Lose the Doom: Leverage the Trust & Authenticity of Podcasts

Dec 5, 2023

"Authentic" is Merriam-Webster’s word of the year. The word is everywhere these days, and for good reason. After living too long in the era of fake news and staged reality, people want something real. And they’re turning to podcasts—and away from the social media doomscroll—to get it. 

23x More Authentic and Trustworthy than Social Media

Our listeners say podcasts are 23x more trustworthy and authentic than social media. The golden age of social media is ending, especially with younger audiences. Over half of Gen Z (55%) find the medium to be not very/not at all trustworthy. As platforms like X and companies like Meta continue to foster and promote negative, dubious content, the experience for users and the brand safety for advertisers suffers.

Conversely, podcasts provide a trusted, authentic environment for brand messages, with two in three listeners 18-34 saying they find podcast hosts to be the most authentic media figures.

13.5x Better for Mental Health and Well-Being

Podcast listeners say the medium is 13.5x better for their mental health and well-being than social media. When life and the world at large get tough, people are turning to podcasts. That’s why the pandemic helped drive the 31% increase in listening since 2019. Podcast hosts are the trusted sources of information, inspiration, and entertainment that audiences turn to for everything from guidance to distraction. And the health & wellness category, especially, is thriving, with its popularity driving a 95% increase in downloads in the genre last year.

Sick of What They’re Seeing on Social, Gen Z Looks to Podcasts

In 2019, a study found that 68% of Gen Z say social media sometimes or often makes them feel anxious, sad, or depressed. In contrast, this year our Gen Z Podcast Listener Report found that over 80% of Gen Z listeners say they turn to podcasts to relax. And about two in three of these young podcast listeners say they press play to escape.

Podcasts offer audiences a getaway, giving advertisers the ticket to delivering messages of comfort and support.

7.2x More of a Good Place to Spend Time

In the go-go-go society we live in, pursuing entertainment can feel like an indulgence or a guilty pleasure. So, it’s significant that listeners are 7.2x more likely to say podcasts are a good place to spend their time than social media. In addition to 90% of listeners tuning in to be entertained, podcast fans listen for a variety of other reasons.

  • 70% of listeners say podcasts “educate me”

  • 64% say they “help me pass the time”

  • 54% say podcasts “help keep me up to date”

  • 51% of podcast listeners say the medium “offers diverse perspectives and opinions”

Part of the reason podcasts deliver guilt-free pleasure is that they allow audiences to be productive as they indulge. Listeners can take in their favorite shows without the productivity drain of visual media. They can drive, work, exercise, cook, clean, hobby, and much more as they enjoy the content.

Listeners also find podcasts to be 5.9x more of a mood booster than social media—so they’re feeling good as they listen. For advertisers, podcasts connect brands with consumers when they’re engaged in an activity that makes them happy (60%) and that they view in a positive light, which can have a halo effect.

2.1x More Likely to Pay Attention to Ads

Nearly six in 10 podcast listeners say they are likely to pay attention to podcast ads, which is 2.1x more than social media ads. And podcast ads bring even more than ad receptivity to the table for advertisers. Over nine in 10 listeners say they have taken any action after hearing a podcast ad, including researching brands, visiting websites, and making purchases.

With listeners giving the ads more attention and taking meaningful action as a result, advertisers can launch podcast campaigns and see cross-funnel impact. And with 60M listeners, you can reach one in two podcast listeners in the US with the SiriusXM Podcast Network.

Ready to shift your ad spend from social media to podcasts? It’s easy to execute, effective, and impactful. Let’s talk.


  • 1.

    Podsurvey Podcast User Study (N=2,642), Q2 2023

  • 2.

    SXM Media Culture Trends Soundboard, October 2022

  • 3.

    SXM Media, Edison Research, Custom Audio Study, Q1 2023

  • 4.

    The Infinite Dial, Edison Research, 2023

  • 5.

    Podsurvey Podcast User Study, Q2 2023

  • 6.

    Origin, Hill Holiday “Meet Gen Z: the Social Generation” report 2019

  • 7.

    The Gen Z Podcast Listener Report, SXM Media and Edison Research Q2 2023

  • 8.

    Q2 2023 Internal Metrics from Podcast User Logs

  • 9.

    Edison Research, The Infinite Dial 2023

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