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Do Executives Listen to Podcasts? New Research Says YES

Signaling Major Opportunity for Podcast Advertisers

If you wanted to have a convo with a senior executive, you typically had to do so by flying to industry tradeshows, ponying up for a country club membership, or DMing them incessantly on LinkedIn.

But what if there was an easier way? A way to tickle their brain without pretending you love golf or getting booted off the platform you’ll need to find your next job.

Turns out there is an easier way…and it’s through podcasts.   

New data reveals one of the best ways to reach senior executives is through their ears. 

In March ‘24, the Signal Hill Insights team released “The Podcast Consumption Habits of Highly Influential Executives” and the data should make any advertiser or PR pro drool. We’ll cite it throughout this piece. 

But that also got us wonderin’g what does Podchaser Pro data reveal about this super exclusive senior exec segment? Do executives listen to podcasts?

Using Podchaser Pro’s detailed podcast audience data, we start to see patterns emerge in the preferences of these top-tier professionals. By the end of this piece, we’ll answer questions like:

  • Which podcast categories are in the 1% for the 1%?
  • Which specific podcasts do execs love?
  • What’s the gender skew of these shows?
  • What’s the total reach of podcasts popular with execs?
  • What are the interests and affinities of these podcast listening execs?

And most importantly, we’ll provide some ideas about:

  • What does this mean for your agency or brand?
  • What should you do about it? 
  • How you can use Podchaser Pro to do it

First, some key takeaways:

  • Among podcasts popular with execs, 84% of audiences skew male, 16% skew female
  • 26.6% of podcasts popular with execs fall under the “Business” category
  • 78.2% of podcasts popular with execs regularly feature guests
  • 93.5% of podcasts popular with execs cater to Millennial age bracket
  • 91% of podcasts popular with execs are “Clean”
  • Brand advertisers like Vanta, Mercury, Ziprecruiter, and HelloFresh have each sponsored at least 5 podcasts in the forthcoming dataset
  • Prof G, Pivot, This Week in Startups, and Fore Play are among the most popular shows for advertisers tapping into the senior exec audience
  • If your brand (or clients’) targets a millennial, male, tech-forward ICP, it’s mission-critical to develop a podcast strategy (whether paid or earned) in 2024

Sound good, C-Suite Stalker? Great – let’s go. 


Before we get to the spicy stuff, we oughta lay out how we constructed this study.

Again, we were smitten with Signal Hill’s Senior Exec study. It got the wheels goin’, juices flowin’. 

Their data is based on 24,505 surveys over the past two years, with high-level and mid-level executives at organizations with more than 500 employees. That’s super specific and should be applauded.

Podchaser Pro data covers, shocker, podcast-specific data: 

  • Monthly and per episode reach data
  • Audience demographics (more on that in a bit)
  • And tons of metadata like categories, active status, similar podcasts, etc.

(plus a bunch other qualifiers like “has guests,” historical chart positions, and brand sponsor data, that wasn’t included in our study)

So, what data points did we use for this research?

  • Income Status – we only looked at the highest tier $$$$$
  • Listener Occupations – Directors, Founders, and Principals/Owners
  • Podcast Active Status – only active podcasts
  • Listener Location – US-based audiences only

That left us with 321 podcasts that fit this specific query. Next we analyzed and aggregated the findings. 

Let’s get to the data.

Audience Gender Skews of Podcasts Popular with Senior Execs

Using Podchaser Pro’s demographic data, we found 84% of podcasts have male listenership vs just 16% female listenership of podcasts popular with senior execs. 

Here’s the full breakdown:

Number of podcasts within each gender skew:

  • very high male – 18.8%
  • high male – 32%
  • male – 18.5%
  • mixed – 14.8%
  • female – 4%
  • high female – 11.7%
  • very high female – 0.3%

Which Podcast Categories are Popular with Senior Execs?

Some of these categories might surprise you! But we’ll start with the obvious winner: Business (26.6%).

Coming in at #2 is Technology (13.7%), followed closely by News (12.3%). That’s certainly helpful for agencies and brands focused on B2B coverage.

But here’s where things get interesting.

When combined, Education (7.5%) and Management (7.3%) comprise 14.8% of podcasts popular with senior execs.

Signal Hill found 35% of their respondents cited “self-improvement” as an important reason why you listen to podcasts.

Could be an outstanding opportunity for executive education, MBA, or advanced degree providers (looking at you, Higher Ed) to tap into a ready and willing audience. Purdue Global and Masterclass have done just that. 

When combined, Health (6.9%) & Fitness (6.6%) categories comprise 13.5% of podcasts popular with senior execs. Signal Hill found 51% of their respondents listen to podcasts while working out or exercising. That sounds like an opportunity for primo health and wellness brands looking to tap into an influential audience with lots of disposable income.

Another interesting categorical point: when combined, Society (6.6%) & Culture (6.6%) categories comprise 13.2% of podcasts popular with senior execs.This suggests senior execs want and need to be “in the know” when it comes to topics shaping the world and, by extension, their businesses.

Here’s the full data:

What Percentage of Podcasts Popular with Senior Execs Have Guests?

Almost 80% of podcasts popular with senior execs frequently feature guests. This is a big deal for PR agencies looking to secure earned media opps for their clients. 

Pair this stat with category data above and think about which of your clients might benefit most.

What Age Brackets are Represented Among Podcasts Popular with Senior Execs?

Millennials win this stat by a country mile.

Here’s the breakdown of age brackets:

  • Millennials 35-44 (93.5%)
  • Gen X 45-54 (6.2%)
  • Boomers 55+ (0.3%)

Unsurprisingly, Boomers barely binge podcasts. Gen X has a bit more clout.

But the real opportunity here remains Millennials. While they weren’t born with smartphones attached to their hands like Gen Z, Millennials lived through the analog to digital decade. 

What Interests and Affinities are Present Among Podcasts Popular with Senior Execs?

Turns out, it’s not all work and no play (but there is a lot of work).

News (28%), Tech (22.4%), and Software (19.8%) serve as the Top 3 interests of the senior exec audience. So if you represent predominantly millennial, male B2B SaaS founders, and you’re NOT tapping into podcasts, wyd?

But what else makes this senior exec target tick?

Friends, Family, & Relationships (15.5%) suggest there’s some wholesomeness to the tech bro segment. While Restaurants, Food, & Grocery (14.2%) round out the Top 5 interests of the senior exec audience. 

If you’re a fitness-friendly meal delivery brand that does well with early adopters who might just have hungry mouths to feed, whew, might want to take a look at podcast advertising. And wouldn’t you know it, HelloFresh is one such brand.

Where do audiences of podcasts popular with senior execs reside?

Tech hubs and power peddlers are well-represented. 

But don’t sleep on the Midwest. Where Chicago and Lincoln, Nebraska (!) are well-represented

Are Podcasts Popular with Senior Execs Brand Safe?

From a clean vs. explicit perspective, YES. 

In fact, 91% of podcasts popular with senior execs are deemed clean. So from a brand safety and suitability standpoint, brands and agencies can proceed with a high-level of confidence.

What’s the Average Length of Podcasts Popular with Senior Execs?

Among podcasts popular with senior execs, average run time comes to 37-minutes. 

Where else can you strike up a half hour conversation with senior execs (besides the country club sauna)? 

Contrast the tuned-in nature of podcasts with the average session on business/news sites and you’ll get a pretty clear picture of the podcast opportunity.

What’s the Total Monthly Reach of Podcasts Popular with Senior Executives?

Said another way, how big is the podcast opportunity for your brand or clients?

Podcasts popular with senior execs reach a combined 28M listeners per month. That’s a sizable sandbox to play in, whether you’re an in-house brand or agency-side.

Which Podcasts are Most Popular with Senior Executives?

We’re not giving away ALL the good stuff.

But we will provide you a sampling of shows so you can get inspired for your next campaign.

Do executives listen to podcasts? Emphatically, yes. But advertisers have been slow to move on this insight..

Historically, major brands have under invested in podcast advertising due to concerns of brand safety or have missed their intended audiences by only buying the top trending shows. In fact, according to Ad Age and Magellan, only 14 of the top 100 advertisers in the US invested more than $10 million in podcasting last year, which accounted for less than 0.3% of overall spend from these brands.

Additionally, separate research from Podchaser and Magellan found that 44% of US podcast advertising spend goes to the top 500 shows, which only account for 12% of reach.

Want to see the audience and reach data? Contact these shows? Upgrade to Podchaser Pro today: Schedule Demo

For more details on Podchaser Pro’s demographic data, visit: Podchaser Predictive Demographics.

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