The number of US adults who listen to podcasts on a daily basis grew by more than 3.6 million in 2019, with the average number of podcast episodes listened to per week increasing by 10%. In fact, data from Nielsen indicates that the total podcast audience is currently growing at a compound average growth rate of 20%.
Per Nielsen’s data, more than 36 million US listeners access podcasts through their smartphone, making it easier for heavy users to listen to podcasts away from home. Indeed, while heavy users are 24% less likely than average listeners to engage with podcasts at home, they are 30% more likely than average to listen at work and 9% more likely to listen in transit, whether it be in their cars or on public transportation. This makes sense logically: heavier listeners are more apt to be found tuning in to their favorite podcasts in a variety of locations. (This data may of course change in the coming months as more people are bound to their homes in light of restrictions related to the coronavirus pandemic.)
The opposite is true for light listeners, who are 28% more likely than the average listener to listen in the comfort of their home, 31% less likely to listen at work, and 10% less likely to engage during transit.
Although smartphones are the preferred method of listening for podcasts, this method is unsurprisingly less conducive to listening with other people. Nielsen’s study found that only 8.5% of listeners who use a smartphone for podcasts listen with someone else. Smart Speakers, on the other hand, allow for a larger audience, with 21.3% of listeners saying they listen to podcasts on Smart Speakers with someone else. This is promising for potential advertisers to reach a wider audience, particularly as separate research indicates that 1 in 6 Smart Speaker owners are heavy podcast listeners.
While there are some marketers who believe that the potential for advertising on podcasts has been overstated, not only does Nielsen point out the growing reach of podcasts, other research shows that listeners are receptive to ads they hear on this still-emerging platform.
About the Data: Findings are based on Nielsen’s Podcast Listener Buying Power Database.