Podcasts help people form connections and understand other cultures, according to new report

However, more than half of listeners do not enjoy debating podcast contents

In addition to listening for enjoyment, people use podcasts to socialise with others, form connections, and understand other cultures, according to new research published by Spotify based on Mindshare’s Precisely Human Intelligence methodology.

“In a world immersed with visual stimulus and screens, sound is a crucial element for content and entertainment experiences and a way for advertisers to engage with consumers’ identities with empathy and precision in the audio streaming space,” said Rita Ibarra, business director of data strategy and insights at Mindshare, the WPP-owned media agency.. 

The company ran a study of just over 1,000 users of its free ad-supported tier in the UK, US, Canada and Australia, to determine their relationships between audio streaming and identity, and found six key mindsets that inform user behaviour. 

It found that while on average 58% said podcasts said a lot about who they were - rising to 63% in the US - almost half thought that people would be surprised to know what podcasts they listened to. 

55% also said that they share podcasts as a way to start conversations and socialise with other people. More than two-thirds of respondents reported that they listen to podcasts to get different points of view on a specific topic (with the US once again leading with 73%) and 61% of global respondents use podcasts to develop a greater understanding of different cultures.

However, around 60% of respondents said that they do not enjoy debating the topics or contents of podcasts.

“We know that streaming platforms like Spotify have changed the way people engage with their passions and interests,” said Roger Purcell, associate director of insights and activation at Spotify. “From self-expression to discovery, we believe these six key identities will help advertisers better understand and reach streaming audio listeners, especially on Spotify.”