The pandemic kicked podcast usage right into the mainstream with roughly a third of people now listening regularly in major markets from the USA, to Australia, the UK and here in Ireland. But why?

A survey of 2,500 people in the UK by Magna Global shows many respondents use digital audio as a tool to combat screen fatigue. Two-thirds of those surveyed said they experienced screen fatigue during the pandemic and 29% cited this as the reason they are listening more.

The survey conducted for Spotify had an overwhelming 93% of respondents saying the role of podcasts and streaming music was altered during the past year. Four in ten said they are putting on their headphones or listening on smart speakers to de-stress. Millennials are most likely to be listening to more podcasts during the pandemic with 30% saying they have upped their podcast consumption.

The study also found that content binging is more common with podcasts, with 46% of people binge-listening to podcasts compared to 37% of people binge-watching TV shows.

Of most interest, brand messages work much better with podcast listeners. Two-thirds (67%) said they are attentive to podcast ads compared to 46% who reported paying attention to TV ads. About half (43%) of podcast listeners feel a strong passion for the host of their favourite podcast compared to the passion for TV show actors (34%). Podcasts are sticky!

Jon Gibs, Global Director and Principal Data Scientist at Spotify said the fact podcast audiences are more open to the ads in podcasts, than other mediums like television, an amazing opportunity to connect with new consumers or deepen their relationships with existing audiences.

Download the full Magna Global-Spotify study here.