This year’s Digital Audio Benchmark and Trend Study unveils key new insights about the rapidly growing Digital Audio market, and further illustrates the increasing effectiveness of the platform for brand advertisers to reach and engage audiences. Key findings include the growing role of connected mobile devices in facilitating listening, the increase in social interactions while listening, and gains in advertising recall and response rates among Digital Audio consumers.
Digital Audio Use: A Firmly Established Medium with a Valuable Audience
Internet Radio listenership has reached 42 percent of adult US broadband households, an increase of 8 percent versus 2011, and this audience is highly desirable. Half are married, 42 percent are households with children and 64 percent own their own homes. The Internet Radio listening audience’s purchasing power is also on the rise, with 22 percent having a household income of $100K+, a 29 percent increase since last year.
Digital Audio listeners are also highly engaged: 80 percent listen 1-3 hours per day and 40 percent listen 1-2 hours per session. Additionally, most listeners change stations multiple times a day to remain connected to their content. This year’s data reveals not only that 75% of listeners change stations on the same Internet Radio service at least once a day, but also that nearly two thirds of listeners change to different Internet Radio websites at least once a day.
“The Interactive Advertising Bureau is excited about TargetSpot’s Digital Audio Benchmark and Trend Study as it provides extremely valuable insight into consumers’ interaction with a medium that is growing at an explosive rate and one which is increasingly important to marketers,” said Michael Theodore, Vice President of the Interactive Advertising Bureau. “These listeners are highly engaged, increasingly social, connected at home, at the gym, in car, and they respond to advertising.”
Connected Devices Drive Increased Listening
Connected devices such as tablets and smartphones are facilitating access to content and leading to increased listening. TargetSpot’s research shows an 87 percent year over year increase in tablet ownership and a 22 percent jump in ownership of smartphones among Internet Radio listeners. Conversely, computer ownership remained flat and basic mobile phone ownership declined. Consumers also showed that they are device agnostic, wanting access to their Digital Audio content via the most convenient delivery option. As a result they are spending more time listening across multiple devices. Compared to last year, 48 percent of Digital Audio listeners spend more time listening on their tablets, 44 percent spend more time listening on computers and 38 percent spend more time listening on mobile phones.
The research further shows the use of new devices such as connected TVs and in-car Internet Radio players is on the rise and that these are important market segments to watch moving forward. More than one-third of Internet Radio listeners regularly tune in to Digital Audio on a connected TV device and 14 percent listen on an in-car Internet Radio player.
Of those that have in-car Internet Radio access, more than half (54 percent) use an Internet Radio player that is built in to the car’s audio system and one-third use a portable Internet Radio player with apps built into the device. Additionally, 15 percent manually connect a smartphone or tablet into the car’s device outlet.
Internet Radio Listening is Increasingly Social
Internet Radio listeners are more socially engaged with Digital Audio than they were a year ago. The study finds Internet Radio listeners continue to listen to the medium while emailing, conducting online searches and shopping. And, new consumer insight uncovers notable growth of social media activities performed in tandem with Internet Radio use, with 60 percent of Digital Audio listeners actually visiting a social networking site while listening. Additionally 39% chat with friends while listening to Internet Radio, 37% recommend or share Internet Radio stations or websites, 35% link Internet Radio profile to a social network and 32% like to see songs and websites others are listening to on social network sites.
Internet Radio Advertising Drives Recall and Response
Increased access to content and user engagement has led to increases in both ad recall and response. 58 percent of listeners recalled having seen or heard an Internet Radio ad within the last 30 days compared to 52 percent in 2011, an 11 percent increase. Of those listeners, 44 percent responded to an Internet Radio ad in some way, compared to 40 percent in 2011, a 10 percent increase.
While more people are listening to Digital Audio than ever before, they are not paying for this content. The study found 86% of Internet Radio listeners do not pay a fee for access to premium Digital Audio content, in essence opting in to receive ads on free ad-supported Digital Audio services.