Podcasts, Radio and Advertising: Should You Invest in Audio?

07/04/2024   •   Profession news
Podcasts, Radio and Advertising: Should You Invest in Audio?
What are you listening to?

This has always been a common question, but today the answers are less and less expected.

People no longer listen to only music or news on the radio, but to content on various topics - podcasts, radio shows and streaming platforms offer something for everyone. Whether it's true crime, fiction, two friends chatting, or something else, there's an audience that will spend hours listening, not watching, despite what the popularity of short-form video content suggests.

What does this mean for you? Is it time to invest in audio advertising?

Find out below why radio and podcast advertising can be valuable to your strategy.

The popularity of audio content is constantly growing

It is estimated that the number of monthly listeners in the United States alone is 120 million and on a global level almost 505 million. Traditional radio is still popular — over 80% of adults listen to it on a weekly basis and it accounts for 37% of the time we spend listening to content.

Also, audio is easily integrated into many people's daily routines; they listen to podcasts at home (44%), while commuting (38%) or at work (13%).

In addition, audio content fulfils a unique need for people around the world: Spotify research shows that more people (56%) want to escape from visual content and 66% claim that audio gives them the break they want.

When it comes to Serbia, the Digital News Report states that 49% of the population listens to podcasts and that the most popular are those about lifestyle (food, fashion, travel, entertainment), followed by those specialized in certain topics (science, technology, art, health). They are followed by news podcasts (politics and international events), sports and contemporary life (for example: social events, crime).

When we listen, we really listen

One of the biggest advantages of the audio format is the listener's engagement.

You may think that radio (and podcasts) "suffer" from divided attention, but that's their advantage — research shows that as many as 64% of listeners actively seek out new podcasters and make time for their content — more than any other media celebrity.

This means that the time spent with podcasts is accompanied by high engagement and a clear intention of the listeners, and the same can be expected from radio, especially when we compare it to other traditional media: the majority of radio journalists feel very connected to their audience (59%), which is significantly more than journalists in the press (45%), on television (44%) and online portals (43%).

Also, 71% of the audience listens to a podcast episode in its entirety or almost to the end, and even for the longest shows (over 60 minutes), 64% of listeners listen to at least half of it. The commitment of the audience is also reflected in the fact that almost half of them listen to a new episode within the first 24 hours of its release.

Not all of us listen to the same thing, but we all listen to something

Audio offers another unique advantage: a very broad audience with very precise targeting.

It is estimated that there are over 3.2 million podcasts covering all possible topics and audiences, and radio has always adapted to a certain segment of the population through the programming scheme and music selection.

This doesn't mean you're limited to one demographic, though - both audio formats are popular among all generations.

Statistics estimate that over 80% of the US population listens to the radio at least once a week, regardless of age, and podcasts as a format are particularly popular among Millennials and Gen Z. Millennials make up the largest part of this listening audience (32%), followed by Gen Z (28.9 %), but the share of people over the age of 55 is also growing — in the previous two years, a growth of as much as 22% was recorded.

In Serbia, 45% of people aged 16 to 24 listen to podcasts, 41% of people aged 25 to 34, 31% of people aged 35 to 54 and 25% of people aged 55, and almost two-thirds of listeners in Serbia have a university degree.

This means that the audio audience is very diverse, and by investing in specific radio and podcast shows, you can cover whatever segment of the population you need.

We buy what we listen to

It's clear that audio content has its benefits, but you're probably still wondering if audio advertising is effective.

There's plenty of data to suggest that podcast and radio commercials really do get results.

The BBC found that advertising on podcasts increased brand awareness by 89% and brand affection by 24%. Also, listeners remember brands they hear about better than those they see in commercials - levels of engagement, memory encoding, and emotional intensity associated with the brand are 22% higher with podcasts than with television.

Additionally, people are more likely to trust what they hear on their favorite podcasts - over 60% of people find the hosts they listen to, to be reliable and trustworthy, and as many as 80% trust the recommendations they receive from them. When that recommendation is in the form of an ad, 64% of people follow it with full attention, and even a quarter wash away every advertisement they come across.

What particularly works in favour of radio and podcast advertising is that 95% of listeners say they took some action because of podcast ads. A third bought the product, 26% talked about the mentioned brand, 24% followed the brand on social networks and 24% searched for the brand on the Internet.

This indicates that audio ads have a high penetration — they reach even the most problematic group, which some call ad-avoiders. Nearly half of the general population thinks audio ads are "not at all intrusive," and Cumulus Media found that people are least likely to avoid ads with podcasts.

Finally, podcast advertising shows remarkable profitability and an excellent conversion rate of 34% and most marketers claim to improve campaign success by as much as 40%. Radio also offers impressive results: a Nielsen case study shows that an AM/FM campaign can increase sales by 10% and customer base by 17%.

Should you invest in radio and podcast advertising?

A few things are certain when it comes to audio content: it's growing in popularity, listeners are engaged, and the audience is responding positively to the ads they hear.

If you're looking for a way to increase brand awareness, increase sales, and build audience loyalty, it may be time to incorporate radio and podcasting into your paid advertising strategy.

Start by researching popular podcasts in your industry and radio programs that your target audience follows. Consider creative formats that fit well with the flow and character of the show — there are a number of resources on creating different types of commercials, from inserts to those read by the host.

In addition, it is useful to regularly monitor these media to know if someone mentions your brand or where it can be useful for you to be mentioned or to arrange product placement.