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Survey: 80% of podcast listeners want personalised ads

April 4, 2024

AMA, a specialist in creative and personalisation for digital audio advertising, has revealed insights from its survey of over 1,000 US consumers about their podcast listening habits and advertising preferences. Conducted in January, the survey uncovers the pivotal role of social media in podcast discovery. Additionally, it sheds light on listeners’ preferences for ad formats and timing, underscoring the growing demand for personalised ad experiences within podcasts.

“The data is unequivocal: Listeners want advertising that speaks directly to them, not just around them,” commented Steve Dunlop, Founder and CEO of AMA. “Our research confirms that when ads are well-integrated and hit that sweet spot of timing and content, they’re not just heard, they’re listened to.”

Social Media Emerges as a Key Player in Podcast Discovery

Key findings from the research indicate a strong link between social media usage and podcast discovery, with YouTube leading at 61 per cent, followed by 46 per cent of respondents discovering new podcasts through Facebook and 43 per cent through Instagram. Other platforms like Twitter, LinkedIn, and TikTok also played a role, with usage rates of 20 per cent, 9 per cent, and 39 per cent, respectively.

Varied Listener Comfort with Ad Personalisation in Podcasts

When it comes to personalization, 80 per cent of listeners show a preference for personalised ads in their podcast experience, signaling a substantial market appetite for customization. Nearly 20 per cent of respondents seek highly personalised ads, tailored directly to their individual interests and listening habits. This highlights the importance of hyper-personalisation, which can be achieved at scale with dynamic creative.

“Ad relevance is more than just a convenience; it directly leads to purchases,” Dunlop explained. “The study’s findings reinforce that dynamic creative both enhances brand impact, and aligns with listener preferences. Given that tailored ads resonate with listeners and benefit brands, the choice for dynamic audio advertising is clear.”

Listener Preferences Lean Towards Pre-Recorded and Host-Read Podcast Ads

The survey highlights listener preferences in ad formats with 38 per cent favouring pre-recorded ads (short commercial messages recorded by someone other than the podcast host and typically last 15-30 seconds) casting a shadow over the belief that host-read ads are more effective. Furthermore, just under a third (31 per cent) of listeners enjoy host-read sponsorship ads, while another 31 per cent prefer branded content (promotional messages seamlessly integrated within the podcast content, like a branded segment or episode). Regarding ad placement within a podcast, 42 per cent of respondents prefer pre-roll ads at the start of the podcast, one-third favor mid-roll ads, and one-quarter are inclined towards post-roll ads at the end.

Ad relevance proves to be a key driver in listener response, with a combined 42 per cent of respondents finding podcast ads either very relevant (15 per cent) or somewhat relevant (27 per cent) and acknowledging that such relevance has led to actual purchases. This highlights how relevant ads boost listener purchases, demonstrating targeted advertising’s effectiveness in driving consumer action.

Diverse Listening Habits Indicate the Need for Dynamic Creative in Podcast Ads

While 15 per cent of listeners are devoted, never missing an episode, a third of the respondents identify themselves as regular listeners. This highlights a potential risk of ad fatigue, particularly for regular listeners who might encounter the same ad repeatedly. This situation is all too familiar — repetitive ads can become irritating, detracting from the listener experience.

AMA’s dynamic creative technology offers a solution by adjusting the ad content to suit each listener’s context. With features like message rotation, even the same campaign can deliver unique ads to a listener – keeping the content fresh, engaging and reducing ad fatigue. This innovation is crucial for maintaining listener engagement, emphasising the need for flexible advertising strategies.

“Personalised advertising is the future of engaging podcast listeners,” added Dunlop. “Our study shows that listeners aren’t just open to personalised ads – they prefer them. This shift is monumental, steering us away from one-size-fits-all generic creative ads towards those that resonate with individual tastes and interests. Particularly revealing is the potential for programmatic advertising to transform podcasting, inviting major advertisers to engage at scale. By embracing this evolution, we’re not just reaching audiences but genuinely engaging them – marking a new chapter in digital audio advertising.”

Categories: Articles, Consumer Behaviour, Digital Radio, Research

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