Podcasts in Australia are Booming


Welcome to The Yard, a blog by Backyard Media that explains the podcast industry and podcast advertising.

This is the final blog in our three-part series about the state of podcasting in other anglophone countries, as compared to industry trends in the United States. Read our first piece about Canadian podcast trends here and our second piece about podcast trends in the United Kingdom here.

The last few months we've been looking at how the podcast industry has been surging in other countries. Today, we will be focusing on Australia, a country that up until now has had relatively little research conducted about podcasting and podcast audiences. We will be looking at The Infinite Dial Australia 2018, the newest study of the digital media behavior of Australian consumers from Edison Research. This follows their 2017 Infinite Dial, which was the first to be conducted in the country. For sponsors, this data is key to understanding where podcasting stands in these countries: who's listening, how they're listening, and where the opportunities lie for podcast advertising.


Podcast awareness in Australia is widespread when compared to the US

One of the main questions of the Infinite Dial survey is about respondents’ familiarity with the word “podcasting”. Familiarity is the first step toward becoming a listener - those who are more familiar are likely to become occasional listeners, and then become regular listeners. According to this year’s Infinite Dial, Australians’ familiarity with the term “podcasting” has grown from 72% to 78%. This represents twice the year-over-year increase that the US saw in 2017, and shows that podcasts are more widely known in Australia than in the US (64% of Americans were familiar with “podcasting”, as opposed to 60% the year before).

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Even with this wider awareness, Australians aren’t consuming as many podcasts as their American counterparts are. In both monthly and weekly listening (whether respondents listened to a podcast in the past month and the past week), fewer Australians reported they had consumed a podcast than Americans or Canadians.

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What’s more, the intensity of Australians’ podcast listening is lower than that of Americans. Australians had an average consumption of five podcasts per week. In the US’ Infinite Dial, this number now stands at 7 (though before the 2018 study, the US was also at 5 podcasts listened per week.) Aussies as a whole are essentially a few years Americans behind in how intense their listening is, but given that the increasing trends in familiarity and consumption are similar to what we see in the US, we can expect the next couple of years will see maturation of the Australian listening audience.

What does this mean for sponsors? Australian listening audiences are growing, but they’re a few years behind US audiences. Given that US podcasts are dominant globally, sponsors should be aware that the audiences they’re reaching may be based in other anglophone countries. As such, they should consider tailoring their campaigns to be non-US specific, especially if their products are easy to use by those abroad, like software tools.


Australians almost universally listen to podcasts on their smartphones

Australians are a smartphone-centric bunch, with 90% owning a smartphone. Even though fewer Australians listen to podcasts than Americans, a higher proportion of them listen to podcasts most often on their smartphones. The Infinite Dial Australia study found that 79% percent said they used their smartphone or portable device, compared to just 69% of Americans.

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The differences in podcast habits don’t end there, however. Australians consume much of their podcasts at home or in the car. 74% reported they’d ever listened to one while at home and 35% said they’d listened in the car. It’s difficult to compare these numbers directly with the American Infinite Dial, however, as Edison Research asked a slightly different question of in the American study (specifically, where they listened most often to podcasts):

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What does this mean for sponsors? As smartphones have become the predominant mode of listening to podcasts and the locations where audiences are listening change, it becomes even imperative that sponsors and podcasters make ads memorable. Listeteners driving while listening, for instance, will have a tough time looking a sponsor’s website right after they hear the ad. Memorability becomes incredibly important, as does ease of following ads (for instance, if they’re a direct response ad and include a promotional code).


Australians are buying more smart speakers - and Google Home dominates

We’ve discussed previously the trend of increased smart speaker ownership in the United States. The data tells us that 17% of Americans own smart speakers, and Amazon Alexa is the most popular choice.

Australia has seen a similar trend of increasing awareness and ownership of smart speakers, but that awareness isn’t evenly shared across brands. Google Home leads Amazon Alexa with a 61% awareness versus 28% among Australian respondents.

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When it comes to smart speaker ownership, 5% of Australians own them, compared to 17% of Americans and 8% of Canadians. We expect these trends will continue, with increasing smart speaker awareness and ownership. Everyone in the podcast industry is tracking this stat, because smart speakers are starting to become a popular medium for listening to podcasts.

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What does this mean for sponsors? Eventually, we could see a landscape where the smartphone is only a small majority or even half of where all podcast consumption occurs. The smarter these speakers get, the more listeners will opt for a hands-free podcast discovery experience. These changes in how audiences consume podcasts will have big implications for how creators craft their content and how advertisers formulate their ad campaigns.

To read our coverage of the American Infinite Dial 2018 survey mentioned in this post, click here.

Podcast audiences are growing around the world. Put your next ad campaign in the ears of podcast listeners by advertising on one of Backyard Media’s podcast partners. Contact us to get started today.

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