Podcasting Listeners Are Paying Attention

I just love it when the data weighs in to support something I have witnessed anecdotally and intuitively known long before research could prove it. Podcasting does the heavy lifting of finding niche audiences and capturing their attention in a way that is otherwise unattainable to marketers. Be sure to read all the way down to Rox’s 4 L’s of Podcast Success.

I am presenting here the results of two studies, one by Arbitron/Edison Research and one by PodTrac.

18% growth over 2007 based on Arbitron/Edison Research Survey
I was lucky to be on a panel of experts who spoke at ad:tech san francisco two weeks ago, on behalf of the Association for Downloadable Media. In our session, we released the latest survey data from Edison Research addressing both the size and the behavior of podcast audiences. Their data is oriented somewhat towards audio podcasts, and IMO video podcasts are audio podcasts on steroids.

Here’s the takeaway from the lead analyst, Tom Webster.

The audience for downloadable media is not only growing, but also represents a very attractive target for advertising…and those 23 million Americans are affluent, spend lots of time (and money!) online, and are increasingly more difficult to target with interruption advertising. I would love to see more and more partnerships between mass media broadcasters and independent content producers. You need each other.

You can download the full PDF here from Edison Research. (PDF)

The second study gets down to the nitty gritty: so what if there are more podcast consumers, are they paying attention? Yes, and in ways that are unheard of in traditional advertising and marketing.

* Average unaided ad recall of 68%
* Average aided ad recall of 89%
* 73% average increase in likelihood to use/buy vs control group
* 69% having a more favorable view of advertiser due to ad exposure

How is this possible? PodTrac CEO Mark McCrery summarizes it this way:

Narrowly targeted audiences, appropriate ad formats, content relevance, and show host involvement are some of the factors which come together to produce highly effective ads in online shows and podcasts.

I would describe it as Rox’s Four L’s of Podcast Success:
# Love: Podcast producers deliver authentic, topic-specific content and do the heavy lifting for attracting a unique, targeted, and interested audience. People who love Hawaii watch Beach Walks with Rox.
# Loyalty: Podcast hosts, who by virtue of sharing their expertise and some personal details, create very loyal audiences. Over 60% of Beach Walks viewers tune in every day.
# Location: Podcast audiences largely consume the content at the physical (not geographic) location of their computer (60-70% on average) and can take immediate action when presented with offers from show sponsors. When listening to traditional radio or TV, they are not in a physical location to be able to respond on impulse. (Being able to take podcasts on the go is an added bonus of podcasts—not available to radio or TV. We show Beach Walks episodes to our seat mates on the plane coming back home to Hawaii, and that combined with a good old-fashioned postcard generates new viewers and gives travelers a personal connection to the vacation of their dreams)
# Leadership: Podcast hosts serve as a filter for their audiences, as most will not accept sponsors for products and services they do not support. This is the best of leveraging word-of-mouth advertising with scale.

I didn’t include it, but another L could be the Luxury market. Podcast users are far more likely to have attained at least a college degree, are more likely to live in households earning in excess of $75,000 per year, more likely to buy online, and more likely to use pop-up blockers. But heh, it doesn’t always have to be about the Benjamin’s!
What do you think about podcasting? I’d love your feedback.