Acast research validates media buyers on podcast engagement

“When planning your audio strategy, it’s about being holistic. This research validates what marketers and buyers have suspected.”

Essence head of media Stephanie Shang is responding to new research unveiled by podcasting company Acast at an event held at its new Sydney headquarters.

Credit: Nicole Paton Photography

The Acast Sounds Smart report, presented in large part by Acast creative strategy lead for ANZ, Tom Roach, turned out plenty of stats and facts for both brands and buyers to take away about the effectiveness of podcasting at reaching audiences.

The research was conducted with The Lab and Nature, and saw over 2,500 Aussies surveyed, 1,000 of which were active podcast consumers.

Acast continued to increase its ad revenue last year, recording a 200% increase year-on-year since 2017. Listens to Acast podcasts grew by 54% in 2020, with the number of podcasting joining its platform globally up by 144%.

The key themes of the presentation centered around the scale of podcasts for advertisers, with 37% of Australians tuning in over the past three months, and 57% intending to listen in the future.

In addition, the report found that the continued bundling of podcasts with radio may not be the way forward. Acast found that 56% of podcast listeners don’t listen to commercial radio, while 90% pay for a premium music subscription service.

In addition, the sheer volume of podcasts and genres out there means that advertisers can connect with pretty much any tribe they want to.

“You know you’re going to be able to talk to the right people,” Roach says. “When planning audio campaigns, you can’t ignore podcasts.”

Podcast listeners were also found to be more engaged than consumers of other mediums. Only 17% of Aussies said podcast advertising isn’t relevant to them, and 49% said they pay more attention to advertising when it is read out by the podcast host.

“You’ve chosen to be in that environment,” Roach says of podcast listeners. “It’s the people you respect giving you advice about brands.

From a brand perspective, you’re there in a person’s life. You aren’t forcing your way in.”

Following the research presentation, Stephanie Shang of media planning agency Essence, spoke about what the findings mean for media planners and buyers.

She criticises other studies about podcast listening due to low numbers of survey respondents, but praised Acast for conducting their wide-reaching study. 

“Data and measurement is a big thing for Essence. You don’t want to base brand consideration off 30 people”.

It’s now obvious that “podcasting can be part of a broader strategy” because planners “need to meet consumers where they are”.

“Podcasters have their reputations on the line, so they won’t align themselves with a brand they don’t believe in,” she adds.

When it comes to planning, it’s about who has “exclusivity”, and who has “depth and breadth”.


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