Cumulus Media And Signal Hill Insights’ Podcast Download – Spring 2022 Report: Watching Podcasts Soars As YouTube Edges Out Spotify To Become The Most Used U.S. Podcast Platform And Listeners Prefer Funny And Entertaining Ads To Rational “Feature/Benefit” Creative

May 17, 2022 By Brittany Faison and Jeff Vidler

Click here to download Cumulus Media and Signal Hill Insights’ Podcast Download – Spring 2022 Report.

Click here to watch Cumulus Media and Signal Hill Insights’ Podcast Download – Spring 2022 Report webinar in full.

For the eighth edition of our Podcast Download series, Cumulus Media and Signal Hill Insights retained MARU/Matchbox to conduct an in-depth study of 604 weekly podcast listeners in April 2022. The Spring 2022 report highlights trends from prior studies and examines new topics such as the growing use of video podcasts and the type of advertising creative the podcast audience prefers.

The Spring 2022 report includes an expanded definition of the podcast audience to now include those who watch rather than just listen. This expansion increased the podcast universe by 10%.

For the purposes of consistent trending, the analyses in this study used the “listening” definition of the podcast audience. We will call out the few instances when we examine the broader podcast audience universe that includes those who only watch.

Here are the key findings:

Six in ten weekly podcast listeners say they prefer podcasts with video

When asked how they prefer listening to podcasts, 28% say they like a podcast video they actively watch while listening and 29% indicate they have the video in the background/minimized while listening. 43% say they use audio only with no video.

Interest in a video experience is highest among Podcast Newcomers who started listening in the last year

Heavy podcast listeners and Podcast Pioneers, those who started listening four or more years ago, are more likely to favor the audio experience and show the least interest in video.

Those who prefer a video podcast experience overwhelmingly cite YouTube as the platform they use most for podcasts

“Podcast Watchers” are younger, lean male, and are newer to podcasts

Those who prefer an audio-only podcast experience tend to be older, more experienced with podcasts, and are heavier listeners.

Podcast video has greater “eyes on” advertising attentiveness than linear television

58% say they their eyes are on the screen when podcast ads are playing (“some, most, or all of the time”) compared to only 40% for linear TV, based on Nielsen studies.

Podcast platform wars: YouTube, by a nose, is now the most used podcasting platform in the U.S.

When asked to name the platform used most to listen to podcasts, 24.2% say YouTube, followed by Spotify at 23.8% and Apple at 16%. Over the last four years, YouTube’s share has steadily grown from 14% in 2019 to 24.2% in 2022. Over the same period, Apple’s share has dropped from 26% to 16%. The big three platform players (Apple, Spotify, and YouTube) have grown their combined share from 55% in 2019 to 64% in 2022.

Expanding the podcast universe to include the 10% of “Podcast Watchers” results in a similar pattern of most used podcast platform: Apple Podcasts at 15%, Spotify at 23%, and YouTube at 25%.

Several recent studies validate these findings. Triton Digital Podcast Metrics Demos+ service shows YouTube and Spotify neck and neck. A just-released study from Voices, which reported preferred podcast platforms, had the same rank order (YouTube 57.8%, Spotify 53.6%, and Apple 41.1%).

Podcast Newcomers who started listening the last year use Spotify and YouTube most; Apple is the leading platform among heavy podcast listeners and Podcast Pioneers who have been listening for 4+ years

Among iPhone owners, the combination of Spotify and YouTube now drive more podcast listening share than Apple

Over the last four years, Spotify’s “most used” share among iPhone owners has surged from 13% in 2019 to 21% in 2022. Over the same period, Apple’s share had eroded from 45% to 29%. Both YouTube and Spotify have grown strongly among both Android and iPhone owners.

Women ascend: Podcast Newcomers who started listening last year are more likely to be women

The newer the podcast listener, the greater the female audience composition. 55% of those who began listening to podcasts in the last year are women. Women represent only 39% of the Podcast Pioneers, those who began listening to podcasts four or more years ago.

Podcast advertising is a great way to reach the ad-free video streaming audiences of Netflix, Amazon Prime, and Disney+

Podcast listeners are heavy users of ad-free video streaming platforms like Netflix and Amazon Prime. Podcast advertising reaches tens of millions of younger consumers who have abandoned linear television for advertising-free video streaming services.

Podcast listeners spend nearly half their TV viewing time with ad-free video streaming.

The greater the time spent with podcasts, the more podcast ads generate consumer response and business outcomes

As a result of hearing a podcast ad, heavy podcast listeners (those who listen 6+ hours per week) are more likely to have searched online for a product, made a purchase, used a promo code, or followed a brand on social media.

Advertising creative opportunity: Podcast listeners prefer funny and entertaining ads but say they are more likely to hear rational podcast ads that communicate features/benefits

Funny and entertaining ads are preferred among podcast consumers. However, listeners most often hear rational “feature and benefits” ads.

In Paul Feldwick’s book Why Does The Pedlar Sing? What Creativity Really Means In Advertising, he says, “Advertising is at least as much showmanship as it is salesmanship [and it] builds brands best when it is entertaining, popular and memorable, when it is not just a pitch, but a performance.” The podcast audience is pleading for a greater focus on advertising creativity and showmanship.

Key takeaways:

  • Six in ten weekly podcast listeners say they prefer podcasts with video
  • Interest in a video experience is highest among Podcast Newcomers who started listening in the last year
  • Those who prefer a video podcast experience overwhelmingly cite YouTube as the platform they use most for podcasts
  • “Podcast Watchers” are younger, lean male, and are newer to podcasts
  • Podcast video has greater “eyes on” advertising attentiveness than linear television
  • Podcast platform wars: YouTube, by a nose, is now the most used podcasting platform in the U.S.
  • Podcast Newcomers who started listening the last year use Spotify and YouTube most; Apple is the leading platform among heavy podcast listeners and Podcast Pioneers who have been listening for 4+ years
  • Among iPhone owners, the combination of Spotify and YouTube now drive more podcast listening share than Apple
  • Women ascend: Podcast Newcomers who started listening last year are more likely to be women
  • Podcast advertising is a great way to reach the ad-free video streaming audiences of Netflix, Amazon Prime, and Disney+
  • The greater the time spent with podcasts, the more podcast ads generate consumer response and business outcomes
  • Advertising creative opportunity: Podcast listeners prefer funny and entertaining ads but say they are more likely to hear rational podcast ads that communicate features/benefits

Click here to download Cumulus Media and Signal Hill Insights’ Podcast Download – Spring 2022 Report.

Click here to watch Cumulus Media and Signal Hill Insights’ Podcast Download – Spring 2022 Report webinar in full.

Brittany Faison is the Insights Manager of the Cumulus Media | Westwood One Audio Active Group©.

Jeff Vidler is the President and Founder of Signal Hill Insights.

Contact the Insights team at CorpMarketing@westwoodone.com.