Heavy vs. Light Streamers, and the Future of Audience Segmentation
Does Listening Fluency in Audio Streaming Matter?
Audio is everywhere; in our pocket, on the move, even in toilets (although, we’re not all quite able to enjoy that luxury just yet). And when we look at streaming audio, it’s omnipresent, earning 64% average weekly reach among digital audio listeners, surpassing traditional AM/FM radio.
And, there are no signs of it slowing. Due to the explosive adoption of mobile, smart speakers and other connected devices, 81% of users are adding new time spent with streaming audio YoY. Among online audio listeners, streamers spend 4+ hours listening to streaming audio in a typical week, a whole additional hour above and beyond what they spend listening to AM/FM radio.
But, as with any new technology, there are different levels of adoptation. Some are tied to their devices and constantly streaming content (heavy listeners), while others casually tune in from time to time (light listeners). When it comes to these two groups, do the number of hours they spend listening (aka, audio fluency) affect how you as a brand should target them? And more importantly, does listening more make you more receptive and open to ads?
Together with Publicis Media, we partnered with Edison Research to dive into a custom audio segmentation study comparing heavy vs. light streaming audio listeners to find out.
About the Study
Edison Research conducted a National online survey of 1,000+ A18+ who listen to Streaming Audio at least once a week. Respondents answered questions and were segmented by their weekly time spent listening to Streaming Audio, with heavy listeners spending 8+ hours in a given week, and lighter listeners spending less than 8 hours.
Streaming audio is replacing audio time, supplementing digital video time
- Streaming audio is replacing traditional AM/FM time spent listening, with 46% of streaming audio listeners saying they are spending less time tuning in to traditional radio.
- Among the heaviest of streaming audio listeners, the shift to digital is even greater, with heavy listeners 11% more likely to be ditching terrestrial radio altogether for streaming audio environments.
- While time spent with streaming audio directly erodes time spent with traditional AM/FM listening, the study showed it’s not significantly reducing time spent with digital video platforms, reinforcing that streaming audio is still largely complementary and can be incremental to a brand’s digital video campaign.
Audio fluency dictates need states and occasion
- Lighter listeners use streaming audio as an AM/FM replacement, with 82% saying they use it as a way to be entertained and 64% to discover new music.
- In contrast, the heaviest listeners reported having much higher level needs, stating that streaming audio is a tool to become inspired (70%), seek companionship (54%), and offer ways to escape (82%). While the home is the #1 location for all online audio listeners, heavy listeners are more likely to use streaming audio in multiple locations, accompanying them as they move from place to place.
Mobile or stationary? Content format matters.
- 82% of audio streamers indicated that listening is enjoyed just as often as its own standalone activity, as well as enjoyed while multitasking.
- When it comes to listening to streaming audio while conducting different active vs. passive activities, format matters. The study found that music acts as a companion in everyday mobile routines, such as doing housework/chores (87%), getting ready (74%), cooking/baking (73%), and running/exercise (66%). Conversely, podcasts are listened to during more stationary moments, such as eating (62%), working (62%), or riding/driving in a car (60%).
More Listening = Higher Ad Recall
- Nearly half of streaming audio listeners say audio ads are less disruptive than other forms of advertising, and thanks to streaming audio’s ability to be highly personalized and dynamic, 43% say the audio ads are more relevant to them.
- As a result, 42% stated that audio ads are more likely to capture their attention than ads seen or heard in other places.
- Heaviest listeners who drive the majority of audio ad impressions, have greater ad receptivity with streaming audio, with them being 21% more likely to recall a brand/message and 15% more likely to discover a new brand through hearing an audio ad.
Engagement Wins All Around
- When it comes to the type of audio ads listeners prefer, both heavy and light listeners have a preference for interactive, reward-based advertising. Their reasoning? Better listening experience. 69% stated it provides a better listening experience, and 59% reported they would have a more favorable opinion of the brand as a result.
While the study didn’t uncover any major behavioral differences between heavy and light listeners, it did validate the upward climbing trend of streaming audio over traditional AM/FM radio. Which means, streaming audio is a crucial piece of your advertising strategy as it’s one of the most effective ways to reach high-quality, engaged audiences at scale.
Here are three ways streaming audio delivers:
1. Gain Incremental Reach Streaming audio is not only a viable platform for marketers looking to reach key audiences at scale, but it’s complementary role to digital video consumption presents the ideal opportunity to deliver incremental reach to key consumers when you use both channels together.
2. Build Daily Connections Spending over 4+ hours a day listening to streaming audio, audio is an effective way to reach people engaged in their daily activities. Whether multitasking, seeking a mood boost, or simply looking to be entertained, people turn to streaming audio as the perfect companion. For brands, ad-supported streaming audio opens up an entirely new set of addressable daily moments for marketers to contextually engage people where they are spending quality amounts of time.
3. Make a Lasting Impression Streaming audio advertising dominates in comparison to other types of ad formats. Listeners agree that streaming audio advertising is less disruptive and more meaningful to them, allowing brands to breakthrough and resonate. Additionally, listeners place a high value on reward-based advertising sponsorships from brands in exchange for access to unique on-demand content experiences, without having to pay—a benefit to both listener and advertiser.
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