New Study Reveals “Audio Trust Halo,” Deep Consumer Connection To Radio And Podcast Influencers

“Exploring The Brand Benefits of Trust and Companionship in Audio” study findings underscore rich opportunity for advertisers in audio environments 

NEW YORK – April 11, 2022 –iHeartMedia [NASDAQ: IHRT], the #1 audio company in the United States, and PMX, the investment arm of Publicis Media, unveiled today the results of a study focused on the rapidly growing community of audio influencers. The study, “Exploring The Brand Benefits of Trust and Companionship in Audio” found that consumers perceive radio and podcast personalities as highly relatable, trustworthy and authentic. These findings present rich opportunity for advertisers to build brand affinity and favorability, and drive purchase in audio environments. 

The new study, conducted by Magid, combines quantitative and qualitative methods to highlight the role that different audio channels play in the lives of audiences when it comes to trust and companionship. According to the research, radio hosts rank high when it comes to their perceived authenticity and connections to the communities they serve. Podcast hosts are perceived as highly honest and trustworthy. 

“With the resiliency of radio and recent explosion of the podcasting space, audio influencers have emerged as a new avenue for advertisers to continue to connect with audiences in authentic ways.” said Chris Yarusso, National Audio Practice Lead, PMX. “Our research confirms that radio and podcast hosts are perceived as some of the most trustworthy, essential, and relatable personalities in the media ecosystem.  With the diversity and variety of radio and podcast content in the marketplace, there is an enormous strategic opportunity for brands to connect with highly engaged consumers across this evolving influencer marketplace.”

The study proves promising for advertisers. Fifty-five percent of participants said they listen to commercials more often on radio and in podcasts than through any other medium. In addition, 53 percent found radio and podcast advertisements to be more relevant than on any other medium and 51 percent said they are more trusting of radio and podcast advertisers than on any other medium. When comparing radio versus streaming music services in nine consumer categories including restaurants, retail, automobiles and more, consumers who purchased a product were more likely to buy from an audio advertisement in every single category. 

“This research highlights what we call the ‘trust halo,’ the unique relationship and trust that audio listeners form with their favorite hosts, personalities and programs,” said Gayle Troberman, CMO of iHeartMedia. “Marketers benefit from this trust halo, as this connection extends into advertising, product recommendations, and the radio and podcast communities at large. Listeners feel an unmatched sense of companionship and learn more about the world and about themselves.”

Other key data takeaways from the study include:

·      Radio listeners are 129 percent more likely than listeners of other audio platforms to say they listen “to be entertained;” 

·      Podcast listeners are 158 percent more likely than listeners of other audio platforms to say they listen “to immerse myself;” 

·      Radio hosts are seen as some of the most relatable and trusted influencers, when compared to other vertical such as TV and social  

·      67 percent of podcast listeners and 74 percent of heavy podcast listeners (defined as the top 25 percent of hours listened per week) say that podcasts “motivate and inspire me;”

·      71 percent of podcast listeners and 79 percent of heavy podcast listeners say that podcasts “educate/teach me something new;”

The research also included a study in which audio listeners were asked to give up radio and podcasts for three days. Participants reported feeling “lonely,” “disconnected,” and “more overwhelmed doing simple tasks.” One radio listener said it “felt like I was being excluded from a conversation.” 

"Radio personalities are the original influencers. We found they've retained that status over time and are now joined by podcast hosts as major influencers in media today. And the data suggests that benefits advertisers in terms of the impact of their campaigns," said Mike Bloxham, Executive Vice President, Global Media and Entertainment, Magid.


About iHeartMedia, Inc.

iHeartMedia (NASDAQ: IHRT) is the number one audio company in the United States, reaching nine out of 10 Americans every month. It consists of three business groups.

With its quarter of a billion monthly listeners, the iHeartMedia Multiplatform Group has a greater reach than any other media company in the U.S. Its leadership position in audio extends across multiple platforms, including more than 860 live broadcast stations in over 160 markets nationwide; its National Sales organization; and the company’s live and virtual events business. It also includes Premiere Networks, the industry’s largest Networks business, with its Total Traffic and Weather Network (TTWN); and BIN: Black Information Network, the first and only 24/7 national and local all news audio service for the Black community. iHeartMedia also leads the audio industry in analytics, targeting and attribution for its marketing partners with its SmartAudio suite of data targeting and attribution products using data from its massive consumer base.

The iHeartMedia Digital Audio Group includes the company’s fast-growing podcasting business -- iHeartMedia is the number one podcast publisher in downloads, unique listeners, revenue and earnings -- as well as its industry-leading iHeartRadio digital service, available across more than 250 platforms and 2,000 devices; the company’s digital sites, newsletters, digital services and programs; its digital advertising technology companies; and its audio industry-leading social media footprint.

The company’s Audio & Media Services reportable segment includes Katz Media Group, the nation’s largest media representation company, and RCS, the world's leading provider of broadcast and webcast software.

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