The Spoken Word Audio Report from NPR and Edison Research

Spoken Word Audio Share in the U.S. is Up 20% Since 2014, Cutting Into Time Spent with Music

Click here to download the New Spoken Word Audio Report from NPR and Edison Research

The share of time spent listening to spoken word audio has increased 20% since 2014, while time spent with music across the same period decreased 5%. This shift is led by a dramatic increase in spoken word audio consumption on mobile devices across age groups, and increases in spoken word share among those ages 13-34. These findings are part of The Spoken Word Audio Report from NPR and Edison Research, presented today in a webinar hosted by Edison Research VP Megan Lazovick and NPR CMO Meg Goldthwaite.

This new Report examines listener behaviors and preferences related to spoken word audio – podcasts, news, sports, talk radio and audiobooks – and includes five years of previously unreleased data from Edison Research’s Share of Ear® study. Key findings from the Spoken Word Audio Report include:

  • 121 million Americans listen to spoken word audio each day, an increase of 16 million people in the last five years. 
  • Growth in spoken word listening has been greatest among young people: those age 13-34 now spend 19% of their audio time with spoken word audio (up 58% from 2014).
  • Mobile technology use is driving growth in spoken word audio category: 22% of listening to spoken word audio in 2019 is now on a mobile device, compared to 9% five years ago.
  • Spoken word audio yields deep connections and involvement from its consumers, with large percentages of consumers reporting they turn to spoken word audio content for information, inspiration, entertainment, and companionship.
  • 59% of spoken word audio listeners are digital-first, meaning they listen most through computers, mobile devices, and smart speakers. Forty-one percent are analog-first, meaning they listen most through AM/FM radio receivers.

“Public media accounts for a large share of spoken word audio listening. New technologies like smart speakers, the ubiquity of mobile devices, and increased connectivity, mean that NPR’s journalism and storytelling is reaching more listeners in new spaces and platforms,” says NPR CMO Meg Goldthwaite.  

According to Edison Research Vice President Megan Lazovick, “Spoken word audio is different. Spoken word can be vastly more intensive listening experience than other types of audio. People lean in — they truly listen. Twenty-four percent of all time spent listening to audio is going to spoken word, and that’s especially impressive considering where it was just five years ago.”

Click here to download the New Spoken Word Audio Report from NPR and Edison Research

How the study was conducted:
Spoken Word Audio Study: A total of 3,013 online interviews were conducted with persons age 18+ using a nationally representative sample. Respondents qualified for the survey by consuming spoken word audio at least monthly. Data weighted to national 18+ U.S. population estimates. Additionally, in-person interviews were conducted with individuals who listened to spoken word audio at least monthly.

Edison Research Share of Ear®: A total of 4,000 respondents age 13+ completed an online or offline survey which was offered in English and Spanish. Data weighted to national 12+ U.S. population estimates and has been tracked since 2014.

 

About Edison Research
Edison Research conducts survey research and provides strategic information in over 50 countries for clients including AMC Theatres, AMC Theatres, Amazon, Apple, The Brookings Institute, Facebook, The Gates Foundation, Google, the U.S. International Broadcasting Bureau, Oracle, Pandora, The Pew Research Center, Samsung, Spotify, and SiriusXM Radio. The national tracking study The Infinite Dial® and the syndicated Share of Ear® are two of the most widely cited studies in the audio space. Edison is also the leading podcast research company in the world and has conducted research for NPR, Slate, ESPN, PodcastOne, WNYC Studios, and many more companies in the podcasting space.  Edison’s network of more than 20,000 experienced interviewers allows the company to conduct research in almost any location. Since 2004, Edison Research has been the sole provider of Election Day data to the National Election Pool. For the 2020 U.S. elections, Edison will provide exit polls and will tabulate the national vote across every county in the United States for ABC News, CBS News, CNN, and NBC News. 

About NPR
NPR’s rigorous reporting and unsurpassed storytelling connect 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.

 

 

 

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Contacts, Press Only:  

 

Laura Ivey  

Edison Research  

(908) 707-4707  

livey@edisonresearch.com  

 

Devon Landis

National Public Media at NPR

(202) 513-3490

dlandis@nationalpublicmedia.com

The Spoken Word Audio Report from NPR and Edison Research – Save the Date

Click here to register for The Spoken Word Audio Report 2019 webinar from NPR and Edison Research.

On average, Americans age 13+ listen to about 4 hours of audio every day, with the largest share of time spent with AM/FM radio (Edison Research, Share of Ear®, 2019). While this may seem par for the course, the audio landscape is changing dramatically, and it’s not just about new technologies and distribution formats, either. The type of content people are listening to is shifting. 

You are invited to join Meg Goldthwaite, Chief Marketing Officer from NPR, and Megan Lazovick, Vice President from Edison Research, on November 12 at 2pm ET as they host a live, online presentation of the findings from the first-ever Spoken Word Audio Report.  The report explores consumer behavior in the spoken word audio category, which has seen substantial growth in recent years. 

Register for this free webinar for early access to this new Report.

During this webinar you’ll learn:

-How the spoken word audio category has changed in the last five years 

-How the balance between music and spoken word content consumption is shifting

-The role spoken word audio plays in consumers’ lives today – from where people listen to when people listen

-What people are looking for from spoken word content on different platforms 

…and more!

The Spoken Word Audio Report is derived from a national quantitative survey and analysis of in-depth, one-on-one interviews. It also includes five years of previously unreleased tracking data from Edison Research’s Share of Ear® study, measuring the daily listening habits of Americans using a 24-hour diary.

The Power Of Audio: How Moms Use Audio for Self-Care and Inspiration

Last week in front of a wonderfully supportive crowd at M2M: The Marketing to Mom’s Conference, VP Megan Lazovick shared new data from The Research Moms of Edison Research, in addition to the following confession:

Last night before my presentation, while I probably should have been rehearsing, I was instead leading a brownie meeting of thirteen seven-year-old girls. We made friendship bracelets and decided our troop cause this year would be to help save the sea turtles. People told me I was crazy to become a girl scout leader, given I’m often traveling the country to conduct focus groups and in-person interviews as part of the qualitative research I do for my company and our clients. But the funny thing about being a mom, at least for me, is that it comes with this incredible drive do things, things you never thought you’d ever do, all for these little people in your lives. And while I’m happy to give my time, I do notice that there is definitely a lack of time to myself. And that’s probably true for many of you moms in the room. And it’s true of the women that I meet when I’m conducting those qualitative interviews I mentioned. So, let me introduce you to some of the moms I have met:

The need for something to “stimulate the mind and heart” and the emotional connection moms have with audio, that’s what I’d like to talk about today but let’s first touch on something else we heard in that video: “survival mode.” Those words hit home for me. Because when you are a busy mom, unfortunately, sometimes just making it through the day is enough. We sometimes have to celebrate the small victories, right?

A few years ago the moms at my company Edison Research formed a division called The Research Moms. In addition to the work we do for our clients interested in moms’ research, twice a year our mom squad comes together to conduct research about moms, just because we feel like it. The mental and physical load of moms is something the research moms of Edison research recently explored in our study called Moms on the Mother Load.  In this survey of over 500 moms, we learned that 84% of moms say they handle the majority of the parenting responsibilities. Now, I just have to say, that it is extremely satisfying to settle an argument with your husband about the division of household labor, by fielding a national study of Americans.

But, this study told The Research Moms what we already suspected, that women are also primarily responsible for the majority of household chores. They have a lot on their minds: 89% of moms are primarily responsible for making doctors appointments for kids, 87% fill out school forms, and 83% are primarily responsible for arranging childcare. Bringing children to the doctor, packing for vacation, grocery shopping, laundry, assigning household chores, helping with homework… all of these are primarily moms’ responsibilities. So with all of these things on mom’s plate, when does mom find the time for self-reflection? For inspiration? For relaxation? And what exactly is this “me time” I keep hearing about? If a mom is going to get any of that – it must fall within the cracks of her already busy day and here’s where audio comes into the picture.

We have found that moms are spending more time with audio. Our Moms and Media report sources data from Edison Research’s Infinite Dial– a study that has been tracking a whole range of digital media consumption habits and behaviors for the past 22 years! Now I’ll just share the last few years of listening questions, but we’ll see that more moms are spending time with audio. Seventy-eight percent of moms are weekly AM/FM radio listeners. Online audio listening has been steadily rising with moms – from 74% in 2016 to 87% today. And the world of podcasting has been extremely exciting in recent years, growing rapidly from 37% of moms who listen in 2016 to well over a majority today. Audiobook listening has seen growth as well, as on-demand services have made them easier to access — 46% of moms listened to audiobooks in 2017 and 59% of moms listen today.

And while you might think of video when you think of YouTube – it’s actually really strong for music listening. Seventy-seven percent of moms use YouTube to listen to music. So as new technologies have made audio easier to access, moms are using audio more – especially on-demand audio.

Now, one of the most fascinating findings of 2019, in my opinion, came out of a study we did for the country radio industry called Parents, Teens and Country Music. Almost 60 percent of moms in our national survey said that they learned about at least one music streaming service from their teenager. But this isn’t just about awareness, is it? We found consistently in our studies that when it comes to technology or new things to do on the phone, the transfer of information was much greater from child-to-parent than the other way around. The teens are pulling parents to Spotify or Apple or Pandora. Here’s a peek at how teens are influencing their parents.

We also learned from that study that 76% of moms of teens agree that their teenagers assist them with new technology.  And one of the most exciting developments in the audio space in the past few years has been consumer adoption of smart speakers – devices such as the Amazon Alexa or Google Home. In partnership with NPR, we have done a lot of research about these devices in our The Smart Audio Report series. In the three years, we have been conducting the research, we have seen it go from 6% of moms owning a smart speaker in 2016 to 34% moms in 2019 —which is pretty amazing growth. And one of the first things we noticed was that 45% of those that own a smart speaker have children in the household. These devices are especially appealing to families.

As part of our research with NPR we decided to go into the homes of smart speaker owners to see how the devices are changing behavior in the home. I’d like to introduce you a precious family. Lizzie let us into her home when her baby was just five weeks old.

If you’re someone who hasn’t experienced how truly helpful these devices can be then that video of Lizzie juggling a baby and a peanut butter sandwich might drive the point home. Whether it is audio from your google home, or an old-fashioned radio, audio has this one quality that any mom can appreciate: it is great for multitasking.

Here’s all the things that moms are doing while listening to audio according to the 2019 Research Moms Report:

•  90% are in the car

•  82% are doing housework or chores

•  73% are cooking or baking

•  69% of Moms listen to audio when they are spending time with children

The point is that, audio is the perfect companion for a busy mom. And why does mom like to listen to audio? Well, if you live your life in survival mode – you are even more desperate for something that “stimulates the mind and heart.”

Here are the things moms are looking for when they listen to audio: 46% of moms say they frequently listen to be entertained, 38% frequently listen for relaxation. Others say it gives them energy. It’s an Espace. Reminds them of the good times in life. It keeps them company. It allows them to express emotions or become inspired.

Now, I toned down the title of this presentation to “The emotional power of audio” but I originally titled this presentation: How Moms Use Audio for Self-Care and Inspiration, While Still Getting Sh*t Done. Because moms are true multitaskers. And audio is the perfect media for the multitasker. Can you make the mundane and sometimes maddening chore of matching and folding socks inspirational? The right audio program can. That is the power of audio. And who wouldn’t want to align their brand with such powerful content?

We asked moms, “When a product or service is advertised on an audio program you listen to, how, if at all, is your opinion of the of the company or brand affected?” Thirty percent of moms said somewhat more favorable and another 19% said much more favorable. This indicates there is some goodwill toward brands that appear on these programs.

We also asked, “When a radio personality or a podcast host recommends a product or service, how is your opinion of the company or brand affected?” And again about half the moms sad it made their opinion of the brand somewhat or much more favorable. We know that when you have loyal listeners, a show’s personality or host has a tremendous amount of influence. Let’s listen to our panel of moms once again on the topic of advertising:

So, what does this tell us? For me, it’s simple. When a brand is properly aligned with the programming and the execution is women-friendly, women will be engaged with the advertising. And, we know this from the dozens of brand lift studies that we conduct every year for various podcast producers. We’ve seen smashing successes when an advertiser takes the time to craft messaging that is relevant to the audience. But, we’ve also seen utter failures when an advertiser just repurposes advertising from another medium and doesn’t take the care to make it podcast-friendly. So, not every advertiser belongs on every podcast, or playlist, or station. And the right buy can make all the difference.

And I know I’ve been hitting you with a lot of data points from a lot of different studies but I have one last point to help put this all into perspective. Our Share of Ear® report is a diary study that measures all the time that Americans are listening to audio in a day. On average, moms listen to four hours of audio a day. Now, that’s an average, so some are listening to a lot less than four hours and some are listening to a lot more than four hours. But ON AVERAGE, moms listen to 4 hours of audio. That’s a lot of opportunities to reach moms. And that’s an opportunity to sponsor programming that is meaningful to them, that inspires them, and that is a part of what keeps them sane.

We know EVERYONE wants mom’s attention: the dog, the kids, the partner, the PTA. That’s a lot of clutter that you have to cut through. I hear all this hype about self-care…Self-care does not happen before a mom is finished caring for everyone and everything else. Yes, I’ve heard the lectures about how moms should take time out for themselves and good for you if you can make it happen. But, the reality of everyday life is that you sometimes have to grab the self-care in the in-between moments. And audio is in the between – or the layer on top of the chores that makes the chores more bearable. So, align yourself with the part of mom’s day that makes things better. The part that makes the boring parts of motherhood less mundane.

I mentioned the premise of this presentation to my coworker who I have been working with for over a decade. She said, “You know what – I listen to audio whenever I clean the house. It actually makes me look forward to cleaning!” I said, “Actually, I really need to organize my closet and I can’t wait because I want to listen to the new Dolly Parton podcast.” We both laughed, thinking about how we would never have such a conversation before we became moms. And you know what? Life is different then it used to be, but I wouldn’t trade it for anything. And to be honest, I am really looking forward to saving the sea turtles with my Girl Scouts. I should see if there’s a podcast on the topic.

Click here to download The Power Of Audio: How Moms Use Audio for Self-Care and Inspiration

Super Listeners 2019 from PodcastOne and Edison Research

Weekly podcast listeners who consume more than five hours of podcasts per week are the subject of the first-ever Super Listeners study from PodcastOne and Edison Research. These podcasting “Super Listeners,” podcasting’s heaviest listeners, have emerged as valuable targets for advertisers and trusted allies for podcast sponsors according to this groundbreaking study.

• Seventy percent of Super Listeners say they have considered a new product or service as a result of hearing an ad on a podcast.

• More than half (57%) of Super Listeners consume more than 8 hours per week of podcast content, which means their potential exposure to podcast advertising is high relative to the rest of the podcast audience.

The topline findings from the study were debuted last week at the IAB Podcast Upfront in New York, and complete findings were presented in a live, online presentation earlier today by PodcastOne CEO Peter Morris and Edison Research SVP Tom Webster.

According to Edison Research Senior Vice President, Tom Webster, “We were very eager to look at the heaviest users of podcasting as a kind of “early warning system” for the efficacy of podcasting advertisement, since they will have had more exposure to podcast advertising than anyone. What we found was that not only don’t they mind podcast ads—they actually have a very positive effect, which is even more remarkable when you consider that Super Listeners are otherwise engaging in active ad avoidance behavior.”

“As the industry leader, we wanted to provide this first of its kind study to deliver meaningful details on the habits of podcasting’s most loyal consumers. We believe this will be a great benefit to the industry as a whole,” said PodcastOne CEO, Peter Morris. “Edison is the recognized authority for research in podcasting. We’re proud to be the first podcast company to work with them, beginning when PodcastOne was founded in 2012, and continue to do so to ensure our advertising partners receive the best audience insights and analysis to maximize their campaign goals.”

• Despite the fact that 50% of Super Listeners are actively trying to limit their exposure to commercials across all video and audio platforms, 44% agree that they pay more attention to advertising on podcasts than other media, and 37% say podcasts are the best way for an advertiser to reach them.

• Six in ten Super Listeners appreciate podcast advertisers for supporting their favorite podcasts, and 44% say they think more positively about companies that advertise on the podcasts they regularly listen to.

• Super Listeners identify podcasts as the mainstream medium least likely to have too many ads; however, nearly half (49%) indicate that they have noticed an increase in podcast advertising over the last year. Thirty-five percent of Super Listeners perceive that advertising breaks in podcasts have gotten longer; 59% believe that they have not changed. Thus, the industry must be cognizant to maintain the premium element of these ads.

This industry-wide study showcases the power of podcasting’s most active consumers, including how they react to advertising, the role ads play in their listening experience, and what the industry must be cautious about in maximizing advertising impact. The presentation is now available for download and the webinar is available for viewing.

Click here to download Super Listeners 2019 from PodcastOne and Edison Research.

For more information, visit PodcastOne or Edison Research.

About PodcastOne
PodcastOne, (www.PodcastOne.com) the nation’s leading advertiser-supported podcast network, was founded by Norman Pattiz, founder of radio-giant Westwood One. The network currently hosts more than 300 of today’s most popular podcasts, including Adam Carolla, Shaquille O’Neal, Steve Austin, Kaitlyn Bristowe, Dan Patrick, A&E’s Cold Case, Spencer and Heidi Pratt, Tip “T.I.” Harris, Scheana Shay, Heather and Terry Dubrow, Jim Harbaugh, Ladygang, Dr. Drew, Chael Sonnen, Rich Eisen, Barbara Boxer and hundreds more.

About Edison Research
Edison Research conducts survey research and provides strategic information in over 50 countries for clients including AMC Theatres, AMC Theatres, Amazon, Apple, The Brookings Institute, Facebook, The Gates Foundation, Google, the U.S. International Broadcasting Bureau, Oracle, Pandora, The Pew Research Center, Samsung, Spotify, and SiriusXM Radio. The national tracking study The Infinite Dial® and the syndicated Share of Ear® are two of the most widely cited studies in the audio space. Edison is also the leading podcast research company in the world and has conducted research for NPR, Slate, ESPN, PodcastOne, WNYC Studios, and many more companies in the podcasting space. Edison’s network of more than 20,000 experienced interviewers allows the company to conduct research in almost any location. Since 2004, Edison Research has been the sole provider of Election Day data to the National Election Pool. For the 2020 U.S. elections, Edison will provide exit polls and will tabulate the national vote across every county in the United States for ABC News, CBS News, CNN, and NBC News.

SheListens: Insights on Women Podcast Listeners

Click here to download SheListens: Insights on Women Podcast Listeners

Edison Research Senior Vice President Melissa Kiesche gave the following presentation on October 12 at She Podcasts LIVE in Atlanta.

It’s 9am on Saturday morning. While I know that pie charts and bar graphs may not be everyone’s favorite (although, totally mine!), I love that it is data that can help frame our conversations and direct change.

My talk today is entitled – SheListens. While we’ve spent much of the last day or so focused on how to encourage more women to host, produce, write and edit, what we can also do as women in this industry is to bring more women listeners to all this fabulous women-created content.

Thirteen years ago, we added podcast questions to our annual Infinite Dial® study.  In 2006 the ONLY way to listen to a podcast was to search for content and then listen on your computer speakers or download it to your iPod. It was a tech-heavy ask for people who were used to just popping in a CD, or tuning their radio dial or maybe listening to an Internet radio station via their desktop. So, it makes sense that this was an industry born from the depths of male tech culture.

In addition, content was forever heavily male focused, so it’s not really surprising that women have lagged far behind in their interest in and adoption of podcasting. But, for the most part, these barriers have gone away. You can listen to podcasts in a dozen different ways – none of which require you to use one device to download to another. And, anyone that has spent any time looking at podcasts on iTunes or Spotify knows that there is ample content out there for anyone and everyone.

So, why is it that women are still lagging behind men when it comes to listening? We’re going to spend a little time today on this. We’ll look at women who are familiar with podcasting, but are NOT listeners, as well as compare some key podcast metrics between men and women listeners.

Beyond the buttoned up quantitative research we do, we take a lot of pride our qualitative research – it really gives us a chance to get in front of podcast listeners and pick their brains about their listening habits.

To go back a moment, for those of you that are unfamiliar with our Infinite Dial study. It’s really our flagship study, where we track a whole range of digital media consumption habits and behaviors and have been doing so for 22 years. It’s a nationally representative study, conducted using the highest standards in market research.

And, for podcasting, Infinite Dial has become the industry’s annual report card. An opportunity to understand where we came from and hypothesize on where we are going.

So, let’s start with the good news. All those metrics I talked about, they are up! We were super excited this year to say that after years of 1-2 percentage point increases, now over half of Americans (144 million people) say they have EVER listened to a podcast.

 

That’s a seven-percentage point increase over last year. And, just under one-third of Americans (90 million people) say they have listened to a podcast in the last month. A six-percentage point increase over last year.

But, today we’re talking about listeners who identify as women. And, when you break it down, we see that women are quite a bit less likely to have listened in the last month: 36% of Men vs. 29% of Women have listened in the last month.

This means that when you look at the composition of monthly podcast listeners, 54% are Men and 46% are Women.

 

And yet, the familiarity of the term podcasting is just about equal – 72% of Men and 69% of Women are familiar with the term, where up until 3 years ago, there was about a 10 percentage point gap.

So, while the gap is closing, Why the persistent lag? If they know what a podcast is, why haven’t they tried listening?

What’s unique about women in terms of their consumption habits, their content preferences? What can we learn about women that will help convert them from a non-listener to a listener and from a casual listener to a more voracious one?

Let’s start with those who are familiar with podcasting, but are not listeners. We had the opportunity to sit down with people who were familiar with the term podcasting but did not listen. So, let’s learn more about the non-listeners.

It was those conversations that lead us to include questions to non-listeners in our annual study. So, we asked people if the following were reasons they did NOT listen to podcasts.

 

First off, which I think is great news, is that this does NOT seem to be a content problem. Women are LESS likely to say that there aren’t podcasts that cover topics they are interested in. So, even non-listeners are aware of all that is out there for them to listen to.

But, much of this suggests there is still a bit of a tech hurdle to gain additional women listeners. And, for sure, that was originally the case. But, that is now starting to go away. A podcast app is NOT the only way to listen to a podcast. In addition to apps, listeners can access content via Spotify, Pandora, YouTube and direct links on social.

And, as the content (that you are all producing!) continues to get out into the world it will be worth it for new listeners to do whatever they need to do to access that content.

Now, back to our actual listeners. For Podcast Movement this year, we took a deeper look at Rookie monthly podcast listeners (those who started listening in the last six months) and veteran monthly listeners (started listening 3 or more years ago). We wanted to see the difference between those who have been dedicated listeners for years and those who are just getting started.

And as part of that study, we sat down with some veteran and rookie listeners and this is what they said.

After defining the length of listenership for the groups, one of the first things we looked at was the gender composition of each group. And, let me tell you, my colleagues and I practically leaped in air when we took a look.

So, let’s start with those veteran listeners – 63% are men and only 37% are women. Now, look at the rookies – 47% are men, but the majority, 53% are women.

This is the number excites me the most. It says we are at a tipping point! And, I feel it every day in my household. I have twin daughters – they are five. When we get in the car, the FIRST thing they ask is for me to turn on a podcast!

When asked if they might like music instead, they’ll choose the podcast every single time. And, as an aside, the content they choose is about a gal-powered as you can get.  I did a quickie content analysis on all their favorite shows and of their top shows eight of the ten feature a female host, co-host or in the case of a fictional podcast, a female protagonist.

So, while they may not qualify to take our survey for another seven years or so, I know their listening (and that of their peers), will help to rocket women listenership farther.

And, when women become listeners they are committed to the cause!

Women are listening to just about as many podcasts on average per week as men – 7.2 podcasts vs. 6.8 podcasts.  They also subscribe to just about as many podcasts as men (3.2 vs. 3.4 on average) but, more impressively, they are on average doing more hours of listening then men – 7.3 hours vs. 5.9 hours.

While women are less likely to download and listen to a podcast within 48 hours – 72% of women vs. 83% of men, they eventually listen to 76% of all the podcasts they download (same as men at 77%). Women are also a bit more likely to listen to the entire podcast (54% of women vs. 52% of men). And, again, super impressively, women are more likely to say they are listening to MORE podcasts than one year ago – 45% of women vs. 39% of men.

Now, why do women say they are listening to podcasts? We asked seven different reasons why they might listen and this is how they ranked:

And, everyone knows that women are the ULTIMATE multi-taskers. On any given Saturday, you can find me loading groceries out of my cart at checkout and responding to an urgent work email, while simultaneously leading my daughters in a sorting activity – red fruits in one bag, boxed items in another.

So, this next stat is right in line: 75% of men say they ever listen to a podcast while not doing anything else, while only 65% of women listeners say the same. So, women are a bit more likely to sometimes be multi-tasking while listening. They are consuming your content, while still going about their day-to-day. And to many of them, it’s the soundtrack of their day.

We recently talked to a group of moms about how they listen to podcasts and how it fits in to their daily lives.

Our next video brings up discovery – we know why women listen, but how is it that they discover what they are listening to. Let’s watch.

While women and men discover podcasts in many of the same ways, their primary means of discovery is quite different. Women are more likely to use “recommendations from friends and family” as their primary source of finding out about podcasts– 25% vs. 18% (#1 among women and #2 among men).

Women are social. They are far more likely overall to use social media and women podcast listeners are no exception. Women listeners are more likely to use ANY social media than men listeners – 96% vs. 87%, especially Facebook 80% vs. 58%,  Instagram 57% vs. 43% and  Pinterest 59% vs. 21%.

And, for podcast discovery social media really just becomes an extension of their recommendations from friends and family. Nineteen percent of women listeners use social media as their primary means vs. 14% (#2 among women and #3 among men). So, that means that 44% of women say their primary means of podcast discovery is via recommendations or social media compared to only 32% of men.

What’s the number one means of podcast discovery for men? Far and above, it’s searching the Internet. Over a third (34%) of men listeners say it’s the number one way that they discover new podcasts, while only 18% of women listeners use it as their primary means.

We also asked people what topics they would be interested in listening to on podcasts. And, while there are some commonalities here in the top ten (e.g music, news/information, entertainment/celebrity/gossip, history, mystery/thriller and true crime), what’s most striking here is that wellness/self-improvement tops the list for the type of content that women would be interested in listening to on podcasts. It’s number one for women and not even in the top ten for men. And, then, we have food at number three for women and again, not breaking the top ten for men.

And, while we learned before that women are well aware of all the content available out there, the Top Ten lists on both Apple, Spotify and Stitcher are not exactly reflecting the content preferences of women listeners.

Take a look at the Top Ten on Apple Podcasts.  I think we can say we have True Crime covered! Five of the top ten podcasts fall into that genre. Only ONE podcast makes the cut as a Wellness/Self-Improvement podcast and that’s The Happiness Lab with Dr. Laurie Santos. And, that one just launched on September 17th – so fingers crossed it remains a success.

The next Wellness/Self-Improvement-related podcast doesn’t show up on the list until #21 and that’s Dax Sheppard’s ArmChair Expert. No where do I see a food-related podcast.

Same patterns on both the Spotify and Stitcher Top Twenty.

Equally as important as the content is the advertising included in each episode. And, while I know that many of you have not yet taken on advertisers yet, if you do, this is key. So, I end with a bit of a warning – maybe more of a challenge than a warning. In addition to understanding why and how they listen, I also felt compelled to understand how women perceive advertising on podcasts.

And, in my own humble opinion, advertisers don’t always do the best job in appealing to women on podcasts. So, when I saw this data (while it made me cringe), I was not surprised. Women are less likely to consider a brand advertised on a podcast than men. Only 38% of women vs. over half (52%) of men are at least somewhat likely to consider them.

At Edison Research, we host a Podcast Club (book club for podcasts) and our September listen was To Live and Die in LA. Their main advertiser was SimpliSafe –a security system for your home. Right on, right? Great connection between podcast about a murder and beefing up your home security so you feel safer.

But, another advertiser, who popped up later in the series, was Zola.com. For those of you who are unfamiliar, Zola is a wedding planning website. Women just LOVE hearing about a wedding planning site while unraveling the mystery of whether or not a man brutally murdered the woman with whom he was cheating in order to hide the affair from his fiancé.Cue the cringes of every woman in our Podcast Club.

But, there is a little light on this topic. And, it comes in the way of video we put together of women discussing audio advertising.

So, what does this tell us? For me, it’s simple. When a brand is properly aligned with a podcast and the execution is women-friendly, women can be equally as engaged with the advertising.

And, we know this from the dozens of brand lift studies we conduct every year. We’ve seen smashing successes when an advertiser takes the time to craft messaging that is relevant to the audience. But, we’ve also seen utter failures when an advertiser just repurposes advertising from another medium and doesn’t take the care to make it podcast-friendly.

So, not every advertiser belongs on every podcast. And, even if it is a product or service equally purchased by men and women, how that product is represented in a women-friendly podcast can and should be different. Tell the advertiser about your audience. You know who they are what they want to hear.

Conclusions

Let it be known that our differences as women hosts, producers, writers, editors (and market researchers) are our STRENGTHS. Being a woman involved in making all this content puts you in a powerful position to continue to move women’s listenership numbers in the right direction.

This is industry that is growing. As you saw, all the awareness and listening metrics have gone up, but there is still a gap between men and women. But, heck yea, rookie listeners are more likely to be women!

Let us not forget. Women are social creatures and they rely on their personal and social networks as their main means for discovery. Lean into that – create a community. If you are not already heavy on social, you need to increase your efforts there.

Also, that same listening gap between women and men is reflected pretty clearly in those Top Podcasts lists. We saw — women have different content preferences and the Top lists don’t yet mirror that. Let’s make sure we are producing what women want. Again, this is your strength. Women are undeniably going to be better at producing content for women.

And finally, advertising is just as important as the actual content. Push your sponsors to give you copy or the liberty to create copy that is appropriate for your listeners. Take on sponsors that speak to the desires of your audience. Sell to your advertisers that being a woman –producer gives you a leg up in knowing what women want.

For more on podcast research done by Edison Research, click here.