Brand mentions in a podcast deliver higher engagement and achieve cut-through even with ad avoiders, according to new research from the BBC and Neuro-Insight.

The Audio: Activated report, commissioned by BBC StoryWorks, BBC Global News’s branded content division, was based on 1,844 consumer surveys, 27 deep dive video diaries, and 14 in-depth video interviews with experts as well as neuro-research with regular podcast listeners who were also ad avoiders in four markets: New York, Melbourne, Munich and Singapore.

Among the key findings:

Branding stands out from the content

Brand mentions in the podcast deliver on average 16% higher engagement and 12% higher memory encoding than the surrounding content (in contrast, global radio benchmarks show brand mentions on average score 5% lower than content).

An elevated state of engagement for brand mentions also drives brand metrics across the board: awareness (+89% uplift), brand consideration (+57%), brand favourability (+24%), and purchase intent (+14%).

There’s unique cut-through with ad avoiders

The study’s sample was comprised of ad avoiders, but their engagement, emotional intensity and memory encoding around brand mentions beat TV benchmarks by at least 22%, showing that branded podcasts are an effective way to engage this hard to reach but commercially-desirable group.

Podcast listeners are active

Almost all (94%) listeners consume podcasts while performing other tasks; doing chores at home (61%) and driving (55%) were the most common, with exercising, shopping and running errands also popular.

Activity makes listeners more receptive

Rather than reducing the brand impact, the active group scored more highly on all measures: engagement (+18%), emotional intensity (+40%) and long term memory of the podcast (+22%).

Keeping the brain occupied with an activity enhances the ability for brands’ messages to achieve cut-through. Podcast content is also being taken in through ‘low-involvement processing’ – a much more ‘fuel-efficient’ process that has a lower cognitive load – meaning that engagement with the content can last much longer.

Podcasts provide extra time for brands

Since podcasts are usually consumed whilst multitasking, brands are now able to reach people in what were previously thought to be unreachable moments. 

Branded podcasts drive positive associations

Listeners create subconscious associations with the brand, based on words they hear in the podcast. In the sample, the word “innovative” was mentioned 12 times during the podcast; listeners were later more likely to call the sponsor “innovative”, showing that they instinctively associate the brand with the message.

Sourced from BBC