A new survey conducted by Next Broadcast Media for residents of the KSA provides insights into the audio consumption habits for podcasts, digital radio, music streaming, and commercial FM radio during Ramadan.
Locally-based digital audio advertiser, Next Broadcast Media surveyed 1,316 KSA residents aged 18-65 years, between February and March 2022, and discovered significant shifts in audio consumption. The findings suggest increased consumption of podcasts and preferences for streaming during the holy month.
Podcasts see an overall 22% additional uplift in consumption during Ramadan. It’s the digital natives that are predominantly listening, with 45% of regular Gen Z and Millennials podcast listeners tuning in more or the same amount. Compared to just 25% for older generations. The survey also shows that 30% of Gen Z and millennials will listen to podcasts all day long during Ramadan, and 28% dedicate time to listening after iftar hours.
In an exclusive chat with Communicate, Lemya Soltani, Managing Director at Next Broadcast Media tells us, "Technology, the pandemic, and lifestyle shifts have all contributed towards communities in Saudi Arabia changing their behaviors and habits. Our goal with this survey was to shed light on these new preferences so brands can adapt strategies based on fact and be more effective this Ramadan."
What was the insight behind conducting this survey? Especially in the light of Ramadan?
There were two reasons to conduct this survey. For most people, day-to-day movements and habits have changed since the pandemic. Gen Z consumption is completely different from previous generations. We wanted data to highlight for businesses - because we still see offline radio being overestimated and taking a large portion of media spending, even though it doesn’t match the actual consumption anymore.
We want to help businesses create effective media plans based on real consumer data - not assumptions: and Ramadan is a period that is surrounded by assumptions. Being one of the most important sales periods for many businesses this data is very valuable.
What do the findings of this report signify and how can streaming services in the region use them to their leverage?
Our data clearly indicates that people in KSA are consuming audio content digitally. For example, we see that podcasts are big! We see an overall 22% additional uplift in consumption during Ramadan. Digital natives are the ones predominantly listening, with 45% of regular Gen Z and millennials podcast listeners tuning in more or the same amount. Compared to just 25% for older generations. Also, millennials and Gen Z, are less likely to give up streaming music than radio during Ramadan. We see a 33% decreasing their consumption of FM Radio, whereas only a 20% decrease in streaming music. We also discovered that 60% of Saudi residents are connecting to podcasts and music in their car via Bluetooth, which hugely reduces the opportunities for commercial radio to be consumed.
The data shows there is more chance for brands to meet their audience when they are most engaged with podcasts and streaming. Marketers can employ digital audio to connect with the digitally-savvy, active Muslim in innovative and meaningful ways.
The data is especially significant for local, small, and growing businesses because during Ramadan it can be hard to compete with the big names that have big budgets. Digital audio is cheaper than radio, is fast to deploy, easily optimized, trackable, and has targeting capabilities.
How do you describe the culture of audio consumption in the region and its evolution?
In both the UAE and Saudi Arabia digital audio is booming and so too is interested in this medium among leading brands for advertising and brand building. Popularity and trust are at an all-time high. We repeatedly see domestic shows that represent local culture, people, news, and language, ranking high in the charts indicating large reach among local audiences. Although English is the majority spoken podcast language globally, the growing MENA podcast scene is fuelling Arab listenership creating a seismic opportunity for brands to reach this important audience. Programmatic podcasts and streaming advertising allows genre and language targeting to reach niche audiences with ads that represent the listeners' interests and affinities.
How can marketers use audio streaming/podcasts to their benefit during Ramadan? (What kind of content will be more relevant to the region?)
With these insights, marketers should include Audio and Podcast Ads into their marketing mix to extend their reach, drive awareness, and impact their Ramadan marketing efforts. Especially younger Muslim generations are utilizing on-demand digital audio content to navigate their Ramadan days.
In terms of how: there is the option via dynamic ad insertion/ programmatic ads: they are quick to execute and we can run them across multiple podcast shows, music streaming, and web radio stations.
Another option is to host reads on podcasts: The Host of a show talks about your brand before the content starts. Host reads sound more native as it is the same voice as the host of the show, however, it takes longer to execute and you will be limited to one show only and their audience.
In terms of content that is relevant in the region, we see that shows from the category social & culture are dominating the top 10. During Ramadan content related to food, health, religion, and narrated content (e.g. fictional, kids & family) is gaining in popularity.