Study Shows Podcast Consumers Are Unique

The Association for Downloadable Media has released a study on Consumer Attitudes toward Podcast Advertising. Podcast consumers indicated that they listen to audio podcasts weekly and subscribe to several podcasts each week.

The ability to listen to the content whenever and wherever they want is important to them. These particular consumers also indicate a pretty low frequency of other mainstream media usage. Edison Research’s Tom Webster translates that to mean “A podcast advertising buy is not a redundant media buy for advertisers and marketers. These are attractive, affluent consumers that mass media is losing.”

They own mobile phones that can play audio files, and they listen on their phones.  9 out of 10 podcast consumers prefer advertising within the content to the idea of paying for their content through a subscription fee. However, when asked how they feel about those advertisements, only 2% said they liked them and found them useful. The majority either liked or didn’t like them and occasionally found them useful. They were more positive about sponsorship messages, 72% were either interested in them or didn’t mind them and occasionally found them useful; and 82% reacted that way to sponsorship mentions by program hosts.

A nice majority of podcast consumers indicated that they had taken action after hearing or seeing advertising in audio or video content, with 71% of respondents visiting a web site after hearing a message. Of course, this is not the response rate to any advertising, since these are behaviors that podcast consumers indicate they have ever done, not responses to every ad.

It’s an interesting study that could prove helpful in building value for advertising in podcast platforms. I have begun to wonder about the long term viability of podcasting as a mass appeal platform, as the content that I used to download onto my ipod is now available for on-demand streaming, so I no longer need to subscribe, download and transfer to my portable device. An approach that highlights the podcast population as an appealing group of consumers who are difficult to reach in other ways makes sense, and that’s what this study provides.

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