As podcast audiences broaden, so should advertiser engagement with listeners

The appeal of new content offerings throughout the pandemic has been widely documented, with the acceleration of connected TV adoption taking center stage. The appeal of video content notwithstanding, consumers’ content appetites have not been limited to media they can see. Importantly, podcasts continue to gain mainstream audiences, with light podcast listeners across age groups and multicultural listeners leading the growth.

Today, light podcast listeners account for almost half (49%) of the total podcast audience, and data from Nielsen Podcast Buying Power, which provides insight into who is listening to podcasts, shows how podcast reach is growing across age groups, including adults 40-55, who now account for almost half (47%) of listeners in aggregate. The increasing appeal of podcasts to general audiences is exactly why brands and agencies need to be tracking engagement with them and leveraging the opportunities in their marketing strategies and campaigns.

“The growth of podcasting has brought a massive opportunity for advertisers to reach highly engaged audiences,” says Arica McKinnon, Vice President, Client Consulting at Nielsen. “While the industry has made strides to capture metrics like downloads, brands have been challenged to understand the impact of ads. Today, those challenges are fading.”

Importantly, the pandemic has not had a negative impact on overall podcast engagement. When shelter-in-place restrictions went into effect last year, growth flattened, but it resumed late in the year and then ramped up notably this year. The broadening of the podcast audience combined with the rise in at-home listening speaks to a notable shift from who


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