Podcast advertising: a powerful marketing tool for Canadian brands

March 6th, 2024 | Jeff Ulster, Co-publisher, Canadian Podcast Listener survey; co-founder/VP, The Podcast Exchange (TPX)

Podcast advertising a powerful marketing tool for Canadian brands - ACA blog article featured image

Podcasts are an increasingly valuable channel for brands looking to reach an attractive, hard-to-reach Canadian audience of engaged consumers who are very receptive to advertising.

There’s a lot packed into that sentence – so let’s break that down.

Who is the Canadian Podcast Listener?

Thirty-six percent of Canadian adults (18+) listen to podcasts monthly, according to the 2023 Canadian Podcast Listener survey. That’s 50% growth in the six years since the study began tracking reach. Listenership is spread pretty evenly across the country now, with the exception of Quebec, due to a smaller percentage of French Canadian listeners. That’s changing rapidly, too, with Francophone monthly listening growing from 17% to 28% in the last four years alone. Anglophone monthly listening now sits at 38%.
With that growth in reach has come a slightly increased mainstreaming of the Canadian listener – newer listeners tend to skew younger and less educated than more tenured listeners, and there are more Francophones. Having said that, the overall listener profile continues to reflect a young, well-educated, diverse and affluent audience.

Listener profile - ACA Blog - Podcast advertising a powerful marketing tool for Canadian brands


Podcast ads are the most positively received of all major media

This year’s CPL data shows that podcasting holds a commanding lead over other media for ad receptivity – and they carry less negative baggage compared to other ad-supported media. Podcast listeners are far more likely to say they find podcast ads informative, relevant and trustworthy, for example, compared to Radio, TV, social media or online video ads. Similarly, they’re less likely to say they are repetitive or annoying.
Furthermore, more than 6-in-10 podcast listeners say they have taken an action after hearing a podcast ad – ranging from searching online to find out more, to telling their friends, to learning about a product for the first time. More than one in 10 say they have purchased a product or service as a result of hearing a podcast ad.
They’re also less likely to avoid ads on podcasts “all the time” compared to other major ad-supported media, especially when it comes to host-read ads (podcasting’s special “superpower”!) Newer listeners are even less likely to skip ads than more tenured ones.

Podcast ads are the most positively received of all major media
Ads on podcasts are least likely to be avoided ‘all the time’

Podcast advertising is targetable, measurable and safe for brands

There are several newer tools that are already becoming industry standards in podcasting. Programmatic advertising is now very common, allowing buyers to use traditional DSP tools to target specific audiences and demos. Brand safety services, transcriptions and curation can help assure that a podcast is a good fit for the brand. Brand lift studies and listen-through rates can help provide attention metrics to make sure the message is getting through. Attribution tracking can verify that buyers are getting a good return on their investment.

Podcasting adds incremental reach to media planning

Podcasts add between 7 and 20% potential weekly reach of Canadian adults beyond what is delivered by other media. They are especially complementary to offline media and free music streaming services.
Whenever you do your media planning, it’s worth reaching out to a podcast expert – they can partner with you to build a data-backed podcast plan to help you achieve your marketing goals!

Download a free, brief summary report of this year’s survey at canadianpodcastlistener.ca. It offers high-level information about how many Canadians listen to podcasts, their demographics including age, sex, income and education, and some insights about platforms and podcast advertising. The complete report (100+ slides) is offered by subscription only.

Jeff Ulster is co-publisher of The Canadian Podcast Listener report. He’s also a co-founder of The Podcast Exchange (TPX) and serves as the company’s Vice President. Prior to TPX, he led Ulster Media, an independent podcast consulting and production company. From 2011-2017, Jeff was the Director of Digital Talk Content for the Canadian Broadcasting Corporation (CBC).