Anatomy of a Long-Form Podcast Listener & How to Reach Them

Devon Geelan, Manager, Podcast Sales MarketingOct 31, 2023

When it comes to podcasts, listeners have notoriously long attention spans, giving brands ample opportunity to reach them. Hosts often come to podcasting from other media to go deeper into the stories and topics they’re passionate about, and listeners have been following them since the medium’s inception. 

I feel like I can exhale - Hoda Kotb, Making Space

Loving the Power of an Hour

Even in the age of quick-hit content and declining attention spans, demand for long-form podcasts is growing. According to our Podsurvey Podcast User Study, 76% of listeners said they are interested in long-form podcasts with episodes that are 60 minutes or longer. Whether that’s a pure comedy podcast, like long-time fan-favorite, Your Mom’s House, or a news and culture podcast like Hysteria from the Crooked Network, the demand for long-form podcast content is huge.

Long-form podcasts give brand messages more time

Stand Out in an Uncluttered Environment

The natural benefit for advertisers on long-form podcasts is that ads have room to breathe. Unlike social media ads that can appear multiple times in a minute, long-form podcasts offer listeners and advertisers a better experience. Listeners' favorite genres align with and likely drive overall podcast trends—comedy is #1, followed by society & culture and true crime for long-format fans. These genres are prime for lengthy episodes, as these movie buffs and culture seekers are craving that in-depth analysis that you can’t find anywhere else.

Take Scam Goddess for example—it’s been an award-winning, long-form podcast since 2019, bringing in millions of listeners. We measured the success of ads on the show for an online marketing advertiser and saw a +17-point lift in purchase intent.

Loyal, Inquisitive, and Highly Engaged

Long-form podcast listeners are loyal fans, with 69% of them listening to podcasts for six years or more. Take Comedy Bang Bang listeners for example. Scott Aukerman and team have been producing podcast episodes that are at least an hour-and-a-half long consistently since 2009. Not only do fans listen to the full episode, they sell out tickets to live recordings. And the engagement doesn’t stop there. Long-form podcast listeners are also more likely to binge episodes one after another (111 index).

Tap Into the Authentic Connection

Allowing someone into your ear for hours each week, making them a part of your routine—it creates a relationship. Nearly 70% of podcast listeners say they feel a personal connection to the hosts. The intimacy of the audio medium builds a connection greater than that of other media.  In fact, one in two long-form podcast listeners say, “I think podcast hosts are more authentic than other public figures like social media influencers, radio DJs, celebrities, and TV hosts.” 

Brands can tap into these deep, authentic connections—and listeners welcome the ads. An impressive 94% of podcast listeners are open to hearing any type of podcast ad. 

Hitting Play Everywhere and Anywhere

The overwhelming majority of long-form podcast fans listen to be entertained. Listening to podcasts rejuvenates mundane, everyday moments, inspiring engrossed listeners to take the long way home, do one more rep, or volunteer for more chores just to listen longer. Nearly 70% of long-form podcast listeners tune in hands free while doing other activities, including driving (86%), cleaning and doing chores (84%), cooking (71%), and exercising (63%).

Let the Ads Roll While They’re Hands Free 

Hands-free listening means long-form podcast listeners are less likely to skip over podcast ads. But the ad exposure isn’t just incidental. Nearly 60% of podcast listeners say they’re likely to pay attention to podcast ads—that’s 2.1X more than social media, 2.4X more than online or streaming video, 3X more than linear TV, and 3.6X more than AM/FM radio.

Living Their Best Lives—with Brand Support

Unlike other media formats that leave audiences feeling lazy, 76% of long-form listeners believe that podcasts are a good way to spend their time. That’s a powerful context for brands to be positioned within, and it shows—long-form listeners over index for talking to friends and family about products and services advertised. And 72% say, “I’ve discovered new brands or products through podcast ads that I hadn’t heard about before.” 

Unlock the power of this locked-in audience with the SiriusXM Podcast Network. Let’s talk.

And if you want to know more about podcast listeners, check out our latest podcast advertising report: The Who's Who of Podcast Listening

More Anatomy Lessons

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