NPR: Podcast listening up. Ads should pertain to the moment. How to promote. All in new report.

NPR unleashed its Podcast Report Winter 2021. This interesting document is a combined growth report, best practices manifesto, and case study. [Get it free, HERE.]

Starting with optimism, NPR notes that in a pandemic year, ” podcast consumption showed its strength. Its continued growth is a testament to the power of touching people’s lives with great content, even during a difficult year.”

In a year-over-year comparison, NPR’s weekly podcast users were up five percent, and downloads increased 28%. “Especially notable is the rise in the average number of downloads per person, revealing the increased loyalty of our listeners,” the company notes.

Following the metrics is a tutorial on how to promote a podcast. “Consider ‘when” not just ‘how’ for success,” is one piece of advice. Aligning promotions with audience interest is another recommendation.

That suggestion is extended to advertisers. “When creating podcast advertising, it’s time to consider the moment.” NPR worked with Veritonic to test different kinds of messaging that acknowledge Covid. That testing came away with three points:

  1. Address the current moment.
  2. Tell people about products that can help them.
  3. Share initiatives that support employees and the community.

eighty-nine percent of podcast listeners said they appreciate when brands “reference the uniqueness of our current moment.”

In the midst of all this public service on behalf of the podcast industry, NPR mentioned a couple of metrics related to its sponsor messages:

  • NPR ads are perceived as 13% more sincere than other podcast ads
  • Podcast listeners are 14.5% more likely to purchase a product after listening to an NPR sponsor message vs. other podcast ads.


Brad Hill