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Nielsen launches its Podcast Listener research service

In another sign of podcast’s maturation, Nielsen announced this week the launch of its Podcast Listener Buying Power Service.

The service will be available from media research firm Nielsen Scarborough, with audio company iHeartMedia, podcast firm Cadence13, audio network Westwood One and AdLarge Media’s digital audio division Cabana as charter clients.

It surveys 30,000 podcast subscribers to create profiles that provide buying habits, interests and other details about the kinds of listeners for specific podcast programs or genres, in order to provide advertisers with audience segmentation data for ad targeting.

‘A game-changer’

Over a dozen podcast genres and over 2000 categories on respondents’ buying habits and other traits are included in the twice-annual reports from the service. The reports allow program producers to describe for advertisers the specific kinds of listeners their content attracts, such as where they shop and what they buy.

“We see this as a game-changer that will propel podcast advertising forward,” said Cabana/AdLarge Media CEO Cathy Csukas in a statement. The service, she added, “makes it easy for advertisers to go deep within a specific genre to target listeners with interests and buying habits that match those of the customers they want to reach.”

Sean King, EVP at multi-platform ad agency Veritone One, told ClickZ that, while there were some audio hosting platforms like Megaphone and Art 19 that provided general audience data, he was not aware of any service that offered this kind of profile-based data for podcasts.

‘Levels the playing field’

“This levels the playing field a bit,” he said, since advertisers can now place ads on podcasts whose listeners include, say, single mothers on the West Coast who have a GM car and may be looking for a new one. Previously, the data enabling this kind of detailed audience-based ad buying has been more plentiful in the older channels.

Additionally, King said, the Nielsen brand “legitimizes” the growth of podcast, especially for big brands.

Podcasts have become a kind of golden medium for advertisers. Edison Research reports that about 144 million consumers are listening to podcasts in 2019, and about a third of all Americans listened to a podcast in the last month.

As for the ads themselves, a study in late 2018 by Midroll/Nielsen found that podcasts show 4.4 times better recall than, say, display ads on web sites. There was also a ten percent lift in purchase intent by listeners to a podcast ad.

A big reason for those stellar stats is that podcast ads are not easily skippable, they become part of the program experience through a similar tone or style, and they can have an intimacy – particularly when the podcast is heard by a single listener via ear buds or solo listening in a car.

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