Team discussing podcast strategies using Sounds Profitable research

The JAR Audio Podcast Landscape Safari ft. Sounds Profitable Podcast Research


How Sounds Profitable Podcast Research Can Enhance Your Branded Podcast Marketing

Our friends over at Sounds Profitable recently conducted some incredibly valuable research into the current climate of podcasting in the United States, aptly dubbed, “The Podcast Landscape.” While the study focuses on the general podcast listener, who is slightly different from that B2B audience (and therefore reached with different marketing strategies!), there are still a ton of super valuable tidbits that can be drawn from these exceptional findings. That’s why we’re here — We want to give you savvy marketers the branded podcast twist you need to know from these general listener findings.

Get the binoculars and look out those safari bus windows, we’re getting into the Podcast Landscape of 2023 with your tour guide, JAR Audio! 

P.S. If you didn’t know, we’re huge fans of Sounds Profitable. In fact, we are a Sounds Profitable sponsor. This is neither the first nor the last time we will be promoting, learning from, and sharing their excellent research into the podcasting/podcast ad buying/podcast ad tech field and industry, so buckle on in!

Good News First

Let’s start this landscape safari off on the best note possible: In general, Americans feel pretty darn good not just about podcasts, but also about podcasters. This is great news for branded podcasts because if your brand is the podcaster, then that positive sentiment translates. Here are a few other highlights from the report: 

  • Word of mouth is currently the top resource for discovering your podcast
  • Podcasts have the power to leverage listener passion for a brand
  • There’s a new audience group called “The Persuadables” and they are READY to listen to what you have to say
  • People want scree-free entertainment and companionship (helloooo, podcasts!)

The Challenges

We won’t call challenges bad news like a flat tire on the tour bus would be. We LOVE a good challenge here at JAR Audio, and challenges can be really great in marketing! They reveal areas to focus your efforts on, letting you watch your branded podcast grow into even more of a raging success. Here are the key focus areas for marketers to pay attention to in the current podcast landscape: 

  • Loyalty isn’t free. Your audience drops off when your quality does. 
  • Churn occurs mostly because of time constraints (real or perceived).
  • Marketers need to make “word of mouth” strategic, not just organic. 

We’ll get into how you as a marketer can capitalize on these challenges to elevate your brand with the power of a branded podcast. First, we want to dive into the research itself and send some numbers your way that will leave you giddy. 

The Perception Of Podcasts

When you gaze out the window into the wide world, everyone sees and thinks differently about what’s out there. When it comes to podcasts, however, most people seem to think quite similarly. For one, about three-quarters of those in the survey have listened to at least one podcast in their lifetime, and the vast majority of those people felt really, really positively about that experience. 



The top sentiments were that podcasts are entertaining, interesting, informative, and educational. If your brand has the goal to be any of those things, that makes podcasting a really great medium for your values to shine through. 


AH! A wild podcaster has been spotted! Let’s take a closer look at this exceedingly more common, but still majestic creature. 

While there are some stereotypes of podcasters being that guy who loves his own voice and will chat your ear off about all his “deep insights” about the state of the world, Americans don’t actually see podcasters that way (anymore). About 20% of folks even want to give podcasting a shot (good news if you’re in the market for a host or guest!). At JAR Audio, we were especially relieved to see words like respectable, skilled, valued, and professional as the top-ranking associations with “podcasting as a job.” Take that, Mom!

Using These Numbers As A Marketer

For brands looking to become respected thought leaders in their industries, the notion and association of professional, valuable, and skilled are crucial. These things will quickly become associated with your brand when you put out an excellent podcast to the right audience. 

Marketers can also benefit from the positive reception of podcasts — You can capitalize on a large audience that is ready to listen, learn, and enjoy the message you’re putting out for your brand, rather than shoving it down their throats with a catchy jingle as per more traditional marketing tactics (although your podcast music selection is still critical).  

The positive association with podcasting will also do wonders for your brand when it comes time to find willing hosts, guests and experts to come on your show, further expanding your audience and legitimizing your expertise. 

Why Podcasts? 

Every landscape has its own set of creatures that just kind of make sense in the environment. Like giraffes in Africa. They can get those tall branches that no one else can and their legs and size ensure they can cover lots of ground quickly while in search of said left-alone branches. 

Sounds Profitable - why do podcasts work in current environment

So, why do podcasts work in our current listener landscape? 

We live in a busy world that wants — nay, DEMANDS — hands-free entertainment. We want to be kept company while we do the boring tasks life requires like folding laundry, commuting, or doing the dishes. We want convenience. We want choices. We want to feel like we’re elevating our brains and our lives. We want to combat loneliness with the warm caress of a voice in our ears – And we want it now!

How To Use These Numbers

All of these can be chalked up to two key features: companionship and occupying the mind while the body is busy. With some quick math, those two things further add up to one thing: Podcasts. In order to capitalize on the current me-conomy of the world and that desire for companionship and multitasking, nothing really gets the job done quite like a podcast.

Now, if people are spending so much time listening to podcasts, why not have your brand associated with it? The current listener landscape currently provides:

  1. a) A willing audience, and,
  2. b) Positive associations with your chosen medium. 


Getting An In

Just like landing a seat on this JAR Audio Podcast Landscape Safari, getting your branded podcast to VIP, award-winning status can feel pretty exclusive. It’s no secret that the podcast world is flooded with new shows every day. So, how do you get an “in” with your audience of choice? With:

Personal Recommendations

Over half of podcast listeners are likely to make a recommendation to their friends. Of those recommendations, the folks who won’t listen to a recommendation are the ones who don’t listen to podcasts in the first place. Of those who have or do listen to podcasts, the other main place for new show recommendations is YouTube. 

Sounds Profitable - capitalizing

Capitalizing On Word-of-mouth Marketing

Just because word of mouth is the most effective way to gain new listeners and much of it is organic doesn’t mean a marketer should rely solely on that. Sounds Profitable revealed when listeners discover podcasts on social media, 25% of it comes from paid ads. 

Further, when you look at our previous blog post based on the 2022 Women’s Podcast Report, we noted that a lot of women follow podcasts and podcast hosts on their social media and are likely to share shows that way, too. Marketers need to be intentional with word-of-mouth marketing and put their shows in front of the right audience (through social media) with paid ads and ambassadors on social media and YouTube to unleash its full power. 

Content Is King

Imagine going on a safari or a tour and seeing or learning absolutely nothing before being dropped off at a dead end. Would you go back? No! 

Podcasts are the same.

Audiences tend to listen to the same titles they love and don’t chance it on something new until that series comes to an end or the quality does. Over three-quarters of listeners are listening to a series that drops a new episode on a regular basis. If they love the show, they’ll be just as likely to listen to it whether it’s created by a beloved celebrity or a brand.

Why Brands Should Care About Content

As a marketer, you’re looking at delivering consistently good podcasts in exchange for loyalty — and every business wants and needs brand loyalty. Almost one-third of listeners will view your brand more favourably if you can pull it off. 

Sounds Profitable - imagine

The other reasons to care about content and quality we’ve talked about in endless other blog posts. They are:

  • Thought leadership
  • Building an emotional connection 
  • Resonating with your audience
  • Building community 
  • Establishing brand values 
  • Adding value to listeners’ lives

But do it right and the audience will reward you as a loyal listener.

Sounds Profitable - podcasts and brand

In fact, in the research, Sounds Profitable found that the percentage of Americans 18+ who would be interested in a show about a favorite brand or product is almost as high as the percentage who are interested in a podcast from a favorite celebrity. This goes to show that if a brand can produce a great podcast, they can have a lot of success, and build an audience.

How Churn Becomes An Opportunity

Just like how a safari bus profits by filling empty seats or a restaurant wants to “flip tables” as fast as possible, a podcast can also earn from churn. 

New Listeners

Relative to audience growth, the percentage of new listeners is high, indicating that there could be some listener churn out there. New listeners also provide an opportunity for a brand to capture the interest of someone who is looking for their perfect show (maybe through a recommendation or targeted ad?).

Reasons For Churn

An intelligent marketer looks for why listenership is dropping off. After all, churn provides a window of opportunity for your podcast to capture the interest of those who got off one safari bus and are looking for another. So, where do podcasts lose their listeners? 

Sounds Profitable - reason for churn

Most listeners said perceived time constraints were a big reason. At the same time, however, podcasts are built for those of us who have time constraints! The other main reason for a listener to stop is a decline in quality. This means quality content more so than audio quality (although that can play a huge role in keeping new listeners too).

Learn From Churn

From this research, there are two ways branded podcast marketers can use churn as a window of opportunity to bolster their audience:

1. Find Time

If you want an example, check out our podcast How To Get Ahead In Podcasting, which features exceptional branded podcasting lessons for marketers in 10 minutes or less. By the time you’ve left your desk, gone to the communal kitchen, filled up a coffee cup, added your desired sugar and milk ratio, and made your way back, you’ll have learned something about how to market your podcast. Try and tell us you don’t have time for that.

Of listeners who dropped off in their listening habits for whatever reason, nearly 50% of them said they’d be back. Your goal as a branded podcast and marketer is to be there to pick them up when they do. 

2. Keep Quality Up

Make sure your audience doesn’t get bored! Ensure quality content at all times — even if you’re into season 53 of your bi-weekly branded podcast. Again, loyalty is massive for any business and comes at a cost. Just because your listeners have been a fan of your show for 53 seasons doesn’t mean they’ll come back for season 54 if you’ve let things go downhill. 

Look for dips in audience growth and episode consumption, and address the “why” for them ASAP! 

Who Are The Persuadables? 

Of the non-listeners out there in the world (those poor souls!), a percentage of them will never, ever get on board with podcasting and podcasts. The rest (34% as Sounds Profitable revealed) are open to giving it a shot — they just need the right reason to say, “Yes!”. 


That 34% is predominantly older females who think they don’t have time to listen and/or can’t find a show that interests them, but who seek a way to boost their knowledge base while doing something else. 

If your brand is considering creating a podcast and wants to bring in a brand new audience, consider these parameters when creating your ideal audience (and check out our blog post on the female audience demographic for help!).

5 Key Takeaways from the Sounds Profitable Research

  1. Podcast Popularity and Perception: According to Sounds Profitable research, podcasts enjoy a positive reception among Americans, with most listeners holding favorable views towards podcasts and podcasters. This is encouraging news for brands considering podcasts as a marketing channel.
  2. Word of Mouth Effectiveness: The research highlights that word of mouth remains a powerful tool for podcast discovery. Brands should leverage strategic marketing to enhance organic reach and listener recommendations.
  3. Addressing Audience Churn: Listener churn, primarily due to perceived time constraints or declining content quality, presents both a challenge and an opportunity. Brands need to maintain high-quality content consistently to keep their audience engaged.
  4. The Power of Targeted Content: There’s a segment of potential listeners known as “The Persuadables,” who are open to podcasting but haven’t yet found content that captivates them. Tailored content could convert these individuals into regular listeners.
  5. Leveraging Research for Strategic Planning: Utilizing insights from Sounds Profitable research can help brands better understand the podcast landscape, allowing them to make informed decisions that align with their audience’s preferences and behaviors.

By: Roger Nairn and Laurissa Cebryk

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