Nielsen: Podcast Listeners Are Extremely Diverse, Highly Inclined To Act On Ads

Podcasts offer a unique opportunity for marketers, with listeners who are both more diverse than the U.S. population and highly inclined to take action based on advertising, confirms a new Nielsen report focused on this medium. 

But optimizing podcast marketing results requires targeting by understanding the differences in content preferences and behaviors among various ethnic groups, rather than just defaulting to using series with the largest audiences, Nielsen stresses.   

While Whites account for 67% of the U.S. population and 59% of podcast listeners, non-Whites collectively make up 34% of the population but 41% of podcast listeners, according to data as of November 2020.

In other words, the podcast audience is more diverse than the country’s total population.

Hispanics, who make up 16% of the population, represent 19% of the podcast audience, followed by Blacks, who comprise 11% of the population but 13% of podcast listeners.

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Asian Americans represent 3% of the population and 5% of podcast listeners. Other ethnic groups (other non-Hispanic, American Indian/Alaskan Native, and multicultural respondents) make up 4% of the population and 4% of podcast listeners.

Between 2010 and 2019, Hispanic podcast listeners grew by a factor of six, from 1.1 million to 6.8 million, and Black listeners increased from nearly 889,000 to 4.2 million.

Asian-American and “other” ethnicity listeners each grew by five times, to 2 million and 1.8 million, respectively.

While Hispanics are the largest listener ethnic group, Black consumers are significantly more likely to take action, including visiting a store to make a purchase.

For example, Black consumers are 14% more likely to visit a retail location for more information after listening to a podcast, compared to 8% of podcast listeners overall:

The data also confirm that podcast listers overall — particularly heavy users/consumers — are highly engaged and inclined to take action based on podcast ads.

Fully 62% of heavy podcast users, and 37% of light users, visit websites to learn more about advertised products; 40% and 17%, respectively, visit sites to order products; and 10% and 6%, respectively, buy products in stores. (Chart at top of page.)

For effective targeting, marketers need to be aware of podcast genre preferences among different audience segments.

For instance, kids and family podcasts rank highest among Hispanics, whereas that genre doesn’t even rank in the top five among Whites and Asian Americans.

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