Audio ads: targeting and engaging with female listeners

#AudioInsights       #Audio ads       #Marketing Strategy

Suzi Kuban

Suzi Kuban

woman listening to headphones

A look at the advantage of podcast advertising for female consumer marketing campaigns, as well as tips on how to target and engage with female listeners. 


Let’s start with a stat that showcases exactly why adding audio into your media mix for female-targeted campaigns is necessary. 


Podcast advertising drives an average increase in brand awareness of 14 points. But among female listeners, the lift rises to 20 points—43% higher than average!




National holidays for women represent a great opportunity to build your brand with a substantial segment. Not only do women represent 70-80% of all purchasing decisions, but research shows that women are more likely than men to pay attention to ads; making them both a valuable and attainable audience.

National holidays for women



Podcast popularity has skyrocketed over the past 7-8 years. Studies indicate that female-based listenership in particular has boomed. 

In both Asia and the Middle East, women make up the majority of consumers. For example in Saudi Arabia twice as many women describe themselves as regular podcast listeners compared to men. Taiwanese and Asia podcast female to male listenership is 6:4; women aged 28-44 make up the biggest majority of listeners. 

In the US and UK, while gender does skew male, over the past 5 years women have significantly closed the gap. In 2017, only 44% of U.S. monthly podcast listeners were female, and in 2022 48% are female. 





Not only is the popularity of podcasts among women a huge benefit for mass reach, but so too is the unique environment. Connection is vital in building your brand and driving sales. People listen to certain podcast shows not just because the content interests them but because it’s an extension of who they are. Data on this shows: 

  • 62% of listeners turn to Spoken Word Audio that’s “made for people like me”
  • 55% of listeners turn to Spoken Word Audio for “hosts you identify with”

(source:  Edison Research Spoken Word Audio Report (2021)


By using a podcast as the vehicle to deliver an ad, you’re benefiting from this lean-in, trusted environment. 


In order to maximise the effect of the listener-show connection, and to incrementally increase your reach among women, careful thought to the creative and targeting MUST be given. 




In order to effectively reach the ears of women within your target market we recommend: 

  1. Demographic targeting: Of course! This is the most obvious targeting parameter and necessary in these campaigns. Demographic involves targeting ads based on gender, information typically obtained through various methods including wifi and mobile device IDs, and subscription data.
  2. Interest targeting: Podcast interest (or genre) targeting involves using categories (genre’s) to target listeners based on their interests. Some genres attract larger female audiences, such as kids and family (77% female vs 23% male listeners). Whereas other genres have a more balanced gender listenerships. It is important to note, each country has unique gender preferences – for example in the US and UK women are mostly listening to comedy, societal and true crime, whereas in China entertainment, news, and personal development rank high.  Edison Research found women on average listen to a 5.7 different podcast genres or topics. Avoid assumptions, do the research or partner with an audio network, that has expert listener insights and a big network. 
  3. Contextual targeting: This involves targeting specific podcasts and episodes based on the content of the show. For example, if you’re promoting a body lotion you might include topics like makeup and pregnancy. You can also exclude topics such as men’s fashion and bodybuilding with contextual targeting. This strategy results in a more narrow, specific audience, therefore it should be used in moderation. 




Now you know how to reach the ears of women, the next challenge is creating an ad that effectively resonates.


This is incredibly important for businesses, as addressed in an ROI study of 500 advertising campaigns by Nielsen. By a huge margin, the creative was the strongest sales driver on all media platforms – responsible for nearly 50% of all sales lift. Yet 91% of women still feel misunderstood by marketers.


Here are the top considerations for your audio creative:


  • Humour could be the answer

Did you know comedy is a top female listener genre? In the UK, US, Australia and Europe comedy ranks in the top 5! If your brand personality is casual, funny, relaxed etc. use comedy in your creative and targeting. Not only does it give you a considerable listener pool, but additionally, advertising research shows women are more favourable to humorous ads. Ditch the deep emotional tone for smart, self-aware humour.


  • Adapt to the mood

Consider celebrating women during different moments in the day to ramp up the connection and recall factor. You can do this by producing different ads for times of the day. Edison Research found women listen to podcasts both at home and on the go – with 2 in 3 women listening at home most often, and 6 in 10 in the car/vehicle. 

When women listen to podcasts


  • Story-telling

Research finds women (as opposed to men) are more likely to hold attention during an ad. Specifically for the podcast medium, Neilsen key ad engagement stats say 73% of female listeners can recall a brand after hearing an ad due to the high attention. This high attention rate means you can consider a more complex story or message. Gender marketing expert Marti Barletta, claims using a real-life story narrative is powerful because of women’s affinity to others. So, creating a sense of understanding through a series of stories shared via sponsorships could be the perfect marketing tactic for you.



  • Female or male voice?

When creating a pre-recorded podcast ad, in some unique cases a male deep voice could work best. But in most cases, we find a female voice is the best option. Not only because it reflects your target audience, but also because female voices are a jack-of-all-trades. It can be both soothing and warm, as well as upbeat and energised.




We feel it’s important to emphasise the need to avoid gender stereotypes. Apply your business insights to segment by interests, lifestyles, and behaviour, then use the expertise in this article to create a sophisticated ad and targeting strategy that effectively drives recall, affinity and consideration.




Podcast advertising works for all audiences, but it is a particularly useful advertising platform for businesses and brands targeting females of any age. In this article, we have shared information that can help you prepare for the most effective audio campaign that could make a real difference.


Understanding how to reach female audiences via podcasts is a skill that can increase brand awareness and lead to new sales. NBM specialises in such campaigns, so we invite you to contact us if you have any questions or would like more information. 

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