Podcast listeners want ads created specifically for podcasts, and form weaker connections with brands that repurpose radio ads to the medium

Podcast listeners want ads created specifically for podcasts, and form weaker connections with brands that repurpose radio ads to the medium

Acast reveals findings of a new global research study comparing listener attitudes towards podcast and radio ads


Acast, the world’s largest independent podcast company, has unveiled new proprietary podcast listener research suggesting that advertisers should use dedicated ads within podcasts — rather than simply reusing their radio creative. 

Acast conducted this study because many brands still do not adapt their audio specially to the podcast environment. According to the results, regular podcast ads and 3D podcast ads both performed better than traditional radio ads that had been reused on the medium, supporting the notion that ads tailored to the podcast environment create a more immersive experience for listeners to connect with brands. 

The study of 1,800 podcast listeners across Acast’s established markets of the US, UK, and Sweden investigated the impact of different types of podcast ads on overall campaign performance. Listeners were exposed to a podcast ad, a 3D podcast ad, or a traditional radio ad, all for the same brand, in a natural podcast setting. 3D podcast ads differ from traditional podcast ads by using spatial audio effects to add dimension to the sound, creating a fully immersive listening experience.

When considering ad likability, 60% of listeners said they liked the 3D podcast ad and 51% the regular podcast ad, compared to just 47% who liked the radio ad — a 28% shift in respondents liking the 3D podcast ad relative to the radio ad. Additionally, message clarity relative to a radio ad was twice as strong for the 3D podcast ad compared to that of a regular podcast ad. 

Regular podcast ads, however, were more effective than 3D podcast ads in influencing consumers’ first choice of brand when making a purchase — and both outperformed traditional radio in this category. In the research, 65% of listeners picked the brand that used a regular podcast ad format as their first choice of brand over competitors, and 60% for the brand that used the 3D podcast ad — compared to the 56% who chose the traditional radio ad.

“This research overwhelmingly shows that listeners are craving a more creative and tailored experience from the brands that feature on their favorite podcasts,” said Jack Preston, Director of Acast Creative, UK and US. “As podcast advertising has evolved from host reads to sponsored stories to branded episodes and series, it’s now time for advertisers to embrace the creative opportunities in the medium by proactively and deliberately designing ads to suit the podcast format.”

Acast Creative is a pillar of the Acast Marketplace, helping brands navigate the rapidly evolving podcast landscape and elevate commercial messaging to its greatest potential. First launched in Acast’s European market in 2018 — where it oversaw a 250% increase in branded content spend over three years — this arm of the business expanded into the US in July 2021. The Acast Creative team works in tandem with sellers and production partners to offer new creative solutions that help to tell brilliant brand stories through both short- and long-form content. 

Preston, along with others from the global Acast team, will present this research and key case studies from Acast Creative at the inaugural Sounds Creative virtual event on April 7. Those interested in attending the event can RSVP to the EMEA event here and the US event here. To access the full research report, please contact

Research Methodology

The study was performed across three markets (UK, US and Sweden) spanning October to December 2021, and included 1,800 total respondents. Respondents were exposed to either a 3D podcast advertisement, podcast advertisement or a traditional radio advertisement in a natural podcast setting, all for the same brand. The respondents were evenly distributed between the formats and across the three markets. In order to achieve generally applicable results, each market included brands from different sectors in the survey.

Stories you might like

See all