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Why True Crime Podcasts are Scary Good for Brands

Sep 13, 2023

Hesitant to enter the true crime space? Have no fear; consumers are leading the way. Half of podcast listeners have tuned in to true crime.

Captivating cases, detailed investigations, thrilling twists; those are just three of the reasons audiences can’t get enough of true crime podcasts. Those positives for fans are often what make it challenging for brands to feel safe around true crime. But with its highly engaged, loyal listenership of premium consumers (like affluent, millennial moms), the only thing for advertisers to fear with true crime is missing out.

Nearly nine in 10 true crime podcast listeners say their opinion of brands is improved or unchanged because they are advertising within true crime content. And some went on to describe the advertisers in the true crime category with positive attributes like interesting, relevant, likable, and edgy.

Let’s get into the undeniable brand opportunities with true crime podcasts.

True crime podcasts are an advertising opportunity for brands

Half of Podcast Listeners Have Dabbled in True Crime

If you want to reach a large audience, you can’t go wrong with true crime. Half of all podcast listeners have ever listened to the genre, and it’s the third most popular on our platform. These listeners aren’t just passively listening; fans are drawn in by the puzzling mysteries and engaging stories.

Audiences and Content Are Exploding

For brands looking to leverage long-time favorites or getting in on the next big name, this genre is bursting with opportunities to do both. For true crime podcast fans, the listening spree shows no signs of slowing. We saw a 204% increase in true crime content downloads in 2022. And creators were there feeding the ravenous appetite for true crime with 207% more content growth than other categories.

True Crime Listeners Are More Likely to Binge

Enthusiastic doesn’t even begin to describe true crime podcast listeners, which means brands can reach consumers when they’re eager for more. True crime fans over-index for listening to episodes back-to-back, with 67% saying they do just that. Whether they’re stumbling on a new show or taking in a full season drop, 55% of true crime podcast listeners tend to binge-listen to episodes of their favorite podcasts.

True Crime Podcasts Are an Escape for Listeners

Brands want to reach consumers in a positive context, one where the audiences feel good about the content they’re opting into. Well, here’s a shocking twist: true crime podcasts are a positive space for listeners. The overwhelming majority of true crime podcast listeners associate the genre with good feelings. They over-index for saying podcasts make them happy at 64%, and 56% of true crime podcast listeners say podcasts help them escape.

Listeners Are Receptive to Ads

The zeal for true crime content knows no bounds, and it’s certainly not stopping for ad breaks. With 94% of true crime podcast listeners saying they’re open to hearing any kind of podcast ad and 94% taking action—it’s time for advertisers to get in on the thrill.

The Case of the Cross-Funnel Lifts

Leveraging the host-listener connection with Crime Junkie delivers strong ROI for a CPG advertiser with true crime fans.

Objective: Drive upper- and lower-funnel metrics and increase brand attributes among podcast listeners 18+.


  • Show & Genre Alignment: Reach an engaged audience of true crime fans through podcast advertisements.

  • Host-Read Ads: Amplify brand messaging through trusted, authentic voices to resonate with listeners, influencing lower-funnel actions.


  • Awareness: +15pt lift in aided awareness 

  • Consideration: +13pt lift in brand-specific attribute

  • Purchase: +19pt lift in purchase intent 

Ready to Reach True Crime Podcast Listeners?

If you’re hesitant to enter the true crime space, there’s nothing to fear. The best advice we’ve ever gotten? Follow your consumers. And the reality is, they’re listening to true crime. 

Want to dig deeper into this audiences’ motivations, psychographics, and brand preferences? In our latest podcast report, we focused on the who’s who, taking a deep dive into who listeners are by genre.

Check out The Who's Who of Podcast Listening


  • 1.

    Podsurvey Study Q4’21, n= 696 True Crime Podcast listeners 18+ Q. When a brand or product is advertised on podcast shows in the following genre(s) do you think that it makes the brand seem…? Select all that apply.

  • 2.

    Podsurvey Podcast User Study, Q2 2023

  • 3.

    Simplecast internal data

  • 4.

    Nielsen PAE+ Brand Study Jan-Mar 2022, Lifts shown are statistically significant at 95% confidence interval

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