By Calum Di Lieto, Published by PMW

Research shows consumers are more engaged and attentive to audio advertising than they are to television.

According to a study from Spotify and MAGNA, IPG’s global media investment and intelligence company, podcast listening mirrors television viewing habits, but brings with it a number of added advantages for marketers.

The Peak Openness: Leveraging digital to reach people when most willing to consider study shows that, unsurprisingly, digital audio has accelerated since the COVID-19 pandemic. 66% of respondents reported screen fatigue and 75% cited this as a factor in listening to more digital audio content.

The study also shows that podcast listeners are more engaged than TV viewers. Two thirds of listeners are more likely to be up-to-date with their favourite podcasts, versus just over half (55%) saying they keep up-to-date with TV shows. Furthermore, content binging is also more common on audio (46%) than TV (37%).

But for marketers, the key is how these engagement levels relate to ad reception. 67% of respondents say that they’re attentive to podcast ads, compared to 46% reporting that they are attentive to TV commercials.

Harrison Boys, Standards & Investment Product Director, MAGNA, says: “Audio has always been an effective medium, and it’s encouraging to see that podcasts are living up to their promise. Having an environment where people are more receptive to advertising is a big opportunity for brands.”

What’s more, podcast streaming advertising can adopt targeted performance marketing strategies based on demographic or interest segment, separating it from traditional audio advertising like radio which would primarily serve as a branding exercise.

In 2020, Spotify launched Streaming Ad Insertion (SAI). Allowing marketers to deliver traditional audio advertising with “the precision and transparency of modern-day digital marketing.” SAI’s 2021 features are set to include; Confirmed Ad Impressions, Audience-Based Buying (ALPHA), Streaming Insights, Native Ad Placements (BETA), Creative Performance and Third-Party Brand Lift Measurement.

The company’s advertising portal reads: “We have recently begun alpha testing audience-based buying. This new feature allows podcast advertisers to reach relevant audiences by leveraging our first-party data based on our logged-in audience.”

And so, it would seem that platforms such as Spotify are creating a stronger performance marketing offering, allowing advertisers to target specific audiences.

When looking at the demographics, it was found that all generations reported an increase in podcast consumption. However, the increase was higher in Millennials (30%) than Gen X (21%), Baby Boomers (12%) and even the younger Gen Z (20%).

Interestingly, it was also found that the more visually-focused industries such as retail, automotive and entertainment, could see more benefits from audio advertising – which might feel counter-intuitive given the medium. But, according to the study, 38% of digital audio listeners are more open to ads from visually-focused industries, compared to non-visually focused industries (29%).

Jon Gibs, Global Director & Principal Data Scientist at Spotify, summarises by saying: “We’ve seen massive growth in this space as consumers are increasingly spending more time  with digital audio and podcasts as part of their media diets.

“At the same time, they’re more open to the ads in podcasts than they are in other mediums like television. This is an amazing opportunity for advertisers to connect with new consumers or deepen their relationships with existing audiences.”

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