Smart Audio Report 2022 from NPR and Edison Research

NPR & Edison Research: Smart Speaker Ownership Reaches 35% of Americans
New Smart Audio Study shows Ubiquitous Voice Tech and Increasing Usage

Click here to download The Smart Audio Report from NPR and Edison Research

Somerville, NJ (June 16, 2022) NPR and Edison Research released the 2022 Smart Audio Report today, showcasing the ubiquity of voice technology in the U.S. The Report highlights the increased usage of voice technology, with 35% of Americans 18+ now owning a smart speaker. 

The 2022 study compares the most recent survey results with the 2017 Smart Audio Report, and also revisits families who were interviewed in 2017, creating a comprehensive picture of the changes over the last five years.

The findings were presented in a webinar hosted by National Public Media (NPM) VP of Sponsorship Marketing Lamar Johnson and Edison Research VP Megan Lazovick and is available now at npr.org/smartaudio. Main findings from the study include: 

  • Voice technology is everywhere: In 2022, 62% of Americans 18+ use a voice assistant on any device, and those devices can include: smart speakers, smartphones, TV remotes, in-car systems, a computer/laptop, tablet, among others.
  • Overall usage of voice tech is increasing: In 2022, 57% of voice command users use voice commands daily. Twenty percent of smart speaker owners spend most of their audio time listening through a smart speaker, up from 18% in 2017. The weekly number of tasks is increasing: In 2022, smart speaker owners request an average of 12.4 tasks on their device each week, up from 7.5 in 2017. Smartphone voice assistant users request an average of 10.7 tasks weekly, up from 8.8 in 2020.
  • Ad messages delivered via voice tech are heard: Half of smart speaker owners have heard an ad on their smart speaker. Fifty-three percent of smart speaker owners who have heard an ad on their device agree they are likely to respond to ads on their smart speaker. Almost half (48%) of smart speaker owners who have heard an ad on their device say that compared to hearing an ad in another place, hearing it on their smart speaker would make them more likely to consider the brand.

According to Edison Research VP Megan Lazovick, “At this point the tech has become familiar for many users, so it is a great time to shake things up and get people’s attention with novel audio experiences and tasks. In the grand scheme, this space is still very young, and there is much opportunity for change and growth, especially in the ways brands can communicate their messages using smart audio.”

Additional key findings:

 

  • 86% of smart speaker owners agree that the devices “allow for a more convenient living”
  • Reasons for purchasing a smart speaker that have trended up in the past five years include: entertaining children, discovering new songs, and listening to podcasts
  • The number of speaker owners who request to listen to a podcast on their smart speaker in a typical week increased by 22% over the past 5 years

“We are thrilled to see the interest and use of smart speakers continue to grow, five years after the original installment of this Report. This data confirms that there are even more opportunities for both publishers and brands alike to connect with this growing and engaged audience,” said NPM VP of Sponsorship Marketing Lamar Johnson.   


How the study was conducted
The Smart Audio Report from NPR and Edison Research is based on a national online survey of 1,190 U.S. adults age 18+ who own a smart speaker, 560 U.S. adults age 18+ who do not own a smart speaker but use voice assistants on other devices such as smartphones, and another 584 U.S. adults 18+ who do not use voice assistants at all. Surveys were conducted 2/28/ 2022-4/18/2022. In-depth interviews were conducted over zoom with smart speaker owners, voice assistant users, and those who don’t use the technology at all. Additionally, follow-up interviews were conducted with those who participated in ethnography interviews from The Smart Audio Report 2017.

About NPR
NPR’s rigorous reporting and unsurpassed storytelling that connects with millions of Americans every day — on the air, online, and in-person. NPR strives to create a more informed public — one challenged and invigorated by a deeper understanding and appreciation of events, ideas, and cultures. With a nationwide network of award-winning journalists and 17 international bureaus, NPR and its Member Stations are never far from where a story is unfolding. Listeners can find NPR by tuning in to their local Member stations (npr.org/stations), and now it’s easy to listen to our stories on smart speaker devices. Ask your smart speaker to, “Play NPR,” and you’ll be tuned into your local Member station’s live stream. Your speaker can also access NPR podcasts, NPR One, NPR News Now, and the Visual Newscast is available for screened speakers. Get more information at npr.org/about and by following NPR Extra on Facebook, Twitter and Instagram.


About Edison Research
Edison Research conducts survey research and provides strategic information to a broad array of clients, including Activision, AMC Theatres, Apple, Disney, Dolby Laboratories, Google, Oracle, the U.S. International Broadcasting Bureau, Pandora, Samsung, Siemens, Sony, and Univision. Edison Research  is the leading podcast research company in the world and has conducted research on the medium for NPR, Slate, Spotify, SXM Media, ESPN, WNYC Studios, and many more companies in the space. Edison Research has conducted research in North America, South America, Africa, Asia, Australia, and Europe. Edison Research is also the leading provider of consumer exit polling and has conducted face-to-face research in almost every imaginable venue. Since 2004, Edison Research has been the sole provider of Election Day data to the National Election Pool, conducting exit polls and collecting precinct vote returns to project and analyze results for every major presidential primary and general election.     

Contacts

NPM
Devon Landis

dlandis@nationalpublicmedia.com

Edison Research
Laura Ivey

livey@edisonresearch.com 

The Infinite Dial 2022 Canada — Save the Date

Click here to register for The Infinite Dial Canada webinar on Thursday, June 30 at 2pm EDT.

The Infinite Dial® 2022 Canada from Edison Research and Triton Digital® is back for the fifth annual iteration of the study.  

Nicole Beniamini, Vice President at Edison Research, and Stephanie Donovan, Global Head of Revenue at Triton Digital, will reveal the latest trends on digital media behaviors in Canada during the webinar.  

Findings include media usage and consumption habits among Canadians for streaming audio, podcasting, radio, mobile media, smart speakers, social media behaviors, and more. 

The Infinite Dial® is the longest running survey of digital media consumer behaviour in the U.S. tracked annually since 1998. Over its 20+ year history, it has become the survey of record for a number of media channels, including streaming audio, podcasting, and social media.

Audio Consumers in the U.S. are Buying Their Way out of Ads

This article is from Edison’s Weekly Insights email.  Please click here if you would like to subscribe.

I was at a school function for my eighth-grader recently and as the students filed to the front of the gym to receive their certificates, there was lovely instrumental music from a streaming service playing over the PA system. How do I know it was a streaming service? Because at some point during the reading of the names, the music stopped, one ad played, and the music started again. Everyone held their breath for a moment in suspense as the advertiser was revealed and since it was family-friendly all was well. There were several chuckles and a few relieved sighs that went through the crowd.

The reactions to that ad break are a great example of this week’s insight: Audio Consumers in the U.S are buying their way out of ads (with actual money).  The graph below is a trend graph for two demos in the U.S., those age 13+ and those age 13-34, and it shows how the percentage of daily time with ad-supported vs. ad-free audio has changed since 2015. Please note this graph is not a percentage of listeners, but it is a percentage of daily time spent with audio.

Let’s first acknowledge that ad-supported audio still comes at a cost to the listener, and that cost is time. Listeners to ad-supported audio can “pay” for the audio by listening to (sometimes extended) ad breaks. Of course, the best audio experiences ensure that the ad content is entertaining and informative for the listener.

Two things to note in the graph above:

1. The percentage of daily time spent with ad-free audio has grown by 34% since 2015.  As of Q1 2022, 39% of listening done by those age 13+ is to ad-free audio, up from 29% in 2015. 

2. The rate of change for younger people is even higher, as the daily time spent with ad-free audio among those age 13-34 has risen by 43% since 2015. As of Q1 2022, 50% of daily listening done by age 13-34 is to ad-free audio, up from 35% in 2015. It’s notable that half of all daily audio consumed by 13-34-year-olds in the U.S. is ad-free.

Registration for The Infinite Dial 2022 Australia is now open
We are also happy to announce that registration for The Infinite Dial® 2022 Australia is now open! The webinar is at 10.30am AEST on Tuesday, June 28th, which means it is 8.30pm EDT on Monday, June 27th — please note the Monday night time for those of you in the U.S.  Thank you to major sponsor, Commercial Radio Australia, for enabling us to bring this study to Australia, and to co-sponsors LiSTNR and Triton Digital®.   

Edison Research President Larry Rosin will present the 30-minute webinar, which will provide a detailed insight into Australians’ digital audio behavior as they adjust to life after COVID-19 lockdowns.  

We hope you can join us for The Infinite Dial 2022 Australia! Click here to register

Laura Ivey
Director of Research

The Infinite Dial 2022 Australia — Save the Date

Click here to register for The Infinite Dial 2022 Australia

We invite you to register for the upcoming The Infinite Dial® 2022 Australia webinar, taking place at 10.30am (AEST) on Tuesday 28 June 2022 (8.30pm EDT on Monday 27 June 2022).  

Presented by Larry Rosin (President, Edison Research), the 30-minute webinar will provide a detailed insight into Australians’ digital audio behavior as they adjust to life after COVID-19 lockdowns. Rosin will break down the latest trends including listening to podcasts, audio streaming services and smart speaker ownership.  This includes comparisons with the U.S. market as well as his perspectives on the year ahead. 

 2022 marks the sixth annual release of the study in Australia, and the continued expansion of The Infinite Dial®, the longest running survey of digital media consumer behavior in the U.S.

Thank you to our major sponsor, Commercial Radio Australia, for enabling us to bring this study to Australia, and to our co-sponsors LiSTNR and Triton Digital® 

How Many Shows Must One Buy to Reach the Majority of Podcast Listeners in the U.S.?

This article is from Edison’s Weekly Insights email.  Please click here if you would like to subscribe.

The immense number of existing podcasts and the saturation within the market, without question, is one of the most popular conversations ongoing in the industry. For an advertiser aiming to reach a large number of people – choosing where to launch their boat in this sea of two million or so existing podcasts can be quite intimidating.

Last week, using Edison Podcast Metrics data, we looked at the “long tail” of podcast listening, and noted that the “big hits” of the medium account for a large portion of all listening. Edison Podcast Metrics can also provide a roadmap and answer the important question: where on this tail should one advertise? For the advertiser looking for reach, a surprisingly small number of the total shows – those at the top of the charts– can get one’s message to a surprisingly large portion of all podcast listeners.

Let’s look at how much reach a brand can achieve among weekly podcast listeners if that brand were just to buy these ‘biggest shows’.  As the graphic below demonstrates, if one were to simply buy the top ten biggest shows in podcasting an advertiser would be reaching one-third of all weekly podcast listeners.

Expand the buy to the top 25 shows, and one is pushing close to half.

Just the top 100 shows combined are reaching six-in-ten weekly podcast listeners, and if one could buy all of the top 1,000 podcasts, 82% of all weekly podcast listeners would be exposed to the advertisement.  

This access to 82% of the weekly podcast audience (more than 50 million Americans) is not only composed of shows from big-name networks, but independently operated ones too, such as Escuela de Nada (#707). 

So of course, at this point, you can turn the numbers inside out – buying every single one of the remaining podcasts beyond the top 1,000 will achieve an additional 18% reach.  

This doesn’t necessarily mean advertisers should ignore any podcast that falls below the top 1000. The 18% of the audience that is not reachable by the top 1,000 podcasts amount to millions of people accessible only by tapping into the shows beyond the top 1,000. Not to mention, these shows with smaller audiences are very useful in targeting specific types of listeners that align with specific types of brands.  

Gabriel Soto
Senior Director of Research, Edison Research