Home Industry News STUDY: Podcast Consumers, Listening Habits, and Platforms

STUDY: Podcast Consumers, Listening Habits, and Platforms


, America’s largest audio network, is releasing the and their . Westwood One partnered with Canadian media research consultancy Audience Insights Inc. to utilize their Canadian Podcast Listener 2018 questionnaire for a major new study of the American podcast audience.

The results, now revealed in the Westwood One and Audience Insights Inc.’s Podcast Download – Spring 2019 Report, is part of the industry-leading Westwood One platform. Fielded in March 2019, the report examines the podcast consumption habits of 1,407 monthly podcast listeners and focuses on four distinct segments based on when people began listening to podcasts. These segments include “Podcast Pioneers” who started listening four or more years ago, those who began listening 2-3 years ago, those who began listening in the past 7-12 months, and “” who began listening within the last six months.

“The finding that emerging podcast listeners are using a diverse number of platforms signals a turning point for the podcast industry,” said Suzanne Grimes, EVP, Marketing for CUMULUS MEDIA and President, Westwood One. “When compared to the Podcast Pioneers, who use Apple Podcasts almost exclusively, Podcast Newcomers are open to using multiple platforms to access podcasts.”

“This new Podcast Download Report expands on much of what we’ve seen as we put our microscope on Canadian podcast listeners,” says Jeff Vidler, President of Audience Insights Inc. and Study Director of The Canadian Podcast Listener study, with its third annual report scheduled for release this Fall. “Podcasting is uniquely engaging — on trend with on-demand content platforms like Netflix or paid music streaming services, but the only one accessible to advertisers.”

Highlights from the study include:

  • Spotify and Google Podcasts are attracting consumers who recently began listening to podcasts:

Among those who have been listening to podcasts over four years, Apple is the leading destination. More recent podcast listeners use a much broader and diverse group of platforms to access podcasts, including Spotify and Google Podcasts. While the average monthly podcast listener accesses 2.7 podcast platforms, Podcast Newcomers use 3.5 platforms.

How frequently do you use each of the following places to access the podcasts you listen to?

(% who answered frequently)

Podcast Pioneers (started 4+ years ago) Podcast start: 2-3 years ago Podcast start: past 7-12 months Podcast Newcomers (started past 6 months)
Apple Podcasts 33% 30% 24% 29%
Spotify 16% 21% 26% 24%
Google Podcasts 16% 19% 18% 28%
Soundcloud 10% 8% 10% 22%
Average # of platforms used frequently 1.5 1.5 1.4 2.3
  • A stunning 67% of “Power” podcast listeners (those who listen to 5+ hours per week) follow their favorite podcast hosts on social media. Social media advertising packages should be a part of most podcast ad buys.
  • Podcast listeners equally use Facebook, Instagram, Twitter, and YouTube to follow their favorite hosts. Podcast hosts must maintain their presence on all four social platforms to engage with their audience. Twitter is an important social media platform. 42% of “Power” podcast listeners follow their favorite podcast host on Twitter compared to the 22% of U.S. adults who ever use Twitter.
  • Podcast ads are the least likely to be skipped among all media: Monthly podcast listeners skip digital ad formats the most – online pop-up ads, online banner ads, e-mail advertising, direct mail, and online video.
  • Podcast promotion on AM/FM radio is noticed: 31% of Podcast Newcomers typically discover podcasts by hearing about them on AM/FM radio.


  • The number of podcasts promoted on AM/FM radio is skyrocketing. According to Media Monitors, the ad occurrence measurement service, less than ten podcasts were promoted in Q1, Q2, and Q3 2018. In Q4 2018, eleven were promoted. Q1 2019 saw an explosion in podcasts promoted on AM/FM radio, with 106 unique podcasts advertised.

Report Methodology

Westwood One and Audience Insights Inc. utilized the survey used in Audience Insights Inc.’s Canadian Podcast Listener 2018 Report for American Podcast consumers. A national MARU/Matchbox survey was administered to 1,407 respondents who were monthly podcast listeners made up of 1,005 weekly listeners and 489 “Power” podcast listeners who consumed 5+ hours per week. The sample size of the four segments of when people began listening to podcasts: 313 Podcast Pioneers (started 4+ years ago), 415 who started listening to podcasts 2-3 years ago, 327 who started listening in the past 7-12 months, and 352 Podcast Newcomers (started listening in the past 6 months).

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