Posted By gmcglone April 5, 2017

With audio content accessible to us through countless means, it seems we’re always listening to music or podcasts throughout our day. And that means that we’re well situated to be on the receiving end of advertising messages, too. Two of the media industry’s most credible data collection sources, Edison Research and Triton Digital, released their 2017 Infinite Dial Study and unveiled some trends and statistics on streaming audio that every media planner should have their eye on. These are the three we have in our sights.

Online Radio
Need an easy way to reach 61 percent of people older that 12? Online radio, including streaming radio services like IHeartRadio, Radio.com, Spotify and Pandora, is it. This form of media, now reaching over half of that demographic’s population, has one of the fastest growing audiences. In 2010, online radio was only reaching 17 percent of people 12 and up.

Even just a few years ago, agencies and their clients were dismissing streaming/online radio as something that was only beneficial for added value – they didn’t want to dedicate any money from a campaign budget into the medium. That has clearly changed, especially for campaigns that have a younger target audience. Online radio reaches 87 percent of people 12-24, compared to 70 percent of people 25-54. It’s a no-brainer that online radio should absolutely be a consideration for being part of your media mix.

While Pandora still leads the pack in terms of popularity, Spotify went from reaching 9 percent of the 12-24 age bracket in 2016 to 20 percent in 2017 – a rise attributed to their desire to keep up with new music. If you have target audience that skews younger, this area is incredibly important because some digital music platforms are a great way to reach people in their teens and early 20s. For example, a university trying to recruit undergraduates wants to reach 17-year-olds while they are still deciding where to go.

We expect online radio’s reach to continue growing in all age groups and see it as a burgeoning opportunity across the board.

Percent listening to online radio in last month

Podcast listening is another area that experienced significant growth. This medium now reaches 40 percent of people 12 and older – up from just 12 percent in 2013. Only a few years ago, many advertisers and agencies considered podcasting as a fad. Now in 2017, we’re approaching a point where almost half of us listen to podcasts. It’s no longer a fad, but a notable trend.

Advertisers will have to take note that, among the coveted 25-54 demographic, 31 percent are now listening to podcasts on a monthly basis. Even if you have a product or service that you think might not fit into the podcasting paradigm, it’s time to reconsider. Podcasts are reaching almost half the population at this point, and, given the wide array of podcast hosts, show topics and guests, it’s turned into an effective way for an advertiser to associate with a major brand like NPR’s Ted Radio Hour podcast or The Joe Rogan Experience. If you’ve been on the fence about implementing podcasts as part of your media strategy, it’s finally time to give this popular form of audio advertising another look.

In-Car Media Consumption
Even though the choices to consume audio content online are becoming more and more popular, AM/FM radio is still the top dog and shouldn’t be forgotten. Eighty-two percent of adults 18+ use radio in their primary car, a number that has remained consistent since 2014. Online radio saw a 12 percent increase of users listening in their car since 2014 (to 26 percent). And while this is the first year that podcasts are being tracked, they hold a strong share of in-car listeners in the market at 19 percent.

While there are many shiny new ways to reach listeners in the audio world, advertisers and agencies would be remiss not to include some AM/FM radio as part of their overall strategy. It’s still a viable strategy for radio advertisers to spend a large portion of that budget during the morning and afternoon commute, as people are listening more than ever.

Advertising is in a constant state of evolution, and annual studies like this show how very specific categories of media are progressing and changing – everything comes out in the numbers. Case in point, someone a few years back may have never given Spotify a second look because of how it performed that year, but if you have a younger audience, Spotify is now one of the best ways to reach that specific demographic.

We all need to continue to educate ourselves on these matters, because there is so much information released on a regular basis. Staying ahead of the curve is how we create impactful media strategies for our clients, and we’d love to help your organization grow and accomplish your goals.

Greg McGlone is the Senior Media Planner and Buyer for DDCworks.  Email him directly at gmcglone@ddcworks.com