Mic, Headphones, Action: Why Your Campaign Needs Podcasts

February 2024

Intimate. Personal. Convenient. Those are just some of the qualities that continue to draw engaged listeners to podcasts. Now an established mainstream medium, 83% of people in the U.S. are familiar with the term podcasting, and in a continuation of a consistent trend, more people than ever before are now listening to podcasts, including incredible reach among young people.

Unlike the ad aversion found in some types of media, podcast listeners expect and accept brand messages as part of the listening experience. Listeners perceive podcast ads as well-targeted and relevant. That affinity is driven by their connection to the content, the intimacy of the medium, and also by the accessibility and flexibility podcasting offers advertisers via tools like effective targeting and programmatic delivery.

And how do listeners respond to podcast ads? The latest research shows that they’re taking action – all kinds of actions, at every step of the purchasing funnel. That’s consistent with what we’ve long known about the behaviors of NPR podcast listeners, and likely not a surprise for brands already investing their marketing budgets in the medium.

Here’s why it’s time to add podcasts to your next media buy.


Podcast listeners are receptive to ads.

When asked how they feel about podcast ads in a recent DISQO study, 50% of respondents say they don’t mind them and 15% say they actually prefer podcast ads. Only the remaining 35% of respondents said they dislike ads. Similar data in the latest Podcast Consumer Report from Edison Research shows that respondents found podcast ads the least intrusive when compared to ads in online audio, TV, and YouTube.

Younger podcast listeners are even more receptive. Among listeners 18-44 specifically, 48% say they don’t mind podcast ads and 19% say they like them.¹

67% of respondents 18-44 say they don't mind, or even like, podcast ads (Source: Proving the Power of Podcast Ads, DISQO, 2023)

Like consumers of any kind of media, podcast users may not be excitedly seeking out podcast advertisements, but the majority of listeners at least don’t mind them. And they’re far more likely to pay attention to the advertisements they hear in podcasts – 33% say they pay more attention to podcast ads than commercials in other sources like TV, radio, and online.¹


Podcast ads inspire listeners to action.

There’s a favorability that rubs off on brands that advertise in listeners’ favorite shows. About a third of listeners like a brand more when it’s advertised in a podcast that they like. This number rises to 45% among daily podcast listeners.¹ NPR’s own research has found that a whopping 75% of listeners think better of brands that support NPR podcasts.²

45% of daily podcast listeners like a brand more when it’s advertised by a podcast that they like (Source: Proving the Power of Podcast Ads, DISQO, 2023)

Podcast ads have an edge over ads in other media. The attention and positive impression listeners extend to podcast ads translates into action for brands. Podcast listeners say that they are more likely to consider, support, and buy from brands they hear advertised on podcasts, compared to ads on other platforms. 68% of podcast listeners are more willing to consider products and services after hearing about them in podcasts, and 43% say that podcast ads prompt purchases. They also find podcast ads more relevant than ads in social media, online video, and live or recorded TV.³


NPR podcast listeners take attention and action
to the next level.

All the advantages that podcast ads offer to brands hold true for brand messages in NPR podcasts – to a heightened degree. When it comes to attention and receptiveness, 71% of NPR podcast listeners say they pay more attention to the ads in podcasts than ads in other media, and 69% say that they trust podcast advertising more than ads in other media.⁴

Part of this trust comes from the care NPR takes to ensure brand messages fit the tone and style listeners expect from NPR. NPR podcast hosts don’t endorse brands or products, and all sponsorship messages are voiced by familiar NPR talent. In surveys performed with Veritonic, NPR listeners find NPR’s style of sponsorship messages to be more trustworthy, modern, and innovative than the average audio advertisement.

NPR listeners also report that the ads they hear in podcasts influence their purchase decisions. 73% agree podcast ads impact whether they consider buying for a brand – which is 26% higher than average. More than three-quarters of NPR podcast listeners agree they are likely to buy products and services from companies that sponsor podcasts they listen to – 21% higher than average.⁴

Among NPR podcast listeners:


agree I pay more attention to the ads in podcasts than to ads in other media (index 122)


agree I am likely to buy products and services from companies that sponsor podcasts I listen to (index 121)


agree podcast ads impact whether I consider buying from a brand (index 126)

Source: MRI-Simmons April 2023 Podcast Survey

Not only do NPR listeners feel generally favorable about brands they hear in podcasts, podcast ads are effective at driving listener action at every step of the brand relationship and moving listeners down the purchase funnel. At every step, NPR’s highly engaged podcast listeners exceed the average for taking action.

NPR podcast listeners are 62% more likely than average to purchase a product or service in response to podcast advertising (Source: MRI-Simmons April 2023 Podcast Survey)

NPR podcast listeners in response to podcast advertising:⁴

44% remember a product discussed or advertised in a podcast,
47% higher than average.
39% visited a company website for more info,
40% higher than average.
37% considered purchasing a product,
35% higher than average.
31% purchased a product or service,
62% higher than average.
30% recommended a product or service,
52% higher than average.


Proven impact for brands.

With the variety of measurement tools now available, it’s never been easier to gain insight into the impact podcast ads have on listener awareness, perceptions and intent. National Public Media offers NPR podcast sponsors a variety of measurement tools to track their campaign impact, including brand lift studies with Veritonic.

Brands that sponsor NPR podcasts see significant lift from their campaigns, consistent with all the research above about the edge podcasts have over other media when it comes to ad response, and the particularly notable impact among NPR listeners.⁵

Average percentage point lift from NPR podcast brand lift studies:

+12 ppts


+14 ppts

brand favor

+16 ppts


Looking to launch a podcast campaign?

We can help you make an impact with NPR’s audience.

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  1. Proving the Power of Podcast Ads, DISQO, 2023, via Sounds Profitable
  2. Kantar, NPR State of Sponsorship Survey, 2023
  3. The Medium Moves the Message, Sounds Profitable, March 2023
  4. MRI-Simmons April 2023 Podcast Survey
  5. Veritonic, NPR brand lift studies 2023-2024, average across 25 studies completed as of January 2024

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