Introducing The 2021 State of Audio.

Move Over Social Media. Podcasters are the New Influencers in Town.

By Ken Lagana, EVP, Digital Sales & Strategy, Audacy

Social apps like Instagram have served as a popular go-to for influencer marketing. But as social media platforms continue to grab headlines so much lately, brands are understandably re-evaluating their media strategies and social partnerships. For advertisers looking for new options and significant alternatives, podcasting can fill the void.

Everybody’s talking about podcasts. 80 million people—or 28% of Americans over the age of twelve—listen to one each week.1 With Audio creators evoking such passion with audiences, is it fair to say today’s most influential influencers are podcasters?

Absolutely. 

It’s not just the compelling content. It’s also the curated, brand safe environment, and the deep connection and engagement podcast hosts have with listeners. For all these reasons, attention on the medium is mushrooming. Podcast advertising revenue will surpass $1 billion this year and double that amount in 2023.2

Brand Safety

Advertisers love the immediacy of social media. Podcasts brings the same quality to the table, especially with episodic releases happening in real time or close to it.

You get today with podcasting a lot of the same benefits that come with other digital media. It’s measurable, attributable, and it’s easy to switch out ads because of dynamic ad insertion.

But podcasts also have the benefit of greater curation. Imagine a classroom of 8th graders with the instructor standing at attention. With social platforms, it can feel like the teacher disappeared and the students are throwing spitballs and running amok.

No one knows curated podcast experiences quite like Podcorn – the experts at creator and brand collaborations. With Podcorn within Audacy’s portfolio, brands can tap into over 50,000 micro-influencers to craft niche audience and custom influencer segments.

Connection

Whether you’re walking the dog in the morning, running out to the office, or working out at the gym, Audio listeners are paying attention—spending 60% more time with Audio than social media.3

It just makes sense. When you’re listening to somebody weekly, or even multiple times per week, it’s got to have an impact. Audio is the trusted friend whispering in your ear when you’re rewarding yourself, or what we call Personal Primetime.

But there are countless studies showing the connection points between an audience and podcasters are like nothing else. This is especially true for younger folks. 83% of Gen Z podcast listeners say their favorite podcasters feel like friends.4

That can be true for social media creators, too. But here’s the big difference: it’s a different level of access with podcasts. Spending 30 minutes with a trusted voice develops a deeper connection than spending 5 or 15 seconds watching a quick video. We really get to know what makes these podcast hosts tick.

Engagement

Podcasts offer an uncluttered environment, so ads tend to stick out. They resonate more because there’s less of it. But even more, podcasts immerse us in the things we’re curious about. So, we pay attention—and that makes a great atmosphere for brands. Six out of every ten podcast listeners are willing to act after hearing a product advertised on a podcast.5

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And two-thirds of Audacy podcast listeners (64%), trust recommendations made during the program. That’s a number 20% greater than audiences for pure-play digital promotions.6 That trust is even greater if a podcaster does an endorsement or a live read.

Podcast Influencers On the Rise

For brands looking to shake up their social media buys, podcasts are standing out as the new frontier for influencer partnerships. Audacy has a lineup of influential content creators in every major genre. As a Top 3 podcast publisher with 29 million monthly podcast listeners, there’s a podcast host and engaged audience to match every brand. National brands looking to expand to younger shoppers are tapping into hosts from our Ramble podcast network – on shows like Emma Chamberlain’s Anything Goes, and Ear Biscuits with Rhett & Link. Brands targeting male audiences are heading to our leading sports and news podcasts. Niche brands are heading to true crime, scripted originals, and the list goes on and on. Trusted podcast networks and influential hosts are successfully driving brand goals, whether KPIs are sales conversions or brand awareness.

There’s so much power in the podcast personalities. We’ve partnered with Emma Chamberlain… She’s so unbelievably influential and has a lot of power with Gen Z, especially our shoppers and we’ve seen it with our results.

Kristy Carruba
Director of Audio Strategy & Planning at Macy’s

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SOURCES

1 The Infinite Dial 2021 Report from Edison Research and Triton Digital

2 IAB U.S. Podcast Advertising Revenue Study May 2021

3 Audio Amplification: Defining Engaged Impressions study, Alter Agents, August 2020

4 Whistle Wise and Audacy’s How to Engage Gen Z with Audio 2021 study

5 Nielsen Scarborough Research, Market/Release: Podcast Recontact Study (Listeners Only) 2020 Release 2 Total (May 2021)

6 Audio Amplification: Defining Engaged Impressions study, Alter Agents, August 2020

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