Think about how much you invest in understanding and reaching your target customer in this cord-cutting, voice-driven, earbud era. As demands for audience attention grow, cutting through the clutter seems to be more challenging every day.
Smart speakers. Connected cars. Digital personal assistants. Our world is becoming increasingly screenless and voice-led. People now spend nearly a third of their waking hours with audio—and almost an hour more if they’re on certain platforms, such as Pandora or another digital streaming service. In fact, comScore predicts that 50 percent of all searches will be done by voice by next year, and Gartner says that 30 percent of all web-browsing sessions will be done without a screen. Even more compelling, voice-based shopping is projected to catapult from $2 billion today to more than $40 billion by 2022.
Your audience is listening
What’s most interesting about these statistics is not the market value but the audience pushing this growth. If you’re overlooking audio, you’re missing out on a huge—and rapidly expanding—educated, affluent, gender-balanced and loyal audience.
This audience is mobile, and audio finds itself at the center of this group’s preferred media Venn diagram—an innovative way to deliver content in addition to brand messaging for hard-to-reach consumers who crave a better way to be addressed.
Their pedigree as consumers is hard to compete with. They have capital to wield—51 percent of podcast listeners have household incomes over $75,000—and 61 percent of the podcast audience has at least a four-year college degree.
They’re also more likely to engage with companies, brands and products with a discoverability factor. They remain attracted to brands that excite and elicit emotion, something that sound does very well because of its ability to create primal connections.
Couple this with the amount of time they spend listening—according to Edison Research’s Podcast Consumer study, listeners consume an average of seven podcasts per week, and about one-third stream five hours or more of podcast content weekly—and marketers have a gateway to cord-cutters who are not only happy to hear, but also to listen.
According to the fourth-quarter 2018 Edison Research Share of Ear Study, that audience will double in size from what it is today. The landscape is expanding, and consumers are ready to be spoken to. We’ve only scratched the surface of what’s possible with audio.
2020 will be a year of digital audio
This audience is going to expect more as time goes on and technology continues to improve, as we found through interviews with industry experts on expectations and upcoming trends for Pandora’s annual Definitive Guide to Audio. From a U.S. presidential election to the Olympics, there are some major events approaching in 2020 that will be taking up much of the year’s mindshare.
With this in mind, connecting with audio’s audience in the right ways, at the right times, becomes more crucial than ever. Just any platform won’t reach these users, and digital streaming services are not all alike. Culture, safety and emerging technology are on consumers’ minds, and addressing this both in the format and content of ads will position brands to be more trusted and stronger than ever.
To help marketers succeed, Pandora assessed the growing audio market to find out how brands can leverage the current opportunity in audio and what’s coming in the future. The resounding discovery? Audio is rapidly becoming more important in advertising and, with the right strategy, insights and creative, brands can create unique experiences for listeners as never before.
This fast-growing audience can be an elusive target for many brands, which will be looking for the type of audio best practices and data found in Pandora’s 2020 Definitive Guide to Audio and new immersive online tour. Because if it’s a captive audience you’re looking for, consumers are listening.