Just released: State of Audio - The Disruptors

The New Me-Time: Shifting Consumer Audio Habits

By Audacy Insights Team

State of Audio Series

Trying to figure out today’s Audio listener? Just pay attention to what they’re doing and what they’re choosing. 

They’re passionate, they’re drawn to innovative content, they crave personal connections, and ads that feel more authentic. And each and every day they’re voting with their ears to show the world what they love. For Audio advertisers and creators, these evolving consumption habits can be fascinating. 

So how are listeners switching things up as they turn to their buds, pods, and speakers?

1. Never enough

What do listeners want? More Audio, right now. And their cravings can’t be satisfied by a single source. That’s why the listener numbers just keep going up—for broadcast stations, streaming online, and for online-only content. 

Weekly Listening Jumped by 7 Million
to 176 million, shattering 2020’s all-time high
Average Weekly Listening Time Rose a Full Hour
to 16 hours and 14 minutes
Total Audio Reaches 99%
Compared to Total TV viewers at 96%

And what are savvy advertisers doing about this endless hunger for Audio? Amping up their investment – big time. 

Audio streaming ad revenue skyrocketed by 59% last year, outpacing increases in video and search1.

2. Me-time dayparts

It’s a twist on time-honored dayparts. As the traditional “drive time” gives way to “me-time” advertisers can spread their investment throughout the day to catch listeners during their own Audio prime time. Your own Audio oasis can be anywhere, whether behind the wheel, dinner prep, or rocking it at the gym.

3. Personalized ads

Here’s the secret: ads don’t feel like an interruption when they’re something you’re interested in. Presenting each audience with brand messages curated just for them turns ads from interruptions to interesting companions on their listening journey. 

4. Brushes with fame

Going ‘backstage’ to get up close and personal with their favorite personalities and influencers is a sure-fire way to keep Audio audiences connected and engaged. Devoted fans happily follow their favorite TV stars to podcasts, and their favorite TikTokers to Radio, to hear the untold stories, deeper conversations, and unfiltered behind-the-scenes gossip.

It’s about authentic connections. Our podcasts… are continuations of the story and connections with the talent behind the shows. They are very authentic, and that’s very intentional for us. We believe in [Audio] as a way to really expand the ways in which we can reach the consumers and serve them better.

Josh Walker
Chief Strategy Officer, HBO Max

5. Stories rule 

We love our hits, but it’s not just about the music. Stories connect us.

Music is a mainstay of the Audio universe, but today, it’s just the start. Original podcasts? Check. Celebrity chats? Check. Local sports icons delivering the play-by-play? Check. Audio movies that captivate? Check. Advertisers are leveraging the spoken word in this golden age of storytelling to connect with audiences in authentic, exciting ways.

22 Million More People Are Listening to Spoken Word Audio Daily
compared to just seven years ago
Spoken Word’s Share of Audio Listening Has Risen +40%
over the last seven years
75% of the U.S. Population Listens to Spoken Word Content
45% listen daily
Fans of Spoken Word Audio Listen 2 Hours Per Day
that’s nearly half of their total listening time

Want more of the latest Audio insights? Check out the STATE OF AUDIO guide for trends from the listeners, advertisers, and creators revolutionizing Audio.

Want to talk more about reaching your target audience?

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SOURCES

1 IAB / PwC Ad Revenue Report, FY 2021

NPR and Edison Research, The Spoken Word Audio Report, 2021; exludes YouTube for music

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