Podcasting is one of the fastest growing industries in America, and there are many reasons behind this explosive growth.
With a devoted audience and a motivated host, the goal of any podcast is achievable. This could be brand-building, increased sales, or education through personal or industry stories.
Whatever the reason for a podcast, it remains true that podcasting is one of the most personal forms of mass communication. This is the major appeal: your message can reach many people while still keeping “a human touch”.
While the effectiveness of any one podcast can be argued, there are plenty of statistics to show that the platform as a whole can be extremely useful and effective.
1. In 2020, 37% of Americans listened to or watched a podcast in the past month. This is up from 32% in 2019 (The Infinite Dial).
Takeaway: The audience for podcasting has been steadily increasing since 2013. On top of that, the COVID pandemic helped podcast followership reach new heights. Many podcasts plan to retain this new audience, and will continue to attract new listeners or viewers. Based on the steady growth of the industry, any quality podcast can continue to grow.
2. There were over 525,000 active shows and over 18.5 million episodes in 2018 (FastCompany). In January 2020, there were 850,000 active podcasts and more than 30 million podcast episodes (Podcast Insights).
Takeaway: The amount of podcasts being produced increases with the audience. Businesses and individuals recognize the benefits of using this platform, suggesting that it is a trend with value.
3. In 2019, a survey showed that 35% of people who didn’t listen to podcasts were because they didn’t know where to find them (The Infinite Dial).
Takeaway: As the audience and production grows, podcasts will become more accessible. Podcast apps like Spotify and SoundCloud are becoming more prevalent. Apple has begun pre-downloading their podcast app on new iPhones. These and other promotional moves will allow new podcasts to tap into the pool of listeners and viewers that are simply unaware how to find a podcast. As a result, the industry will continue to thrive.
4. More than 50 million Americans are weekly podcast listeners in 2020. This is about 24% of Americans (Statista).
Takeaway: Podcasts are more accepted and widespread than many people realize. Because podcasts are usually listened to or watched in private, the sheer size of consistent consumers is usually overlooked.
5. According to a survey conducted by The Podcast Host, the most important thing about a podcast to a new listener is the podcast description.
Takeaway: This means that the audience actually cares about the content in a podcast, and they look at the description to gauge their interest. They listen or watch to learn about a topic they are interested in, which makes each individual consumer a quality conduit for the message you are trying to send.
6. In the U.S. as of February 2019, the main reason for listening to podcasts was to learn new things. 74 percent of surveyed consumers cite this as the reason for enjoying podcasts and listening to them on a monthly basis (Statista).
Takeaway: Similar to their interest in podcast descriptions, this solidifies that people who tune in to podcasts are genuinely interested in what the production has to offer. Each consumer has the potential to believe in the message of a podcast.
7. 82.4% of podcast listeners spend more than seven hours a week listening to podcasts (Discover Pods).
Takeaway: Whatever amount of messages and details you have to offer, there will always be an audience ready to listen or watch. With such high consistent consumption, it is easy to build up a loyal audience that cares about every piece of content you produce.
8. 22% of total podcast viewership is in comedy, 21% is news, 18% is true crime, and 17% is sports (Statista).
Takeaway: Leading podcast genres are all relatively close, showing the versatility of podcasts. There is no one topic that is clearly preferred, which means almost any topic can be embraced.
9. In 2019, 54 percent of podcast listeners are either somewhat or much more likely to consider buying from a brand after hearing its advertisement on a podcast (eMarketer).
Takeaway: Podcasts are an effective marketing technique. If your podcast is produced for a business, it will generate quality leads and help establish a brand. If your podcast is produced for personal purposes, businesses are likely to jump on the opportunity to advertise through your podcast.
10. Video will make up 82% of internet traffic by the end of 2022 (Cisco Annual Internet Report).
Takeaway: Video is the fastest growing sector of the internet in both production and audience. If a video podcast has quality production and an interesting topic, it can ride this trend to grow faster than other content channels.
Wrapping Up: The Key Takeaway
The audience is growing, the messages are effective, and the world is noticing the benefits of production. With such a profound base, the only place for podcasting to go is up.
Hopefully, with these facts in mind, you are more confident in the idea of starting your own podcast or investing in others. While it may be a new industry, it is one of quality, and it will be fully embraced over time.
The only question is if you will dive into podcasting now or years down the road.