The Rise of the Cross-Platform Listener

By Idil Cakim, SVP Head of Research & Insights and Frank Williamson, Sr. Analyst, Audacy

Trendwatcher alert! The way we listen to Audio has seismically changed. There is a surge of cross-platform listeners. They love their Audio, whether it’s on the Radio or on a podcast. They are inquisitive, active and about to change their lives. And they are ready to spend – big. 

According to Audacy’s recent study on cross-platform listening1 Radio audiences are adding more Audio genres and platforms to their day, giving advertisers additional touch points to connect, inform and entertain. The signals are strong: Edison’s Infinite Dial survey also verifies this trend, showing solid double-digit growth in cross-platform Audio listening. From 2021 to date, audiences coupling streaming and podcasts with traditional broadcast Radio has increased by +66%2

  • For millennials, cross-platform listening is a no-brainer. The percentage of these audiences who are listening to OTA and digital audio has nearly doubled in the past couple of years. 
  • GenX is not too far behind. They are extending their Radio habits with streaming OTA, showing +96% growth in a short time frame. They are also lunging into podcasts, marking +32% increase in listening to both Radio and podcasts.

So, what exactly is driving all this growth and how can brands take advantage? We identified several key trends among cross-platform listeners. Here’s what to know about these newly evolving audience groups to engage them effectively: 

Cross-platform listeners bring digital Audio into their passions. They turn to Audio as they seek growth and delve further into their hobbies. OTA listeners are embracing digital Audio to go deep on their passions and take their favorite Audio companion wherever they go. Especially those Radio and podcast listeners are most likely to be driven by a quest for knowledge, personal development and connection with their favorite hosts and content. 

Those Radio listeners who extend their listening into digital platforms are a curious bunch. They dig into podcasts to understand how and why. They listen to hosts to stay ahead of the curve. They are driven to succeed, and they are optimistic, making them all the more receptive to new information. These socially connected, passionate listeners will hear marketers out and share what they hear with their networks.

Cross-platform Audio is ritualistic, seeping into every daily moment. Cross-platform listeners are considerably more likely to make Audio their companion in their daily activities. Whether doing chores, exercising, or cooking, OTA, Streaming OTA and podcasts round out the day, giving the majority of cross-platform listeners a full soundtrack to their daily lives. 

Cross-platform Audio audiences are waiting for your sales hook. They are decidedly receptive to advertising, are taking recommendations and use Audio content to learn. They are inquisitive and digging in to learn more about their interests and uncover new trends. Ads help enhance the listening experience to benefit these curious listeners, across platforms. 

Listening with such keen interest yields results! Cross-platform listeners are almost twice more likely than average to report that they’ve made a purchase based on audio ads in the past year. And the majority have gone on to advocate for the product they tried to their friends and family, fueling word of mouth recommendations. 

Cross-platform listeners are ambitious and on-the-move, making them all the more interesting for advertisers looking to mobilize sales. Compared to the average listener, this group is notably in higher gear, planning for major changes. They are twice as likely to buy a house and start a family. They are also significantly more likely to start a business (+87%) or move to a new city or home (+92%). Most importantly, they are open to suggestions, turning to Audio often to seek solutions. 

What’s at the top of their shopping list? After a good vacation, they are looking to put their house in order with new appliances and audio technology. New phones are on the purchase list as they are looking to upgrade and/or switch providers. And they are likely to add or switch up their mix of streaming subscriptions. Whatever they spend on, they will seek information and be discerning with their choices, giving marketers opportunities to reinforce brand messaging, all the while introducing new products and solutions. 

Takeaway: Cross-platform listeners are at the onset of new life events and they are ready to buy. Their love of Audio, paired with their quest for knowledge, optimism, and drive to succeed, make them all the more valuable for marketing momentum. When planning and investing, we often think of reach and frequency. But the quality of our cross-platform audiences are sure to turbo-charge brand performance. The key to success with these intense listeners is to be present across platforms, following their habits, life events and needs for products and services. 

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    1. Edison Research Infinite Dial 2021-2023
    2. Edison Research, Nielsen Audio Today 2023 Report, June 2023
    3. Audacy X-Platform Audio Survey, Suzy Insights, June 2023, n=1,241

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