give a new podcast 15 minutes or less to become hooked. That includes 30% who said they give a podcast up to a quarter hour to decide whether it’s something they’ll start consuming. Another 27% said they’d give a podcast up to five minutes. And 6% said they’d give a show up to a minute.
“These are folks who are already subscribed to podcast and have a habit of podcast listening, so perhaps that means they’ll give more time than someone who isn’t,” WarnerMedia Podcast Network VP/GM Tyler Moody said. “But for those of us who are in charge of making content it’s nice to see that amount of time to hook them in.”
Nearly a quarter of podcast listeners even said they listen to a full episode before deciding, and more than one in ten give a show between two and five episodes.
But the results aren’t all so rosy. The most frightening figure is 6%. That’s the number who only gives a show a minute or less before moving on forever.
The results are based on an online survey conducted by Crowdtap of more than 4,100 panelists in March and April among people who self-identified as listening to podcasts at least once per month. The results were presented at last week’s IAB Audio Committee meeting.
The survey was conducted in part to gauge the impact of the COVID-19 lockdowns on podcast consumption, and the results offer several reasons for the industry to be optimistic about how on-demand audio fits into Americans’ lifestyles today. When asked if recent events had them adding or cutting the amount of time they spent listening to podcasts, two-thirds said they were increasing their podcast time. Three in ten said it’s been by a lot. Another quarter said there has been no change, while a small number – just 7% – said they have reduced their podcasting listening time.
“A lot of people increased their time spent listening to podcasts, perhaps not a surprise a lot of that went to news and health content. But entertainment was still listed as the number one reason for people choosing to listen to podcasts,” Moody told the IAB event.
Among those who are spending more time with podcasts, three-quarters said it’s because they have more time in their day to dedicate to podcasts. And a third acknowledged their favorite podcasts were producing more episodes. “Roughly a third said they were shifting time away from other media to spend with podcasts,” added Moody.
In terms of what people are listening to, three-in-four of those surveyed said they were listening to some coronavirus-related podcast content, with 77% reporting they’d listened to a News genre podcast and 68% said they’ve heard a Health category podcast. Yet at the same time podcasts that fall in the Entertainment classification have also been attractive with 54% saying they’ve heard that type of show in recent months. “After the wave of news and health listening, there might be some escapism occurring with the content,” said Moody.
The survey said users also reported they were streaming more podcasts than downloading shows. That may be a reflection of more listeners using streaming music apps like Spotify and iHeartRadio to also find their podcasts.
Among those surveyed, two in five said they subscribe to six or more shows. And among this crowd of monthly podcast listeners, the average number of podcast subscriptions was nine.
Word of mouth also remains their biggest source of discovering new shows, cited by a majority (55%) and just over a quarter (27%) said they’ve purchased items they’ve heard advertised on podcasts.