Audio is an integral part of the daily lives of most Americans. According to Nielsen’s Audio Today report, more than 244 million of us (aged 12+) listen to radio each week; that’s nearly 92 percent of the U.S. population.
But in addition to the widespread reach of radio, today’s audio landscape offers a large variety of options for listeners to choose from. The upside, however, is that content creators and advertisers have a host of ways to engage listeners that didn’t exist even a few years ago. The key to capitalizing on this potential is to understand audio consumers, what motivates them to listen and how to use that information to tailor audio offerings and advertising to be most effective.
The Audio Demand Landscape, a new study that debuted yesterday at Nielsen’s Consumer 360 conference, provides new insight into the different kinds of audio consumers and how different types of audio serve those listeners.
First and foremost, the Audio Demand Landscape segments audio consumers into six different groups based on their habits and what they’re listening for when they tune in. Ranking the groups based on population size (the percentage of all audio consumers they account for) they are:
Music Loving Personalizers are passionate music listeners who are mainly seeking an emotional benefit by listening. They prefer free services and often play music in the background.
Discriminating Audiophiles are highly engaged consumers who listen to and prefer a wide variety of audio, and are willing to pay for specific content.
Convenience Seeking Traditionalists prefer broadcast radio, listening to their favorite stations and hosts; and they routinely listen in the car.
Information Seeking Loyalists are heavy broadcast listeners who usually listen to their favorite talk programs for news, education and to stay informed of current events.
Background Driving Defaulters are less engaged and typically have the radio on in the car for background entertainment or occasionally news and information.
Techie Audio Enthusiasts are avid consumers of many types of audio. These listeners are early adopters of new platforms to satisfy their audio needs.
When you consider these groups based on the percent of all audio hours of listening they represent, we see that the Information Seeking Loyalists and the Music Loving Personalizers account for nearly half (47 percent) of all audio consumption.
Not all audio consumers are after the same thing, and their specific wants and desires motivate them to use many kinds of audio. For many years, the industry has focused on demographics as an important indicator of how (and why) listeners tune in, but those areas only cover part of the story. As the audio landscape continues to grow, it’s important to consider more than just age and gender. And with an expanded knowledge landscape, everyone from broadcasters to musicians to advertisers will be able to tailor their content and marketing messaging based on the particular type of consumer they are trying to reach. From there, they can match the messaging to the most effective platform, or mix of platforms.
Nielsen’s Audio Demand Landscape was developed from a survey of an online panel of 4,950 Americans aged 18-74 conducted in English during March 2014 about their audio listening attitudes, motivations, behaviors, habits and preferences.