Power listeners and advertiser value: Canadian Podcast Listener 2021

The Canadian Podcast Listener 2021, an annual consumer survey project produced by Signal Hill Insights, with support from TPX, has been released. There are two versions of this report: a highlights package free to anyone, and a much deeper dive for Signal Hill subscribers. INformation about both is HERE.

In a broad sweep, the 2021 report portrays the Canadian podcast market as growing in listenership with advertiser-friendly consumers.

This year’s edition charts Power Listeners, and compares their consumption characteristics to New LIsteners and Longtime Listeners. As we can see below, Power Listeners represent 32% of the entire audience span:


Also shown above is the total Canadian podcast audience representing 29% of the general population — they are the people who listen monthly. That number has ratcheted upward over five years. So has the percentage who listen weekly, and the much smaller percentage of people who consume podcasts every day.

The demographics of Canadian podcast listeners, as indexed against the general population, skew favorably to advertisers, according to Signal Hill. As we see below, they tend to be younger, richer, and more educated.

Interestingly, the Canadian Podcast Listener tracks which listening platforms are used. Here, YouTube comes out in front — and this is a point that Signal Hill has made in past years. Use of YouTube has grown year-over-year on a percentage basis, and continues to be a more popular behavior than using Spotify. Apple comes in a fairly distant third.

In addition to the demographic profile of podcast listeners, this year’s research also quantifies the extents to which podcast advertising broaden’s an advertiser’s reach when bundled with other marketing categories. Note, below, the additive reach to music streaming and print newspapers.

Below are Signal Hill’s key takeaways. (Again, get your copy HERE.)

“Growth trends in podcast listening over the past 5 years continue. Some mainstreaming of podcast
listening has helped to spur growth of monthly listening to 29%, while time spent listening to podcasts
among weekly listeners continues to grow.”

  • Podcast listening is up sharply in French Canada. Though still lagging English Canada, a handful of
    popular independent French-Canadian podcasts appears to be drawing new listeners to podcasts.
  • Apple continues to lose ground to YouTube and especially to Spotify as a podcast platform. Spotify leads
    the charge while YouTube is also growing.
  • Cross-promotion on other podcasts continues to be an important tool to drive discovery. In-app discovery
    also saw gains in 2021, much of it driven by listeners who use Spotify most often to listen to podcasts.
  • Reflecting engagement with their favourite podcasts, podcast listeners are supportive of the ways
    podcasts generate revenue. More listeners say they are contributing direct monetary support to podcasts,
    while showing increased receptivity to the ads and sponsors who support their favourite shows.


Brad Hill