Digital Audio

The Ad Bargain: A Guide to Sounds Profitable’s Latest Study

Melissa Paris, Vice President, Sales ResearchJun 7, 2024

While podcasting has come quite a long way in the past few years (we even have our own Upfront now!), there is still a lot of education to be done about why brands should advertise in the medium and how.  Sounds Profitable is doing important work as a trade association for the podcast industry, dedicated to producing newsletters, podcasts, and other content to educate and empower the entire industry of podcasting.

Full disclosure: SiriusXM Podcast Network is one of the many proud sponsors of Sounds Profitable’s Quarterly Research Series, conducted by Signal Hill Insights. Last year’s study The Medium Moves the Message was an eye-opening look at how podcast listeners compare to broadcast media viewers/listeners when it comes to audience (hint: podcast listeners are nearly a generation younger than traditional TV viewers and radio listeners) and ad receptivity/action (hint hint: podcasts are superior at driving favorability, consideration, and action).

This year, they turned their comparative lens toward exploring how podcasts stack up against CTV and YouTube with The Ad Bargain: Attracting Consumer Attention in a Sea of Ads. The Ad Bargain was a nationally representative online study of over 2,000 Americans ages 18 and older. Structurally, it was similar to last year’s study, with respondents answering a variety of questions about their receptiveness, attentiveness, and overall attitudes about ads across a range of media.

Perceptions of podcast ads vs. CTV and YouTube ads

This study further reinforced what we’ve found in previous research. Podcast listeners are actually very open to hearing podcast ads, especially in comparison to other forms of advertising. Compared to all other media (including not just CTV and YouTube, but also the likes of TikTok, Instagram, and others), respondents were most likely to agree that they are more willing to consider products and services after they learn about them on podcasts (71%).

What’s driving this receptivity? At least partially, the ad experience is more enjoyable in podcasts. Looking at the core media types this study covered, weekly users of each medium were more likely to agree that sponsorship messages on podcasts are less annoying than other ads (63%), vs. 54% for YouTube and 52% for CTV. They also think the ads are more relevant to them–two in three weekly podcast listeners think that the podcast ads they hear are generally relevant to them, higher than the 62% of YouTube viewers and 54% of CTV viewers that agree about ads they see in those formats.

Most importantly for advertisers, those warm and fuzzy feelings about the ads translate into actual brand support. Podcast listeners are more likely to report taking any action after hearing a podcast ad than YouTube or CTV viewers, including purchasing a product that was advertised. And over two in three say their opinion of a brand is more favorable when they find out the brand supports podcasts (69%), compared to 62% for YouTube and 58% for CTV.

SiriusXM Podcast Network listeners are ‘all ears’ for ads

What we were thrilled to see when digging into data from The Ad Bargain is that SiriusXM Podcast Network listeners are kind of la crème de la crème if we do say so ourselves. Compared to overall weekly podcast listeners, those who listen to SiriusXM Podcast Network shows are particularly receptive to podcast ads. And seven in 10 say that advertising on podcasts is generally the best way to reach them.

Love for podcast ads among SiriusXM Podcast Network listeners (indexed vs. total weekly podcast listeners):

  • 48% agree that hearing ads in podcasts makes them more likely to purchase a product/service (130 index)

  • 61% agree that they go out of their way to support brands that support their favorite podcasts (117 index)

  • 74% agree that sponsorship messages on their favorite podcasts provide compelling discounts or offers for products and services (114 index) 

Not only are SiriusXM Podcast Network listeners more receptive toward podcast ads than overall weekly podcast listeners, they are also more likely to take action after hearing podcast ads. Almost nine in 10 SiriusXM Podcast Network listeners (87%) have taken any action based on a podcast ad, a 112 index compared to total podcast listeners.

From Broad Receptivity to Brand-Level Findings

To take general perceptions of advertising a step further and bring them to life with real brands, Sounds Profitable chose five leading advertisers to determine how they are perceived by weekly users of podcasts, YouTube, and CTV. They focused on four standard brand metrics: awareness, favorability, consideration and purchase. Four of the brands tested (GEICO, State Farm, Amazon, and Walmart) are prime examples of heavy advertisers across media channels, and HelloFresh was included as the fifth brand due to their strong presence in podcast advertising specifically.

For each brand, Sounds Profitable looked at the difference in those receptivity metrics between the general population and weekly users for each of the three media channels. We were pleased to see that on an individual brand basis and in aggregate, podcast listeners showed higher lifts than CTV and YouTube viewers in awareness, favorability, consideration, and action taken.

What we have seen in study after study is that the podcast listener is an audience segment that has increasingly opted out of traditional broadcast media and into premium, ad-free content. Because they are less inundated with messages, they pay more attention to the ones they DO hear - and to podcast ads, most of all.

Tom WebsterPartner, Sounds Profitable

With podcasts you’re able to connect with an audience that is receptive to your message, more so than in other forms of media…and did we mention above that SiriusXM Podcast Network listeners are even MORE receptive and more likely to take action than the norm? Get in front of them!

For even more insights, join our webinar, where Sounds Profitable will share findings from this and several other studies that showcase how podcasts are the safest bet when it comes to spending your media dollars. 

Meet the largest ad-supported audience in audio.Advertise with us

Stay ahead of industry trends

© SiriusXM Media. All Rights Reserved.