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The Power of Podcasts: Bridging the Language Divide in Canada

From targeting and creative development to measurement, we offer the most advanced solutions to make your podcast campaign a success.

Tommy Walters, Acast Research and Insights Director
June 22, 2023

Podcasts have revolutionized the way we consume audio content, capturing the attention and trust of audiences worldwide. Canadian podcast listeners, whether English or French speakers, have embraced this medium with fervor, creating a unique and impactful podium for brands to speak to young and engaged consumers. 

To better understand the differences and commonalities between these English and French speaking Canadian podcast listeners, Acast conducted a quantitative study with Toluna with 203 podcast listeners in June 2023.  As we delve into the stats, it becomes evident that podcasts have not only become a force to be reckoned with in the marketing world but have also bridged the language divide, providing common ground for listeners across Canada.

The frequency of podcast consumption is fairly similar between English and French speakers in Canada. In fact, nearly 20% of both demographics tune in to podcasts daily – 18% of English-speaking listeners and 15% of French-speaking listeners.  But more French listeners are weekly listeners, with 60% of French-speaking listeners consuming podcasts at least weekly, slightly higher than the 59% of English-speaking listeners.  

However, genre consumption by language in Canada proves to have more pronounced differences.  According to the research, the top five English-speaking genres are Comedy, True Crime, Talk Show / Interview, Health / Lifestyle, and News and Politics while the top French-speaking genres are Music, Comedy, Health / Lifestyle, True Crime, and Sports.

In my research, time and time again I have found that one fascinating aspect of podcasting lies in the trust and influence that hosts wield over their listeners. And Canada proved to be no different. In fact, 71% of English-speaking Canadian listeners trust podcast hosts to genuinely endorse products – outpacing their French-speaking counterparts at 60%.

It’s also notable that 59% of French-speaking listeners say that podcast hosts feel like their friends compared to 64% of English-speaking listeners who feel they have sparked a friendship through their headphones. And more than half of both audiences – 52% of French-speaking and 55% of English-speaking – are interested in attending live podcast events.  

This deep connection – regardless of language –that Canadian listeners feel towards podcast hosts is exactly why advertisers find so much success in podcasting.

It’s also why over half of both English and French-speaking listeners in Canada consider podcast ads more influential than other forms of advertising. Interestingly, audio ads prove to be most effective at top-funnel metrics, but only marginally compared to host-read ads. Both formats prove to resonate strongly with listeners of both languages across the funnel. 

To go a bit deeper, among English-speaking listeners, 79% who listen to audio ads have looked at an advertiser’s website while a slightly lower 71% have made a purchase because of an audio ad. When it comes to host-read ads, 74% of English-speaking listeners have looked at an advertiser’s website and an identical 74% have made a purchase as a result of hearing the ad.  

French-speaking Canadians seem to be moved more towards those top funnel metrics for advertisers. In fact, 84% of French-speaking listeners who listen to audio ads have looked at an advertiser’s website – significantly higher than the 60% who have made a purchase because of an audio ad. And the results are similar for host-read spots, with 80% of French-speaking listeners who listen to host-read ads saying they have looked at an advertiser’s website, compared to the 64% who have made a purchase. 

This is good news for advertisers looking to appeal to audiences of either or both languages because it means that both ads and host-read sponsorships are effective at driving awareness and purchase intent.

When it comes to the audio battle between podcasts, streaming music, and radio, podcasts emerge victorious on multiple fronts. In English-speaking Canada, podcasts are crowned as the best use of time, offering the most educational content, most brand-safe environment, most motivating, and with the most diverse content choices. Meanwhile, in French-speaking Canada, podcasts are lauded as the most educational and uplifting audio content. 

Both English and French-speaking Canadian podcast listeners display an unwavering enthusiasm for the medium, with a higher likelihood of increasing their podcast consumption in the future. English speakers are seven times more likely to increase than decrease consumption, while their French-speaking counterparts are 5.4 times more likely. 

The power of podcasts is transcending language barriers and captivating audiences with  immersive storytelling and engaging discussions, uniting Canadian listeners regardless of their linguistic backgrounds. 

At Acast, we’ve long recognized the value of podcasting and brand storytelling for English and non English-speaking audiences. This has driven us to not only develop a massive network of more than 100,000 podcasts spanning a variety of languages, but also to develop tools for advertisers to target audiences of those languages we support as well as to measure the success of those campaigns.One example is our Keyword Targeting tool, which enables advertisers to target specific words and phrases spoken within a podcast episode and is available in English, French, Spanish, German, Italian, and Dutch, with more languages to be added in the future. 

Looking specifically at our work in Canada, a series of five brand lift studies across in the market supported our research and also found this demographic to be tuned in to the medium. In fact, the listeners in the study had an impressive 83% recall rate and were 22% more likely to say that they liked Acast’s ads compared to the benchmark.

To learn more about this research study and about how Acast can help your brand to engage with French and English-speaking audiences, please contact sales.canada@acast.com.

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