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Why Podcast Advertising Is Effective: Benefits and Statistics For 2023

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

Simon Franklin, Digital Brand Marketing Manager
October 9, 2023

Podcasts are taking the world by storm, captivating audiences and providing advertisers with a unique opportunity to connect with their target customers. Whether you’re an in-house marketer or agency-side, adding podcast advertising to your skillset can help you achieve your KPIs for whatever marketing objective you have.

In today's blog post, we will explore the reasons why podcast advertising is a powerful marketing tool that should be an essential part of every marketer's media mix.

The Expanding Podcast Landscape

First, let’s set the scene. The podcast industry is experiencing exponential growth, with over 4 million total podcasts registered around the world (, available across an extensive range of genres and subjects.

Podcasting has well and truly hit the mainstream too, with Edison Research reporting in their Infinite Dial study that 64% of people in the US have listened to a podcast at least once. That’s up from 55% in 2020, and it doesn’t look like we’re hitting the ceiling anytime soon.

Growth is fueled by the increasing accessibility of podcasts through various platforms, like Spotify and Apple Podcasts, as well as the availability of devices to consume podcasts such as smartphones, smart speakers, and in-car apps. Not to mention household names dipping their toes into the warm waters of podcasting such as President Barack Obama and Michele Obama, Anna Faris, and Peter Crouch—bringing with them millions of new listeners into the podcast ecosystem.

Unlike other forms of media, podcasts provide a deep dive into specific topics and experimentation with exciting formats, catering to a wide range of niche markets. This diversity allows advertisers to precisely target their ideal audience, maximizing the impact of their ad campaigns.

Let’s not forget about stickiness. Podcast listeners are known for their loyalty and engagement, actively seeking out and consuming content on a regular basis. This captive audience creates a prime opportunity for advertisers to capture their attention and deliver their message effectively. Let’s explore attention in podcasting further below.

Engaged and Captive Audiences

Podcast listeners are highly engaged, and when they start listening to podcasts; they become hooked. DiscoverPods research revealed that 82.4% of podcast fans listen to 7 or more hours of podcast content each week per week. Rather than being a passive audience, these listeners actively invest their time and attention in the content they consume.

If you’re trying to understand why podcast audiences are so engaged, examine the listening environment of how podcasts are most commonly consumed. Listening devices like smartphones (which account for 73% of listening hours) are used with headphones to create an auditory bubble—where the listener is intimately immersed in the podcast they’re listening to. Podcast hosts become companions, and much has been written about the parasocial relationship effect between listener and podcast host.

This is great news for advertisers, as running ad campaigns in this special medium has a halo effect on their commercial messaging. In fact, Acast’s own research found that 64% of listeners pay full attention to podcast ads, and 95% of frequent podcast listeners have taken action after hearing an audio ad. Podcasting is a lean-in experience unlike any other, so if you’re looking to build brand awareness and drive action, don’t overlook it.

But what about ad-skipping I hear you cry. First let’s compare to other forms of advertisng: on average, about 40% of US internet users utilize an ad blocker on any device, according to Blockthrough’s March 2021 survey. Due to the absence of ad blocking, podcast ads are seamlessly integrated into podcast episodes and have a greater chance of being heard by the listener. This is further compounded by the low skip rates, with Edison Research’s “Super Listener Study” data revealing that most podcast listeners aren’t rushing to skip ahead when they hear advertising, with 34% rarely or never skipping advertising and 33% skipping only some of the time.

Trust and Authenticity

As a result of the intimate listening environment of podcasting, we’ve discussed how podcast hosts develop a unique bond and sense of trust with their listeners, who consider them as friends or trusted advisors. This relationship holds significant influence over their audience's purchasing decisions, presenting an effective advertising opportunity for brands and businesses.

A Magna Global study illustrated that 48% of UK listeners said they trust podcast hosts more than hosts of other traditional media, including radio or TV shows, and Acast’s own research with Nielsen revealed that 63% of respondents said the host of the podcasts they listen to are trustworthy, and 80% said they trust recommendations from hosts they currently listen to.

In fact, podcast hosts are almost as trusted for recommendations as family (85%) and friends (84%), understandably seeing as podcast hosts build authentic relationships with their listeners over weeks, months, or even years of regular episodes.

YouGov research also found that UK listeners are more likely to “feel deeply connected” to a brand when they can hear “a voice” — and, more specifically, their favorite host’s. Brands can tap into this ready-made authenticity and trust through host-read sponsorships.

Host-read ads (also known as sponsorships) have proven to be a powerful tool for enhancing brand credibility. When hosts passionately endorse a product or service, it resonates with listeners and inspires them to take action.

Acast’s research into action driven by host-read podcast advertising found 72% of listeners say they’ve visited an advertiser’s website after hearing a host-read sponsorship, and 62% of listeners said they had made a purchase after hearing a host-read sponsorship.

Now let’s compare podcast advertising to other marketing channels regarding trust, and the big dog in the paid advertising world is social media. According to a study by ARN Neurolab, podcast advertising is 30% more trustworthy to consumers than advertising across social media—so businesses looking improve brand salience should consider podcasts in their marketing mix.

‘Mix’ being the operative word, as smart marketers will know that pulling all the levers at their disposal will generate the best results. ARN Neurolab’s study also found that podcast ads enhance social media campaigns, as 83% of social media campaigns see an uplift when their ads are heard on a podcast first.

Targeted Advertising and Measurable Results

Podcast advertising platforms like Acast offer advertisers the ability to target podcast categories, specific demographics and niche audience segments. These targeting options arm advertisiers with solutions to ensure ads are delivered to the right audience, maximizing their impact and return on investment.

Personalized ad experiences within podcasts allow advertisers to resonate with listeners on a deeper level. By tailoring ads to the interests and preferences of the target audience, brands can create a more engaging and memorable experience. Acast research has found podcast advertising 3X as effective when reaching situation-relevant consumers.

Podcast advertising effectiveness can be measured through various metrics, such as brand lift, reach, and engagement. We’ve carried out hundreds of brand lift studies for clients, and have shared our insights from all our learnings here.

Podcast advertising is increasingly being implemented as part of a performance marketing strategy, encouraged by the availability and access to pixel-based attribution solutions, alongside tried-and-tested methods such as promo codes and vanity URLs. That means not discounting podcast advertising for KPIs focused on return-on-investment (ROI), with Hubspot finding that 38% of marketers working for retail companies say podcast advertising is the media channel with the biggest ROI.

If you’re looking to discover how leading brands have used podcast advertising and what KPIs they’re measuring the impact of their campaigns, head over to our success stories hub where you’ll find case studies from Klarna, Oatly, HSBC and more.

Adapting to Changing Consumer Behavior

Podcast advertising aligns perfectly with the shift towards on-demand and mobile-first consumption. As consumers increasingly turn to mobile devices for entertainment and information, podcasts have become an integral part of their daily routines.

According to MIDAS’ Summer Survey 2022, 93% of people listen to podcasts alone and, most commonly, when working or studying (33%). The second most common time for tuning in is when listeners were driving or travelling (22%). Crucially, these are the moments that visual advertising such as TV or social ads can’t reach consumers, whereas podcast ads can.

Frequently Asked Questions

How many people skip podcast ads?

Edison Research’s “Super Listener Study” data revealed that most podcast listeners aren’t rushing to skip ahead when they hear advertising, with 34% rarely or never skipping advertising and 33% skipping only some of the time.

How many podcasters are there?

Over 4 million total podcasts registered around the world (

Is podcast advertising trusted?

A Magna Global study illustrated that 48% of UK listeners said they trust podcast hosts more than hosts of other traditional media, including radio or TV show.

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