It’s no secret that podcast consumption is growing. And new research shows the fastest growth rates are making the medium look a lot more like America in 2019. Edison Research’s latest Share of Ear report finds that podcasting’s reach among 18-34 year olds has grown 13% from the second quarter of 2018 to Q2 of 2019. The data says 17.3% of young adults now listen to a podcast each day, a two point increase compared to a year ago.
But even more noteworthy is the data—just made public by Westwood One in a blog post—show that driving the gains is increased daily usage by African Americans, Hispanics and women. “Ethnic and female growth provides guidance for podcast teams on content they should invest in and develop to tap into these growing audiences,” said Brittany Faison, Insights Manager at Westwood One/Cumulus Media.
Meanwhile, the number of those with at least one smart speaker in the home continues to spike according to Edison’s Share of Ear study. In Q2 2019, 30% of Americans reported owning a smart speaker, compared to 10% in Q2 2017. In just the last quarter, the percentage has grown 3%.
But how Americans are using that device may be of some disappointment to podcasters. Edison says just 3% reported listening to podcasts on their smart speaker. That’s less than the 5% who listen to audio books. The most common use is listening to AM/FM radio, which Edison said 18% of smart speaker owners said they used the device to do. “This is a result of AM/FM radio stations developing voice-activated applications to enable listening on smart speakers and their aggressive promotion of Alexa and Google Home listening,” said Faison.
Just like listeners, marketers and ad agencies are also immersing themselves in voice-activated options. In a little over a year, the number utilizing smart speaker opportunities doubled from 18% in January 2018 to 36% in March 2019. That’s according to Advertiser Perceptions which was commissioned by Westwood One to ask more than 300 marketers and agencies for their perspective about advertising on smart speakers in January 2018 and again in March 2019.
Among media agencies and brands who haven’t started using smart speaker applications, their likelihood to use these marketing initiatives within the next six months has also increased. This year, consideration (+26%) and intention (+29%) to become involved in voiced-activated opportunities have grown by double digits, the survey found.