Engagement With Podcasts Increases, Continues To Grow

U.S. podcast fans are spending even more time listening. More than half of domestic listeners increased their listening time in the past six months, and 41% expect to spend even more time with podcasts in the next six months, according to the podcast advertising platform Acast in partnership with Nielsen.

The study of 2,000 U.S. adults who consume podcasts at least monthly found 52% increased the amount of time they spent listening to them over the past six months. In fact, consumption of podcasts has increased more than most other media in the past six months — especially when compared to other audio-based media.

For example, online radio increased by 36%, AM/FM radio increased by the same amount, and audio books were slightly lower at 33%.

“Podcasts are undoubtedly an increasingly important part of the lives of listeners in the U.S.,” Nick Southwell-Keely, U.S. director of sales and brand partnerships at Acast, said. “We think of our favorite podcasters like our friends, and trust them to entertain and inform us just as much as we trust them to recommend brands and products we will enjoy. Changing consumer attitudes and interests have seen podcasting become an integral part of thousands of brands’ marketing strategies, and our research supports the increasingly valuable role podcasts can play.”



Looking at the next six months, podcasts outperform other media, as well. Just 36% of respondents plan to spend more time with streaming music, and only 29% plan to spend more time with online radio, per the research.

The podcast landscape is rich with opportunities for brands and podcasters to reach new audiences, Acast and Nielsen conclude. Nearly half (45%) of respondents said they started listening to podcasts in the past year, and listeners in the 18-34 range are most likely to have discovered podcasts during that time. That same age group is proving to be a loyal audience, with 79% saying they now listen to podcasts multiple times a week.  

Looking at podcast advertising, the study found low levels of advertising fatigue compared to other types of media. Just 25% of respondents said there are too many ads on podcasts, compared to 50% who believe there are too many commercials on cable TV.

Additional findings revealed that listeners enjoy various aspects of podcasts:

  • 70% say they enjoy listening to guest interviews.
  • 58% say they enjoy listening to panel discussions.
  • 55% say they enjoy listening to host banter.
  • News, music and comedy content are most frequently consumed, with nearly two-thirds (64%) of podcast listeners listening to news shows every week.
  • For episodes of an hour or longer, 62% of listeners say they listen to more than half — confirming that pre-roll and mid-roll ad placements are great ways to reach listeners. 
  • More than half of listeners (57%) will listen to a podcast episode multiple times.
  • Listeners are attentive when consuming podcasts — 65% are focused when listening to podcasts, more so than any other tested medium. 
  • Podcast listeners are actively listening to ads to support their favorite podcasters — 57% agree that listening to ads is important to support their favorite podcast hosts.
  • Podcast listeners are five times more likely to like brand-sponsored content in podcasts.
  • Podcast listeners are almost four times more likely to like brand-owned podcasts.

The online survey of U.S. adults aged 18 and older was conducted in July.


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