Audience

What Brands Need to Know to Reach Black Podcast Listeners in 2023

Feb 1, 2023

Like so much of the population, Black audiences are listening to podcasts. In fact, they’re listening even more than other demographics—leaned-in and here for the ads that support the shows they love.

We’ve done it again! Back in 2021, we hit you with the first-ever Edison Research Black Podcast Listener Report by SXM Media and Mindshare. Now, we have fresh findings to share from a brand-new report. This new study1 dives deeper into the trending data and listening habits of this valuable audience.

To start: Black podcast listeners are outpacing the total US population in podcast consumption. When surveyed, 43% of Black Americans said they had listened to a podcast in the last month—that’s five points higher than the total population.2 Not only is listenership growing, but they’re avid listeners, tuning into podcasts over five hours every week. And when the ads start to play, Black listeners are receptive to what they’re hearing. Over 80% of Black podcast listeners say they would consider a brand if they heard their ad on a podcast with a Black host.

Let’s dig into who the Black podcast listener is and how your brand can connect with them.

Black Podcast Listeners are Educated and Successful

Traditionally, the total podcast listenership skews more male, with female listening on the rise to close the gap. But when it comes to Black listenership, women lead the way. The average Black monthly podcast listener skews young and female, and they’re highly educated and employed—in other words, the kind of consumer brands want to reach. And though most of the audience falls between the ages of 18 and 34, older listeners are still joining the party. So, whether you’re trying to reach Gen Z and younger millennials or older millennials and Gen X, podcasts are an effective medium to do that.

Though women tend to lead Black monthly podcast listenership, weekly listening is led by men. Men represent the majority of Black weekly podcast listeners (52% Men / 48% Women), which is a sign that they listen more frequently than women.

Black Monthly Podcast Listeners At A Glance

Brand Takeaway: Podcasts are an effective way to reach successful, educated Black audiences, regardless of age or gender. 

Black Podcast Audiences are Listening for Hours

Podcasts are attracting new Black listeners in droves, and listeners are spending hours tuning in throughout the week. Social media and influential figures are fueling this surge. Celebrity influence and popular topics play a big role in drawing Black audiences and capturing their attention. When asked what attracted them to the first podcast they listened to, 51% said it was a celebrity, host, musician, or influencer, and 46% said it was an interesting topic. And when asked how they initially discovered podcasts, 36% said social media. Additionally, 18% of Black podcast listeners say they heard about a podcast from friends and family.

Black Podcast Listeners are New and Enthusiastic

Brand Takeaway: The audience of Black podcast listeners is engaged and growing, and shows with influential and/or celebrity hosts are an excellent way for brands to connect.

Podcasts are Informing and Entertaining Black Audiences

Podcasts are meeting a wide variety of needs for Black listeners, satisfying cravings for everything from laughs to in-depth conversations. Popular genres look a little different for Black audiences. Though comedy reigns with both the general and Black populations, music and sports take the number two and three spots with Black podcast listeners. Personal development, sports, history, and religion and spirituality saw the biggest increases YOY with women, and men drove the growth in sports, business/entrepreneurship, and history. 

Podcasts Educate, Inform, and Satisfy

Brand Takeaway: Podcasts are meeting a variety of needs for Black listeners, giving advertisers opportunities to reach them when they’re leaned in.

Black Listeners are Looking for and Finding Themselves in Podcasts

Relevancy matters more than ever to the Black podcast listener. This audience wants to hear themselves represented in authentic ways. Shows with Black hosts that highlight Black perspectives are more likely to draw this audience. 

Black Perspectives Matter

The appetite for Black content is high, and Black podcasts listeners want more of it. Over half say they want more podcasts that include Black stories, with 60% saying they wish a trusted personality had a podcast and 51% wishing there were more podcasts with Black hosts or hosts of color.

Brand Takeaway: To resonate with Black podcast listeners, advertisers should support Black creators and run ads on shows with Black hosts.

Black Podcast Listeners are Receptive to Ads

Like much of the general population of podcast listeners, Black audiences are receptive to ads. Nearly 50% say they think favorably of sponsorship messaging (49%) or product/sponsor messages read by the host (48%). Podcasts ads on shows created by or featuring Black hosts are particularly effective at influencing Black podcast listeners and moving them through the consumer journey.

Ad Receptivity is Strong

Brand Takeaway: To build trust and move Black listeners from consideration through to purchase, brands should advertise on podcasts created by or featuring Black hosts.

Ads Around Black Podcasts Inspire Action

The best way to win over Black podcast listeners is to run ads on shows that represent their voice, culture, and point of view. Black audiences who have listened to a podcast with a Black host in the last month are more likely to take action than those who’ve never listened to a podcast hosted by Black talent.

Ads Around Black Podcasts are Most Effective

Brand Takeaway: Developing authentic ads and running them on podcasts by Black creators is the best way to win over Black listeners.

Reach Black Podcast Listeners Year Round

If you’re like a lot of brands, you may have put some ad budget for February into reaching Black audiences. Well, this valuable demographic will still be around in March, April, May… you get it. Like so much of the population, Black audiences are listening to podcasts—and, as you’ve learned, they’re leaned-in and here for ads that support the shows they love. 

Whether it’s retargeting and refining an existing campaign or launching your first podcast ad, we can help you reach Black audiences. Let’s talk about diversifying your next campaign.

Sources

1. The Black Podcast Listener Report 2022 from Edison Research, SXM Media, and Mindshare: Edison conducted 2,500+ online interviews with Black/African American adults age 18+ in the U.S. in September 2022. The data was weighted to match age, sex, Census region of the U.S. Black population, and Infinite Dial 2022 podcast listening statistics.

2. The Infinite Dial 2022 from Edison Research, Wondery, and ART19

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