CivicScience reported back in January that podcasts are big business. Just about one-fourth of the general population age 13+ listens to a podcast, and that number has remained unchanged since that initial January study.

To go further, CivicScience asked podcast listeners about the types of podcasts they are streaming, and about the effect of podcast advertising.

So Many Podcasts, So Little Time

If nothing else, the survey which asked listeners about the types of podcasts they consume the most proves just how many different genres of podcasts exist. In fact, in addition to news, non-fiction / interview, and true crime podcasts, ‘other special interest podcasts’ was right up there with them in terms of popularity.

Though true crime podcasts appeal most to Gen Z, the appeal is broad. We see this flipped with news and political podcasts – they are most listened to by Baby Boomer podcast listeners, but still listened to broadly across the ages (even 20% of Gen Z podcast listeners listen to news podcasts). But the winner in terms of widespread interest across generations goes to the non-fiction storytelling or interview-style podcast (the Joe Rogan, Dax Shepard, Ira Glass-type podcasts out there). These resonate the most with everyone.

True Crime is a force to be reckoned with among women, as past CivicScience studies have indicated broadly. Men are more into the interview-style / non-fiction podcasts. Also, women are more likely than men to listen to news podcasts.

The Impact of Podcast Advertisements

Podcasts run on sponsorships. Twenty-two percent of podcast listeners have purchased an item based on an ad.

No surprise that the most popular types of podcasts are also the ones whose listeners have made a purchase due to an ad. It appears that special interest podcasts, whether true crime or not, as well as news and political podcasts have the highest conversion of ads within them.

One-Third of Podcast Listeners Listen Daily

Daily podcast listeners are more likely to be men, sports fans, follow food and cooking trends, people who eat out for lunch, and heavy social media users. 

The more frequently someone listens to a podcast, the more likely they are to have made a purchase after hearing an ad.

These heavy listeners are also just into original content in general; they’re more likely to watch content from Netflix, HBO, and the like.

Branding Works

Those who have purchased an item based on a podcast ad over-index as being brand loyal when comparing brand vs. price. So, brand stories, and hearing people talk about them on popular podcasts, resonates greatly with these folks.

What About Branded Podcasts?

They aren’t as popular, but it’s probably an awareness thing as 55% of the general population has no idea they exist (and 39% are just not interested). Branded podcasts from brands like McDonald’s, eBay, Tinder, etc. have only proliferated a small part of the podcast market with 6% of the population having listened to them or planning to in the future.

No surprise these branded podcasts are more likely to have been adopted by younger folks.

Podcasts are the latest phenomenon produced by brands, celebs, and everyday people alike. How well advertisements resonate will keep them going, and it’s clear that branding means more to listeners who make purchases than saving a buck.