A lot can change in a year, and podcasts are a perfect example of this. The medium saw a significant growth in engagement from 2016 to 2017. As a result, podcasts are becoming a darling of advertisers, as well as a trusted source for brands looking to reach consumers. But are podcasts driving results?
Podcasting continues to evolve as it engages and entertains growing audiences. And avid podcast fans can play a crucial role for marketers and advertisers looking to identify what’s next for this burgeoning medium. Nielsen’s first-quarter 2018 Podcast Insights Report defines “avid podcast fans” as those with the highest scores in Nielsen’s Fanlinks Survey asking households to rate their interest in various genres of podcasts. In Fall of 2016, 13 million homes identified as “avid fans.” In fall of 2017, the number of homes who consider themselves “avid fans” surged to 16 million. This growing level of engagement means more opportunities for advertisers and marketers to connect with their audiences.
With this surge in growth, more and more advertisers are investigating and experimenting with reaching podcast listeners. In the first-quarter report, Nielsen spotlights the purchasing behaviors of podcast fans, including avid podcast fans, for three product categories: juice, milk and cereal. These are mainstream products that nearly all U.S. consumers buy on a frequent basis.
The category of cereal, in particular, is a good example of how influential avid podcast listeners can be. Ninety-three percent of all households in Nielsen’s Homescan Panel have purchased breakfast cereal in 2017—that’s nearly 115 million homes in the U.S. When it comes to podcasting, more than half of all cereal-buying households (62 million homes) indicated that someone in the home is a fan of podcasts. Of these cereal-buying homes with a podcast fan, roughly one quarter (15 million homes) are avid fans. Avid podcast fans are also heavier consumers of cereal. The average podcast household spends $72.51 per year on cereal while avid podcast fans spend $77.93 per year on cereal (13.4% more than the average household). In total, $4.5 billion dollars were spent in 2017 on cereal among podcast households in the U.S.
While the engagement and purchasing potential of avid fans can appeal to advertisers, brands and marketers need to be certain that their investments will generate a return. The first-quarter report also highlights a survey of podcast listeners conducted by Nielsen’s Media Lab to gauge responses to advertising in podcasts. Respondents were asked to score their likelihood to purchase a product or service from a variety of advertisers. After hearing the ads during a podcast, the respondents were once again asked how likely they would be to purchase a product or service from a variety of advertisers. Forty-six ads were tested, and all five genres of podcasts delivered an increase in purchase intent. Mainstream podcasts in the comedy genre delivered +7.3% brand lift on average while more niche-oriented podcasts in the business category scored a +14% brand lift for a variety of advertisers.
Positive results like these are an encouraging sign that podcast advertising can be an effective medium for fast-moving consumer goods advertisers, as well as other consumer brands looking to connect with a mobile and engaged audience.
For additional insights download our latest Podcast Insights report.