“Entertain for emotional gain” and other insights from Podcast Download Spring 2022 report

In a sprawling, deeply researched report, Cumulus Media and Signal Hill Insights deliver podcast listener statistics and preferences, and recommendations to podcast advertisers.

The complete 69-page deck, which includes data appendices, is freely available HERE.

In its advice to marketers, the report emphasizes the performance aspect of podcast ads, quoting marketing experts Paul Feldwick and Howard Luck Gossage. Listeners respond best to entertaining ads, the study reveals, and various kinds of lift are discovered.

Another emphasized takeaway involved video. Ten percent of weekly podcast listeners say they only watched podcasts, and YouTube is used by weekly listeners more than Spotify — that is the first time in the five-year history of Podcast Download research franchise.

Following are the key takeaways as summarized in the report:

  • The shakeup continues in the podcast platform wars: Growing interest in video podcasts has helped to propel YouTube to edge out Spotify as the platform used the most by weekly podcast listeners. Heavy listeners continue to use Apple Podcasts most often.
  • Most weekly podcast listeners now prefer watchable podcasts: Driven by Podcast Newcomers, more listeners prefer podcasts with video they can actively watch or minimize to listen in the background vs. podcasts that have audio only with no video.
  • Women and younger demos are coming into podcasting: More than half of Podcast Newcomers who have started listening in the last year are 18-34 and more than half are women.
  • Podcast video ads offer an attentive alternative to linear TV ads: Among listeners who watch
    video podcasts, more say their eyes are on the screen when ads are playing than what Nielsen studies have shown among linear TV viewers.
  • Podcast advertising captures hard-to-reach, on-demand video consumers: Weekly podcast listeners are also heavy viewers of ad-free video streaming services.
  • Podcast listeners are eager to interact and engage with their favorite podcasts: Most weekly listeners follow hosts on social media and plan to attend live podcast events. When considering paid subscriptions, they value exclusive content/access ahead of an ad-free experience.
  • Funny and entertaining ads offer a creative opportunity: While podcast listeners remain highly receptive to podcast ads, they say they prefer funny and entertaining pod.


Brad Hill