Believe It or Not, Podcast Users Love Ads

Is it possible that downloadable media might be a marketer’s best friend? According to a recent study, that could be the case. In fact, not only do people that listen to podcasts tolerate ads more than in any other medium, but some folks actually like them.

First, a caveat. The study was performed by research firm Edison Research and commissioned by the Association for Downloadable Media, “an industry association focused on providing advertising and audience measurement standards for episodic and downloadable media” — or podcasts, in English.

That said, the study’s findings were pretty interesting. The survey found that 37 percent of video podcast subscribers and 31 percent of audio podcast subscribers said they enjoyed ads that were inserted into the podcasts, compared to just 6 percent that “liked” broadcast TV or cable ads. On the flip side, only 14 percent of video podcast users and 13 percent of audio podcast users disliked ads in those formats, compared to 41 percent of cable TV watchers and 40 percent of broadcast TV viewers that found ads in those mediums intolerable.

Not surprisingly, about 90 percent of podcast users said they preferred free, ad-supported downloadable media to paying for podcast subscriptions. But the effect of ads in those podcasts was surprising. About 78 of respondents said — and 21 percent strongly agreed — that their opinion of a company was more positive when they heard it mentioned in one of the podcasts that they regularly enjoyed.

Advertisers were even better off when those messages were read by the host of the program that they were listening to. When the advertiser’s message came direct from the program’s host, 72 percent of respondents said that they were receptive to it, with about 20 percent indicating that those messages were “generally interesting and useful.” When not read by the program’s host, 72 percent were still receptive to the sponsor’s message, but only about 5 percent found they were interested in the advertisement.