More Listeners Streaming Audio During the Workday Means More Opportunities to Reach Them

More Listeners Streaming Audio During the Workday Means More Opportunities to Reach Them

March 26, 2021 News 0
woman listening to music with headphones while on laptop

Originally posted on Ad Week by Melissa Paris, Senior Director of Sales Research

Everything about our daily lives has been disrupted over the past year, and our workday is no exception. Music and other forms of audio content have powered workers’ days from the dawn of radio, with 70% of Americans listening to some form of audio while working. And this past year has shown that audio is more important than ever at keeping us productive.

What we listen to, where we listen, how we listen, and perhaps most importantly, why we listen, can vary by any confluence of factors—from demographics to life stage to geographic location and everything in between. 

Pandora recently partnered with Mindshare and Edison Research to dive into how American workdays have shifted over time and the role audio plays, comparing Edison Research’s prior at-work listening studies from 1997 and 2013 to findings gathered during the pandemic.

Companion for Gen Z workers

While Gen Z is less likely to be working from home currently, they are 25% more likely to be working outside of their normal working hours and are dealing with their own adjustments amid the pandemic. With music being a huge passion point for this audience, it’s no surprise that 87% of Gen Z workers listen to audio during their workdays, and over two-thirds are listening to streaming audio. During Covid-19, over four in 10 Gen Z listeners are spending more time with streaming audio and podcasts while working.

While working, their top music genres are rap/hip hop, pop and R&B. And their top podcast genres are music, comedy and true crime. Gen Z workers turn to audio while working primarily to relax, make the day go faster and for a mental break. More than two-thirds of Gen Z respondents also say audio helps fill the silence. No surprise, as many in this demographic are living alone, working from home and feeling isolated.

“The pandemic has hit Gen Z hard; research has shown that they’ve been consistently feeling more anxious and overwhelmed than other generations,” says Alexis Fragale, director, customer strategy, Mindshare. “That extends to their outlook on work and careers, as Gen Z is feeling overworked in their jobs and their daily lives. Audio, whether through streaming or podcasting, has been a balm to them and something they’ve turned to for help getting them through this challenging period.”

Mood-booster for Black and Hispanic workers

Like Gen Z, Black and Hispanic Americans are more likely to have had their normal workday disrupted this past year. They also over-index for turning to audio during their workday: 76% of Black workers and 82% of Hispanic workers listen while working. While a majority of all workers say that listening to audio during the workday makes them more productive, Black and Hispanic workers are more inclined to agree.

Along with helping them work more effectively, audio is a source of relaxation, stress relief and a mood booster while working. Hispanic workers are turning to pop, rap/hip hop, and Latin music. And for podcasts, comedy, entertainment/celebrity and music genres power their workdays. Black workers are mainly tuned to R&B or rap/hip hop, and over-index for jazz listening; music, sports and food are their preferred workday podcasts.

“Brands and marketers have an opportunity here to create content that’s complementary to people’s day-to-day lives.”

Alexis Fragale, Mindshare

Productivity catalyst for working parents

A majority of parents with children under the age of 18 are currently working from home, and they’re 25% more likely to be doing so compared to all working Americans. Seven in 10 working parents have children doing some form of virtual learning from home this year. Unsurprisingly, most find this juggling act of work and their children’s education difficult to maintain. While it’s not a cure-all for their challenges, audio can certainly help working parents power through, with 80% listening during their workday.

Over 75% of working parents also say that audio helps fill silence, or perhaps overpower the constant deluge of other sounds. And this group is more likely to agree that audio makes them more productive while working. Parents’ top workday music genres are pop and classic rock, and they over-index for rock and country. Their workday podcast tastes are more likely to lean toward technology and news/information compared to other workers.

Powerful tool for marketers

While situations and daily routines all look a bit different in this whirlwind year, audio habits are distinct. Whatever we listen to, we each have our own personal soundtrack that’s helping us get through. “As people began to work from home during the pandemic, marketers wondered what that might do to media consumption in general, but in particular what would happen to audio as it was so often a medium leveraged in people’s commutes,” says Fragale. “But ultimately, what this work highlights is that streaming audio offers a compelling and proven way to engage with listeners.”

Half of those who listen to streaming audio while working do so through an ad-supported audio service, indicating there is significant opportunity for brands to reach and resonate with listeners during the workday. The study reported that many workers feel they’re even more receptive to ads while working, and nearly half of all those who heard ads report they have taken action.

Previous research conducted by Mindshare’s NeuroLab also found streaming audio ads to be a compelling way to connect with listeners on a more intimate basis while they’re working. “Brands and marketers have an opportunity here to create content that’s complementary to people’s day-to-day lives; to connect to those moments and moods, and deliver more contextualized messages,” explains Fragale.

For marketers, streaming audio ads offer a way for their brands to connect with listeners on a personal basis and resonate while they’re in the right mindset, attentive and primed for your message.


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