Black podcast audience is an untapped market, according to new research

(Credit: Getty Images)
(Credit: Getty Images)

SXM Media and Mindshare’s latest report shows Black listenership is on the rise and driving brand impact.

Podcasts have captured the attention of Black listeners. 

According to a study from SXM Media, the media sales division of SiriusXM, Pandora and Stitcher, Edison Research and Mindshare, podcasts are an untapped opportunity for reaching Black audiences. The report surveyed 2,500 participants on listening habits, preferred content, brand trust and more. 

“Marketers have an immense opportunity to support and elevate Black podcasters today. In doing so, not only will they better connect with Black audiences, but their support can help Black creators breathe and thrive in a space where their voices are often underrepresented,” Natasha Stockton, director, communications planning at Mindshare said. “It shouldn’t surprise anyone to hear about the importance of Black creators and stories in culture, but this research goes another key step in better understanding the growth of Black listeners as well.”

Here are a few key trends to take note of.

Black listeners press play on podcasts

Black weekly podcast listenership is up to 26%, closing in on the overall population at 28%. That’s a significant increase from 2020, when 17% of Black Americans said they listened to podcasts weekly, compared to 26% of the population overall. Monthly, 36% of Black Americans (equating to 12 million) listen to podcasts, catching up to the general population’s 40%. 

Black podcast listeners skew young with almost half under the age of 34 compared to 36% of non-listeners. And Black women are leading the charge, making up 56% of Black podcast listeners. The rest of the population, on the other hand, is composed of mostly male listeners.

Podcasts are resonating with Black women as an ideal medium to seek community, said Nidia Serrano, senior director, sales marketing strategy at SiriusXM.

“Black women have needs that can be met in a conversational format within podcasts,” she said. “Podcasts create these communities of people, these little tribes. And there are so many for Black women right now: crime, health and fitness, entertainment. ”

Representation matters 

Seventy-one percent of monthly Black podcast listeners tuned into a podcast with a Black host in the last month, according to the survey, indicating that Black audiences prefer to listen to shows from creators within their community. 

In fact, 47% of participants said they prefer to listen to podcasts with hosts who are Black or people of color. Sixty-one percent of Black listeners also believe it’s important for their podcasts to include Black stories and perspectives.

When it comes to content, 63% of listeners prefer podcasts to include unfiltered conversations that can’t be heard anywhere else. And 51% enjoy listening to podcasts about people of color, because they have access to those unfiltered voices.

Black listeners want brands to connect with them on podcasts

Brands can build trust with Black consumers by supporting these Black creators. 

Eighty-one percent of monthly Black listeners said they would be very or somewhat likely to trust a brand whose advertisement was featured on a podcast with Black hosts. 

That trust translates to empowering people to purchase. Eighty-two percent of Black monthly listeners say they would be very or somewhat likely to purchase a brand if they heard an ad for it on a podcast with Black hosts.

“Advertisers need to understand that podcasting is really allowing for meaningful conversations to happen and this trust to be built between the audience,” said Serrano. “They have an opportunity to capitalize on that and really connect with their customer in a meaningful way.” 

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