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Italy's Ipsos Digital Audio Survey 2020: a year of growth for podcasts

PRESS RELEASE · Milano Lombardia, Italy ·

In 2019 Ipsos launched the Ipsos Digital Audio Survey aiming to collect a bulk of information that could help the industry understand listening behaviors of all forms of digital audio, and podcasts in particular, highlighting their peculiarities compared to video and text content.

Results of the Ipsos Digital Audio Survey 2020 show that 2020 is a year of growth for podcasts, recording a 4% increase in the number of podcast listeners during the last month, from 26% to 30% of the 16-60 years old population of Italy.

Data collected in 2020 confirm that podcasts attract younger people (52% under 35), students (19%), and also people with higher education (22% graduates) and high-level professional status (10%).

The smartphone is more and more central as a listening device (78% listen to podcasts through smartphones), and, while other devices (computer, tablet, consoles, etc) have stalled, smart speakers have increased their share of listeners (15%).

Podcasts are most frequently listened to at home (80%) and while multitasking (77%), but, compared to 2019, data show an increasing share of listeners who focus on podcasts without engaging in other activities. This seems an encouraging cue about the ability of listeners to find contents that fully engage their attention, and is a much-welcomed outcome: stronger attention tends to trigger stronger receptivity to messages, both editorial and advertising.

The share of those who listen to podcasts for their whole length increases in 2020 up to 61%, becoming the largely predominant behavior among listeners. This seems to suggest that listeners are, overall, satisfied with the content offered.

“The second edition of our study confirms the picture of podcasts as a format with high potential, that has increased its users base reaching younger and more educated, as well as curious to know, targets. Its distinctive ‘pull’ nature, of content that is proactively searched by users on the basis of their specific interests gives podcast an ‘advertising value’ which is confirmed by high levels of advertising recall (69%). Podcasts seem to be in good health and users are getting, organically, more and more familiar with the behaviors that this format is able to trigger. The challenge, to keep growing, is to maintain the same capacity of attraction and clear positioning among new listeners, who may be less autonomous and proactive than the ‘core target’”, comment curators of the study Nora Schmitz, Head of Ipsos Audience Measurement, and Claudia D’Ippolito, Senior Researcher in Ipsos Media Development.

Methodology: The Digital Audio Survey 2020 was based on a sample of 2,300 individuals representing the 16-60 years old Italian population. Interviews were run through Device Agnostic CAWI with a 15 minutes questionnaire. Fieldwork took place in July 2020.

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