Listeners in Asia focus more on podcasts than any other medium, study shows

Acast’s latest report highlights growth and engagement across the region

Listeners across Singapore, the Philippines and Indonesia are tuning into podcasts with more intent and focus than any other medium, according to Acast’s Sound Smart Asia 2023 report. 

The report analyses the podcast consumption habits of listeners across the region, based on an online quantitative survey conducted with 600 people aged 18+ who have listened to a podcast in the last month. 

Survey respondents said that they were 72% focused when listening to a podcast, which is 4% more focused than they would be when streaming TV or tuning into any other medium, including social media (64%), streaming music (56%), and cable TV (56%). Additionally, the majority of respondents said that they consider podcasts a more valuable use of their time than the other listed mediums. 

“What every podcast listener has always known to be true is now unequivocal – podcasts are an effective, integral part of the media funnel,” said Acast key account director Timi Siytangco. “Their impact on consumers is unparalleled, presenting a game-changing opportunity for brands.”

In 2022, Acast’s Sound Smart Asia report already showed that there was potential for growth with podcasts in the region, as listening continued to increase with 81% of survey respondents stating that they now either listen daily or weekly. Now, the medium is considered to be more established in the region, with over 90% of respondents considering podcasts a part of their daily routine. 

In Singapore, audiences also showed that they are highly engaged, with the number of daily and weekly listeners increasing by 53%, with the majority listening to 3-5 podcasts per week. This is 22% more than the number of weekly listeners in the US, according to the latest Nielsen Podcasting Today report. 

Brands and advertisers can tap into highly engaged audiences across Southeast Asia by taking advantage of the relationship between listeners and hosts, with podcasters acting as influencers that can drive brand awareness and engagement. According to Acast’s report, this proved to be effective as over 60% of respondents said that they trust hosts to endorse a brand and 21% said they discovered a new brand through a podcast. 

Podcast influencers can also promote brands outside their main shows through other channels such as social media, live shows, and YouTube. Sounds Profitable and Signal Hill Insights’ Podcast Landscape report last month showed that the relationship between host and listener remains a strong bond, with word of mouth still the most effective channel for promoting podcasts - and advertisers can leverage this bond across multiple touchpoints.

“To truly resonate with their audiences, brands must adopt a smart, tech-savvy approach to podcast advertising,” said Siytangco. “Podcasts are a rare combination of measurable long-form storytelling. This opens up a unique opportunity for brands to use podcasts as a gateway to niche, engaged communities.”

More than 90% of listeners in Singapore have reportedly taken an action after listening to a podcast ad, which can include looking at the brand’s website and social media, telling friends and family about the brand, and even making a purchase or discovering a new brand. 

Creating effective podcast advertising campaigns that are built on trust and connection can lead to great engagement from listeners, according to Acast’s report, which highlights case studies where host-reads on Ted Talks Daily led to a 246% increase in brand recall, and a branded episode of The Guilty Feminist led to a 445% increase in brand awareness for PayPal. Programmatic ads can also still be an effective way to reach listeners if they are highly targeted, as seen with Glenfiddich, which saw a 139% increase in brand favorability. 

“Trust is crucial for any successful advertising campaign,” said Acast International managing director Megan Davies. “It hinges on consumers' belief in the brand, the product, and the advertising.”

“Having partnered with leading brands like UOB, Glenfiddich, Chanel, and Adyen, we eagerly anticipate witnessing more brands embracing the transformative potential of podcast advertising in Southeast Asia.”

Acast has recently expanded its presence in Southeast Asia through a number of podcast partners added to its creator network, including major publications outside of Asia that have amassed millions of listeners per month, like The New York Times and BBC News, as well as local partners which include podcast networks like the Philippines’ award-winning PumaPodcast and Podcast Network Asia.