How Marketers Can Tap Into The Popularity of Podcasts

April 17th, 2019 | ACA Team, Association of Canadian Advertisers


Podcasts are the talk to the town, and there’s a big opportunity for marketers to connect with audiences in this fast-growing medium.

At a recent ACA webinar, Jeff Vidler, president of Audience Insights Inc., shared results from The Canadian Podcast Listener Study 2018, conducted in partnership with Ulster Media with the support of TPX (The Podcast Exchange).

This is the second year of the study, which surveyed 3,000+ Canadian adults and 1,500+ monthly podcast listeners.

“The buzz around podcasting is building,” said Vidler. “We saw growth year-to-year from 2017 to 2018… and we certainly expect to see more movement [in the 2019 study] as well.” Canadian Podcast Listener 2019 is scheduled to be in field in June, with results released in October.

The Canadian Podcast Listener Study shows that podcasts reach a young, affluent and educated audience. In 2018, 26% of Canadians 18+ listened to podcasts monthly, up from 24% in 2017, and 18% listen weekly, up from 15%.

More men (59%) than women (41%) listen to podcasts monthly, and the overall audience skews younger: 18-34 (52%), 34-54 (37%) and 55+ (12%).

British Columbia is the top province in terms of podcast listening, with 32% of adults in B.C. identifying as monthly podcast listeners. Ontario and Alberta are at 28%, followed by Saskatchewan and Manitoba (27%) each, the Maritimes (21%) and Quebec (20%). Monthly podcast listening in major cities is higher than the provincial figures: 36% in Vancouver, 34% in Toronto, and 25% in Montreal.

Monthly podcast listeners also have higher income and higher education than the Canadian average. Even with the bulk of listeners being aged 18-34, they are 27% more likely to live in households with incomes of more than $100,000 and are 57% more likely to be university graduates.

“It’s really an attractive audience,” said Vidler. “This may change over time as adoption grows, but certainly at this point, this is a hard-to-reach demographic that you can reach with podcasting.”

Monthly listeners are also spending more time with podcasts, up from an average of 3:58 hours weekly in 2017, to 4:31 hours weekly in 2018. In terms of number of episodes listening to weekly, the sharpest growth is among those 35-54 (up from 4.1 episodes weekly in 2017 to 5.1 in 2018). It’s also gone up among women (3.3 episodes weekly in 2017 compared to 4.3 in 2018).

For marketers, podcast listeners aren’t just attractive audience demographically. The audience is also more receptive to advertising on podcasts.

After hearing an ad on a podcast, more than half of monthly listeners (53%) took at least one of these actions: looked to get more information about it (40%), told someone else about it (16%) and purchased it (13%).

Podcast listeners are also less likely to say they avoid ads on podcasts than virtually all other media. Among 18-34 year-olds, 43% of monthly listeners say they actively avoid ads on podcasts, with more listeners avoiding ads on the radio (48%), TV (52%), print (55%), email advertising (60%), online video (66%), online banner ads (67%) and online pop-up ads (77%).

Why do listeners pay more attention to podcast ads than ads in other mediums? The host reading advertisements was cited as a reason among monthly listeners (56%).

“Part of the untapped opportunity for podcast advertising in Canada is that with dynamic ad insertion, it is possible to geo-target for Canadian audiences,” said Vidler.
“But, it’s also less likely to be avoided. A big part of that is the connection that people have with podcasts—the nature of the medium itself. Most podcast listening is done on smartphones with headphones or earbuds on, and you’re in an environment where you’re deeply engaged with the content.”

More details and survey findings from the Canadian Podcast Listener studies are available here.




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