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The Podcast Audience is Growing, But Advertiser Focus Should be Sharpening

3 minute read | February 2021

Given consumers’ budding on-demand lifestyles, it’s not surprising that podcasts have become the darlings of the audio realm—for consumers, content creators, and now, advertisers. This is good news for everyone, but as the podcast landscape broadens, content creators and advertisers will be increasingly tasked with ensuring that their programs and messages align with who’s listening. And when we look at audience trends, creators and advertisers should be focused on where the growth is.

According to Nielsen Podcast Buying Power data, 41% of U.S. podcast listeners are non-White, which makes the podcast audience more diverse than the country’s total population. And the depth of non-White podcast listeners is the result of annual growth rates that notably outpaced the growth of White listeners over the past decade. 

Across ethnic groups, Hispanics have gravitated to podcasts more than any other, as the reach among this group increased from 1.1 million in 2010 to 6.8 million in 2019. That represents a growth rate of 6x, which is well above the 4x rate of growth among Whites.

Not only is the growth of the Hispanic audience noteworthy, but it’s important for content creators and advertisers to understand that the podcast genres that Hispanics engage with are notably different from what other groups listen to. For example, kids and family podcasts rank highest among Hispanic consumers, a genre that doesn’t even rank in the top five genres among Whites or Asian Americans. 

For those familiar with Hispanic consumers, the preference isn’t that surprising, given their strong family ties and abundance of multigenerational households. In fact, Hispanics are the youngest ethnic group and are 40% more likely to live in a multigenerational household, and these households are the nexus of the Hispanic community. 

That doesn’t mean, however, that podcast creators and advertisers should be solely focused on Hispanic audiences. In looking at how Hispanic and Black consumers react to retail advertising they hear in podcasts, Black audiences are notably more likely to take action, including visiting a store to make a purchase.

At the start of this year, consumers had more than 1.7 million podcasts to choose from. That depth of content is a boon for consumers, but it can present a spending dilemma for brands looking to add podcasts to their marketing plans. Yet with broadening appeal and strong listener engagement, brands should be looking to podcasts as a more personalized way to connect with audiences who are maxed out on visual inputs. 

Some might argue that advertising in the most popular podcasts would be the ideal way to engage audiences en masse. But in a world that is moving away from cookies and toward actual people, smart brands are looking to engage the right consumers with a well-tailored message rather than casting a big net and hoping for the best. And as the base of podcast listeners rapidly expands, those well-tailored messages depend on having a full understanding of who’s listening and to what.

For additional insights, download our recent Podcasting Today report.

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