Podcast Statistics & Trends to Inform Your Show's Strategy
With 59% of podcast users spending more time listening to podcasts than using social media, it's clear that the world is becoming increasingly open to listening to podcasts. Even businesses are starting to understand their marketing potential. And we all know that marketers and brand owners will always strive to make the most of any new channel on the rise.
That said, podcasts are notoriously difficult to advertise. If you're using (or thinking about using) a podcast as a marketing option, you have to consider how best to market this channel. Understanding podcast statistics and why they matter is key to producing a top-tier show and leveraging these trends to help strategize for promotional purposes.
Keeping up to date with podcast statistics is essential here at Lower Street. Trends help us refine our podcast promotion strategies and marketing efforts because they give us a broader understanding of podcast audiences and their listener habits.
Brands are investing in podcasts as a marketing channel to attract new customers more than ever before. When you see statistics like 20% of people have bought a product or service after hearing about it in a podcast—you can understand why.
But, how do you know which advertising channels to focus on when using podcasts for marketing purposes? How can podcasters target the right kinds of audiences? Who is listening to podcasts, and would they be considered your ideal target market?
Keeping a close eye on yearly podcast statistics, along with other relevant trends, such as listener behavior and so on, can certainly help answer that. Essentially, when you know what drives (and repels) listenership, you can strategize accordingly. Take a look.
Monitor Podcast Trends
In 2019, the podcast world experienced one of its most significant developments. Google initiated an algorithm update that started indexing podcasts to include them on search engine results pages (SERPs). As a result, voice search is on the rise and works to help listeners find podcast episodes and content that addresses their search queries.
But, it's nowhere near perfect.
This means that podcast producers and hosts need to put some stock into their podcast SEO efforts if they want to grow their audience. Quality show notes, blogs, social media threads, and video content are a good start.
There are many marketing opportunities in podcasts, and over the last few years we've seen a rapidly growing pool of listeners ready to pledge their loyalty to a show.
Make sure that you monitor trends and create great content that taps into the subjects and topics your ideal listeners are searching for.
How Popular Are Podcasts?
It's fair to say that podcasts have grown in popularity over the last decade. However, with this growth the audience demographics have also evolved. The older demographics are no longer the ones who adopt podcasts. Instead, the medium is appealing more to the younger generations.
55% of monthly U.S. podcast listeners are aged between 12-34 (Edison)
Now, marketers are allocating a greater amount of their media budget to podcast promotion, mainly because the demographic scope has increased drastically.
In 2022, 62% of the population 12+ had listened to a podcast, and roughly 78% are familiar with the medium
73% of the U.S. population 12+ have listened to online audio in the last month
Over 104 million Americans listen to podcasts regularly
28% of Americans are weekly podcast listeners
Each week more Americans listen to podcasts than have Netflix accounts
Who Listens to Podcasts?
Marketing your podcast isn't always easy. Often, when podcasters look to promote their show, they try to cast a wide net to get the most podcast subscribers and listeners possible.
While having millions of subscribers is amazing, you need to ask yourself how many of those subscribers will actually stay subscribed? How engaged will they be with your content?
You can narrow down your target audience by defining:
Demographic: personal information such as age, education, income, gender, relationship status, etc.
Psychographics: human characteristics, such as opinions, values, interests, behaviors, attitudes, and lifestyle.
Behavioristic: listening behavior, such as knowing if a listener is brand loyal and how much time they spend listening to podcasts similar to yours. Where do they listen (at the gym, doing the dishes, on their commute)?
Why It Matters
Any marketer worth their salt knows the best tactic for growth is to target the right people who will find value in the content. Take a look at these podcast listener demographics:
51% of monthly podcast listeners also tend to work in a full-time job
17% of those full-time workers have a household income between $100K-$150K
28% have a university degree
66%+ of podcast listeners have a college degree
53% of podcast listeners in the U.S. are male, while 46% are female
41% of podcast listeners in the U.S. are non-white
Podcasts embody 10% of all content that millennials listen to
Podcast listeners in the United States are hyper-engaged, super-supportive audiences
Ideal listener personas based primarily on their education and employment stats can allow marketers to focus their efforts on the right people, i.e. people who can make purchasing decisions.
Genre-Based Podcasting Statistics
Genre can play a big part in how listeners interact with a show. If you think about it, podcasts act as a form of escapism, with listeners tuning in with one of two agendas in mind: to be entertained or educated.
74% of people listen to podcasts to learn new things
71% want to be entertained
60% are looking to stay up-to-date
51% just want to relax
47% want to feel inspired
So, it's no wonder that comedy is one of the most popular genres (22%), closely followed by news (21%). Then, true crime (18%) and sports (17%) take the next few spots.
So, what does this mean for marketers? If the podcast's content isn't tapping into either the entertainment or education camp, you could find marketing the show a relatively difficult undertaking.
Within Lower street's marketing department, we have a saying:
The show you're promoting needs to be good. No amount of money in the world will trick people into loving a terrible show.
So, if you have a technology show that's dry as a cracker, you will have a difficult time marketing that to listeners. From a content standpoint, consider how you can get into that entertainment and/or education grouping to make the show more marketable.
Additional Stats to Consider
7% use podcasts as a daily source of news
Ted Talks Daily and The Daily are the second most popular shows on Spotify
97.7% of podcasters agree that quality content is essential
Where Do People Listen to Podcasts?
In just a matter of years, humanity went from lugging around brick-like phones to toting powerful mini-computers in their pockets. With this revolutionary advent of the smartphone, we can all tune into a podcast wherever and whenever we want.
While podcasts have become portable, you may be surprised to learn that 90% of podcast listeners say they would rather listen to podcasts at home.
Podcast Consumption Stats
65% tune in in the car
49% listen while they're walking
43% at the gym or while they're working out
37% while they're at work
37% on public transportation
Promoting your podcast using host-read ads could be a great option to tap into those home-based listeners. Why? Because when listeners queue up a podcast in the comfort of their own home they are less likely to skip ahead 30-60 seconds, opting instead to listen from the very beginning.
How Listeners Are Listening?
Discovering how podcasters are tuning in can be relatively tricky. From our standpoint, tapping into Apple Podcast listeners, especially during the beginning 24-48 hours of a podcast's release, can be beneficial for visibility.
If Apple Podcast's algorithm sees a lot of interaction and engagement with a podcast, they'll likely feature it on the home page. Apple Podcasts is an app that is also preinstalled on iPhones, making it even easier for people to tune in.
65% of podcast consumers are most likely to listen to episodes on a mobile device
39% of smart-speaker owners listen to podcasts at least once a week
88% of Americans own a smartphone
Smart speaker ownership grew by over 22% during the first year of the pandemic, as more people worked from home
Quality Content Matters
Quality podcast content takes time and work, but it's worth the effort. Engaging content builds loyal fan bases; it's as simple as that. So it's no surprise that podcast growth goes hand in hand with compelling podcast content.
Loyal listeners are the ones who tune into a podcast every week, leave positive reviews, and share the content—and the quality of the show is what will help with that.
Quality content is essential to 97.7% of podcast listeners
80% of podcast listeners stay tuned in for most or all of the episodes they listen to
Listeners want original content that is fresh, consistent, specific, and has personality
Listeners Want Consistency
Release times can also impact how you market a podcast. For example, consumers tend to download content primarily on Mondays, Tuesdays Wednesdays, so you could aim to publish episodes within that timeframe.
However, that shouldn't be the golden rule. Overall, consistency breeds trust, which is important for getting your brand messaging to land within the podcast itself. So, regardless of how often you decide to upload (weekly, monthly, etc.), your podcast consistency depends on you sticking to those deadlines.
Successful podcasters are 7.7 times more likely to have published over 100 episodes and 15.8 times more likely to have published over 200 episodes
Success in podcasting comes with time and experience
69% of podcasters with shows that are 24+ months old are monetizing them successfully
80% of lower-income podcasters have shows younger than 24 months
According to Insider Intelligence, by 2028, podcasting Is expected to become a $94.88 Billion industry. Of course, a large part of that profit pie is thanks to paid advertising.
Marketing a podcast can be a tricky affair. The misconception that social media channels are a great way to tap into a new audience is, quite frankly, laughable. While you can get some traction, you're ultimately having to drive listeners from Twitter-feed-scrolling-mode and push them towards long-form podcast-content-mode. And that's a challenging task—trust us.
Sometimes you need to meet your ideal audience where they're already listening—inside the podcast apps themselves (banner ads, dynamic ads, pop-ups, etc.) and on the podcasts they're already listening to (host-read and voice-over ads).
Podcast Advertising Statistics
32% of marketers say advertising on podcasts is effective and drives expected outcomes
Comparatively, podcasts generate around four times better brand recall than scroll, pop-up, and static ads
Taking out an advertisement for a podcast can cost as little as $50 per slot
80% of listeners can recall a brand advertised in a podcast
Compared to traditional advertising, 10% more listeners are likely to buy after exposure to podcast ads
Podcast Growth Statistics: Final Thoughts
Podcasting is a growing industry and it's showing no signs of slowing down anytime soon. Younger generations are getting on board, and more people in general are listening to podcasts than ever before.
While it's still viewed as a form of entertainment by some, podcast content can be incredibly fluid and tap into all the areas that your ideal audience is looking for, whether through marketing efforts or within the content itself.
By monitoring trends and statistics in the industry, you'll put yourself in a unique position to give your audience exactly what they want, when they want it, and how they want it. And in doing so, build a loyal fanbase who will stick with your brand and even promote it.