Crime Pays: Global-First IAB Australia & Neuro-Insight Proves Effectiveness Of True Crime Podcast Advertising

Fictious police desk with crime case records containing gun, blank photos, crime scene information sheet, cd roms, magnifying glass, keys, mobile phone, bullet shell and police reports.
B&T Magazine
Edited by B&T Magazine



A global-first neuroscience research study has found that True Crime podcast content delivers advertisers’ engagement and memorability at levels known to be effective in influencing consumer decisions and changing behaviour.

The Crime Pays: Guide to Understanding True Crime Podcast Audiences and Advertising Opportunities report from IAB Australia and Neuro-Insight, the world’s preeminent neuro-marketing and neuro-analytics company, tracked participants’ brain activity while listening to podcast content and advertising. It then assessed responses in True Crime and Entertainment podcasts as well as benchmarking against Neuro-Insight’s rich database across a wide range of media environments.

The report found that the unique attributes of the True Crime podcast audience are categorised by a mindset of curiosity, learning, problem-solving, and understanding human behaviour. Additionally, the neuro-state of True Crime content is powerfully transferred to the advertising placed in it. Consequently, ad creative that matches the mood, mindset and motivations of True Crime listeners can reinforce brand memorability to impact consumer decision-making and change behaviour.

Importantly, it found True Crime podcast campaigns are a safe and effective way for advertisers to engage and they can expect the same level of engagement and memorability as they do for Entertainment podcast campaigns. Further, the profile of True Crime podcast listeners provides an ideal audience for advertisers across a wide range of brands, products and services – not just endemic or brands with an obvious link to the genre.

“This is the first time we can see what has previously only been heard! The neuro data revealed a range of captivating patterns and relationships. Whilst True Crime audience engagement exceeds our global media content benchmarks, the opportunities for advertisers in True Crime are broader and more compelling than we’d originally assumed. Whilst we always knew that quality creative was worth the effort, tuning into some of the broader environment attributes of this content measurably increases ad receptivity and effectiveness. This all makes the payback well worth the effort,” said Peter Pynta, principal consultant at Neuro-Insight.

The ground-breaking research was prepared by members of the IAB Australia Audio Council to provide information and context on the opportunity for advertisers, who can be reluctant to invest alongside True Crime podcast content despite the huge popularity of the category.

According to Triton Digital, five out of the top 20 podcasts in Australia in January 2024 were in the True Crime genre, which is the third largest podcast category in Australia, with over one million (1,032,850) weekly average listeners. Two-thirds of podcast listeners are women, with two-thirds of listeners aged between 18 and 44. Total podcast advertising expenditure for 2023 is $99.1 million up 21.7 per cent on 2022, according to the IAB Australia Online Advertising Expenditure Report. However, despite these figures, the latest IAB Audio State of the Nation report found only 22 per cent of agencies invested in True Crime content in 2023 compared to 63 per cent investing in Entertainment podcasts.

“Australian media owners and content creators have been investing significant resources and time to research, investigate, develop, and report a range of incredibly rich and important True Crime podcasts and in turn audiences have devoured these. I am thrilled that the new report, Crime Pays, proves that True Crime podcasts provide an opportunity that advertisers should be considering in their media mix,” said Gai Le Roy CEO of IAB Australia.

Key findings:

  • Over 1 million Australians listeners lean into True Crime podcasting each week.
  • The profile of True Crime podcast listeners provides an ideal audience for advertisers across a wide range of brands, products, and services not just endemic or brands with an obvious link to the genre.
  • True Crime podcasts deliver advertisers engagement and memorability at levels known to be effective in influencing decisions and changing behaviour.
  • Advertisers can expect the same level of engagement and memorability with their True Crime podcast campaigns as they do for Entertainment podcast campaigns.
  • Understanding environmental attributes provide a safe and effective way for brands to engage with True Crime podcasts.
  • As with all advertising, creative is the greatest driver of effectiveness.



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