b2b podcast

The Podcast Listening Habits of Highly Influential Executives

We do a lot of brand lift studies on branded podcasts, with about half of them being B2B podcasts.

Some of these B2B podcasts target the executives at large organizations who can influence multi-million-dollar decisions.

One of those brands recently contacted us to understand more about how to reach C-Suite podcast listeners (or the executives knocking on the door of the C-Suite) with their shows. Who exactly are these listeners?  What kind of podcasts do they listen to? What are they looking for from podcasts? Where do they listen? How do they listen?

Luckily, we knew where to look.

Every year, we conduct more than 12,000 surveys among adult podcast listeners in the US for Triton Digital. The primary purpose is to support the Triton Digital Podcast Metrics Demos+ service, modeling detailed audience profiles for thousands of podcasts by combining Triton’s download data with more than 100 demographic and other audience profile data points from our surveys.

A helpful side benefit of working with such a large survey sample is that it allows us to get a close-up look at some very specific audience segments – like  corporate executives for example.

Who are these senior executives listening to podcasts?

Based on the 24,505 Demos+ surveys we conducted over the past two years, high-level and mid-level executives at organizations with more than 500 employees account for 4% of all adult monthly podcast listeners. Some key characteristics of these highly-placed listeners:

  • Senior executives who listen to podcasts tend to listen a lot. More than 4-in-5 (83%) say they listened to a podcast in the past week, compared to just 66% of other monthly listeners. And they are more than 2x as likely to be what we call “power listeners,” consuming at least 5 hours a week.
Executive podcast listeners
  • Most of these executives are entering their peak earning years. With podcast listening skewing younger than the general population, senior executives who listen to podcasts are not the stereotypical gray-haired occupants of the corner office. They are concentrated between the ages of 30 to 49, with nearly half (47%) aged 35-44.
  • There is still a glass ceiling in the executive suite, even among podcast listeners. Nearly three-quarters (73%) of senior executive podcast listeners are men, compared to 54% of other podcast listeners.

What Types of Podcasts do Senior Executives Listen To?

Senior executive podcast listeners can be reached via a wide range of genres.

However, as you can see in the chart below, they also have distinct preferences. While comedy is by far the #1 genre among podcast listeners in general, it falls to a tie for #2 among senior executive listeners, replaced by news. The preference for podcasts that inform rather than entertain is evident throughout, with senior executives being more inclined towards business and education podcasts and more than twice as likely to have listened to technology podcasts than other podcast listeners.

b2b podcast

What are Senior Executives Looking for from Podcasts?

Reflecting their genre preferences, senior executives value deep insights over entertainment in the podcasts they listen to.

As shown below, they place added importance on self improvement, inspiration and challenges to the way they think – key considerations for any producers hoping to reach them.

Where do Senior Executives Listen to Podcasts?

Like other podcast listeners, nearly two-thirds(64%) of senior executives say they listen while relaxing at home. And, as heavy podcast listeners, most also find other ways to fit podcasts into their busy schedules.

Many senior executives take their podcast listening on the road, more than other listeners do.

In the past month:

  • Nearly 7-in-10 (68%) said they listened to a podcast while commuting by car/truck, compared to just 44% of other podcast listeners;
  • almost 3-in-10 (29%) took time out for a podcast while traveling by a plane or train vs. just 13% of other monthly listeners; and
  • more senior executives also listened to a podcast while working out or exercising – 51% compared to 31% of other podcast listeners.

Perhaps because of this on-the-go podcast listening, far fewer senior executives name YouTube as their primary podcast platform.

Spotify and Apple Podcasts are effectively tied as the platform senior executives use most often, at 24% and 23% respectively, with YouTube coming in at 18%. That’s vastly different from other monthly podcast listeners where YouTube lands at #1 for platform of choice at 31%, followed by Spotify at 24% and Apple at just 14%. 

Podcasts are a potent way to reach senior executives. As heavier than average listeners looking for self improvement and inspiration, they are a natural, high-value audience for B2B brands making their own podcasts.

Likewise, for B2B advertisers looking to build their brands among young, up-and-coming senior executives, podcasts offer targeted access to create mindshare among an audience that can be difficult to reach though traditional business media channels.

Be the first to get the insight!

Join the newsletter and get our audio insights sent right to your inbox - bi-weekly!