Frequently Asked Questions

1. What’s the penetration of podcast listening?

Almost 40% of Australians (9.5 million people) are expected to listen to podcasts in the next 12 months. That’s more than triple the 13% (2.9 million) who listened in the past year1. In the US, 36% of those aged 12 and over have listened to a podcast2. Some 21% listen to more than one a month — equal to the number of active users on Twitter and significantly greater than Spotify.

2. How much time do people spend listening to podcasts?

In Australia the average podcast consumer listens to 5.5 podcasts a week3, or almost 4 hours.

3. What are the most popular podcast content genres?

News and current affairs, comedy and sport.

4. What’s the split of podcast consumption by device?

Australians generally listen on a mobile device. About half use their smartphones, a quarter use tablets and the remaining quarter use a desktop computer.

5. Where do most people go to and and download podcasts?

It’s no surprise that iTunes and Apple’s podcast app deliver about 65% of all podcast downloads. The remainder come from other other iOS and Android apps such as Stitcher, Overcast and Pocket Casts, using embedded players in publisher sites and native players in social platforms like Facebook and Twitter.

6. Where do most people listen to podcasts?

In Australia most of us listen at home (76%) followed by the car (44%) and on public transport (32%).

7. When do most people listen to podcasts?

Monday to Friday, most Australians listen from 4pm – 7pm (46%) and from 7pm – 12am (47%). They also listen from 5:30am – 9am (36%), 9am - 12pm (34%) and 12pm – 4pm (35%).

On weekends, Australians listen most during the afternoon (44%).

8. How are ad impressions for podcasts measured?

Ad impressions are calculated based on podcast downloads.

If someone downloads a podcast episode containing an ad, that counts as one ad impression.

The total number of times that the episode is downloaded is the "total impressions". So if the episode is downloaded 100,000 times, it has delivered 100,000 ad impressions.

9. How do we know for sure that every ad is listened to?

Like advertising in print, radio, television or billboards, we don’t.

But - unlike print, radio or television - we do know that the listener has proactively sought out and selected that specific show and downloaded it. Most listen to it straight away.

Edison research4 tells us that 97% of downloaded podcasts are listened to, and 79% of those are played immediately. A 2016 Mid Roll Media survey confirmed that 90% of respondents listened to the ads.

10. How does podcast download measurement stack up against the current GFK radio audience measurement used in Australia?

Podcast download counts are far more precise than the sampling methodology and statistical estimates used in radio surveys.

First: A download count comes from first party, objective data and is a solid number.

In radio surveys, participants try to remember their listening habits over a week and record them in a paper diary in 15 minute increments. For a 10-week survey in Sydney, a city of almost five million, surveyors hand out about 2,500 diaries — roughly 250 a week.

Second: Podcast download data is delivered continuously in real time. It is not constrained by survey periods. We can track exactly where (to the postcode) and exactly when a podcast episode is downloaded. We can track the type of device, the operating system and the source of the download such as iTunes, a website or Facebook.

Third: Increasingly, listeners are downloading podcasts from our Facebook player and other web-based players. This delivers ever-deeper listener data.

11. Are podcast ad campaigns effective?

Overwhelmingly, yes.

Edison’s The Podcast Consumer reported that 65% of podcast listeners are more inclined to consider buying products and services advertised on podcasts, and 60% of listeners prefer to purchase brands that advertise in their favourite podcast. And it’s fuelling the funnel with 45% of podcast listeners saying they visited a podcast sponsor’s website after hearing the message.

In 2016, US-based Mid Roll Media surveyed 11,123 podcast listeners and found that 90% of respondents listened to the ads. Some 80% were able to name at least one brand - unaided - advertised in an episode, while 67% could name a specific product or feature.

Also in 2016, comScore cited podcasts as the preferred medium for digital ads for consumers aged 18 - 49. “Not only do podcasts over-index on reaching some of the most valuable and hardest-to-reach audiences,” said comScore VP of Marketing and Insights Andrew Lipsman, “but they also put consumers in a mindset that’s favourable to ad receptivity".5

While video has larger audiences than podcasts, podcast listeners are more engaged in the content. Brands such as Ford, GE, Coke, Netfix, HBO, Colonial First State, Vero and McDonalds now feature podcasting in their marketing strategy. They join trailblazers such as Audible, MailChimp and Squarespace who use podcasts year after year to advertise their products and services.

12. How do advertisers measure the success of their podcast campaigns?

This depends on the campaign type. For direct response campaigns, advertisers use redemption codes, custom URLs and site traffic as their measurement tools.

For brand tracking, advertisers use social mentions, search enquiries and site traffic.

13. What’s best practice for an effective podcast ad campaign?

Brands advertising in podcasts gain a special sanction with listeners. They borrow a sense of endorsement from the podcast creators unlike any other medium. Much of this comes from the nature of podcast advertising. Podcast ads convey intimacy through a range of integrated options, from host-read ads to hosted stories that immerse listeners in content-rich brand environments like never before.

Unlike radio, podcasts also offer brands a rare opportunity to stand out from the ubiquitous three-minute block of ads. Instead, the brand becomes part of a solus or near solus environment, providing higher engagement with consumers who are actively listening, not skipping or tuning out to brand-led content.

Most successful campaigns air over a minimum of five episodes, generating a 39%6 increase in unaided recall as listeners ‘lean in’ to piece of each original ad content, not recycled from previous episodes.

1. Telsyte Australian Digital Consumer Study, 2016 2. The Podcast Consuwmer - Edison Research, 2016 3. ABC Audience Research, 2016 4. The Podcast Consumer - Edison Research, 2016 5. Podcast Consumption on The Rise - Wondery/comScore, 2016 6. Midroll Recall Survey, 2016