podcast newcomers

Podcasters & Advertisers: Meet Your New Audience

Unique among mass media, podcasting is still in a growth stage, with no end in sight. Consumers discovering podcasts are an opportunity for every stakeholder, podcasters, publishers and advertisers, alike. So, it’s critical to be aware of where the growth is – who are the new consumers?

We understand this opportunity by examining the data in the Podcast Download Fall 2023 Report that Signal Hill Insights conducts in partnership with Cumulus Media. This study surveyed 608 weekly podcast consumers aged 18+ in October 2023.

We call the segment of new consumers the Podcast Newcomers, because they started consuming podcasts within the last 12 months.  In order to really flesh out why and how to serve this audience, it’s useful to compare them to Podcast Pioneers. This is a group that is commonly thought to represent the podcast audience in general because they’ve been listening for four years or more. 

Here are four facts about Podcast Newcomers, and what the takeaways are for podcasters/publishers and advertisers.

1. Podcast Newcomers are Young

Half of Podcast Newcomers are aged 18 – 34, while less than a third (31%) of Podcast Pioneers are. This means a Podcast Newcomer is 61% more likely to be a young adult than a Podcast Pioneer.

This makes some intuitive sense. You’d expect that anyone new to a medium would tend to be younger than someone who’s been consuming a while. But young adults only make up 29% of all US adults, far less than the proportion they comprise of Podcast Newcomers. This shows how deeply into podcasts this demographic is. To attract them to the medium, and keep them listening, we need to be sure there are shows to meet their needs and interests.

Plus, young podcast consumers are more leaned in on discovery. 61% have started listening to a new show in the last three months. That’s much more than older age groups, and indicates they’re more receptive to your marketing efforts.

Podcast newcomers

Takeaway for Publishers: Ignore young adults at your own peril. This doesn’t mean you only should produce content exclusively for this age bracket, but seriously consider how they’re served, and how you market your shows to them.

Takeaway for Advertisers: If young adults are in your sights, then podcasts need to be on your plan. You have an unbeatable opportunity to be one of the first brands to greet them on their new podcast journey.

2. Podcast Newcomers Are More Female

Straight up, new podcast consumers are 23% more likely to be female than those who’ve been with the medium for four-plus years. No doubt, this has been driven by a rise in content featuring women and focused on their interests. True Crime is certainly an example, but the genre doesn’t have an exclusive hold, as seen by the popularity of shows like Call Her Daddy and Office Ladies.

Takeaway for Publishers: Women are not a monolithic audience, so think about how to welcome them into a wide array of content categories.

Takeaway for Advertisers: Any marketer focused on women needs to include podcasts in their plans.

3. Podcast Newcomers Are More Diverse

Similar to the story with women, the ongoing diversification of content attracts a more diverse audience. Shows like Drink Champs, Therapy for Black Girls and Erazno Y La Chokolata El Podcast are paving the way. No wonder, then, that Podcast Newcomers are 50% more likely to be African-American, and twice as likely to be Hispanic, compared to Podcast Pioneers.

Takeaway for Publishers: A focus on diverse creators and audiences will attract more fresh ears and allow you to develop unique audiences.

Takeaway for Advertisers: Podcasts are an ideal channel for reaching a diverse young audience forming brand affinities.

podcast consumers

4. Podcast Newcomers Are Just Beginning their Relationship with the Medium

Young adults are a desirable demographic for brands because they’re at a stage where they’re forming brand loyalty. Think of Podcast Newcomers the same way. 

In this first year they’re consuming an average of 5.5 hours of podcasts a week. While that’s a sizable investment of time, we know that it only goes up from here. Those who’ve been with podcasts for 2 – 3 years spend a little more time: 5.8 hours a week. But once they’ve been with the medium for 4 or more years, they’re investing an average of 7.6 hours a week.

podcasting newcomers

Takeaway for Publishers: You’re starting on a relationship that has significant growth potential, and the opportunity to guide consumers’ path into new shows. Having a network of affiliated content can be a real advantage, whether that’s a formal network or shows cross-promoting each other.

Takeaway for Advertisers: While it can be tempting to prioritize fast conversions, it’s also important to build a relationship with consumers over time. Keeping podcasts in the mix means you’re constantly reaching new audiences, while reinforcing key messages and building loyalty with them as they consume more content.

The IAB forecasts continued strong growth for podcasting next year. Podcast Newcomers are the engine of that growth, and these insights are a valuable asset for 2024 planning. 

Have a question about Podcast Newcomers and the growing podcast audience? Drop us a line.

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