UPDATE November 29, 2018 — Podcasting, while not new to the world of media, is experiencing industry disruption with the widespread adoption of mobile devices and on-demand content streaming services. Podcasts engage with consumers in a way that other mediums are unable to and advertisers will be hard-pressed to find another form of media that will occupy consumers’ lives in the same way.
We found the 10 most significant statistics about podcasting, its growth in recent years, demographics, and more that advertisers need to know.
Here are 10 podcast statistics relevant to marketers today:
This 50 billion all-time record download volume is an exponential increase from the 13.7 billion all-time reported downloads in 2017. These numbers include both downloads in iTunes and the Podcasts app, as well as streams. Libsyn, a podcast hosting service, found that total podcast downloads increased to 3.3 billion requests in 2015, from 1.2 billion requests in 2012. The same study also found that the company hosted 28,000 shows in 2015, an increase of 16,000 shows from 2013, representing a 75% growth in content providers within 2 years. This shows that more and more individuals and media outlets are starting to enter the space to become early influencers in the rediscovered medium.
A 2018 Pacific Content study estimated the average podcast length to be 43 minutes, while Podcast Insights revealed listeners average 7 podcast episodes a week. Not only do podcast listeners in 2018 spend 5 hours on average listening to podcasts, but an estimated 80% of listeners listen to all or most of each episode. This is a massive usage increase from 2017 when Podcast listeners spent an average of 4 hours and 10 minutes weekly on an average of 5 different podcasts. Because podcasts are both auditory and mobile mediums, they can be consumed at times when video media, such as text and video are inconvenient or impossible. For example, podcast content can be consumed while driving and commuting, or during housework or exercise. With over 5 hours listened to every week, podcasts represent a significant portion of overall media consumption throughout a week.
64% of Americans over the age of 12, an estimated 180 million people, are aware of podcasting as a media format and content source. Further, two-out-of-five Americans over 12-years-old have listened to a podcast, contributing to heightened consumer awareness of podcast content. The popularity of podcasts has been surging, with a 10% increase in familiarity with the term “podcasting” reported from Americans over the age of 12 since 2016. The result of increased digital media consumption has led to the appearance of podcasting in the greater media landscape. In fact, podcasts are expected to contribute more to the $65 billion global audio market that includes broadcast radio, recorded music, and on-demand streaming services.
Improved technology has made podcasts more accessible and easier to consume. 69% of Americans listen to podcasts from a mobile device, up more than 14% from 2015. The rise of podcasts has been consistent with the increasing importance of smartphones in consumers’ lives, as 64% of American podcast listeners accessed podcast content through a mobile device in 2017.
48 million people listen to podcasts weekly in 2018, and 115 million people are expected to listen to podcasts by 2021. Overall, podcast listening has been on the rise from 13% of Americans listening weekly in 2016, translating into an estimated population of 35 million. Podcasts listeners form relationships with hosts and are loyal to shows they are following, so listeners tend to return back to shows on a regular basis, whether weekly or monthly.
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Demographics for podcast listeners indicate that the majority are affluent and well-educated. In the US, the overall median income of podcast listeners is $63,000 while the median income of the average American surveyed was $53,000. Impressively, 15% of podcast listeners make over $150,000 a year. Further, podcast listeners average a household income of $83,700 which exceeds the national average by $12,000. In terms of education, podcast listeners will be 44% more likely to be a college graduate and 71% more likely to have attended at least one year in college.
Engagement among podcast listeners is high. With 79% of listeners listening to podcasts immediately, providers can be sure that podcasts have consumption metrics. Among listeners who download podcasts, 55% of them will listen to the podcast within 24 hours of downloading it. Attention is also high within podcasts, with 65% of listeners recalling an ad after listening to a show a day earlier.
Ad spending on podcasts was estimated to be around $34 million dollars. Currently, advertisers are interested in spending on podcasts because surveys suggest that podcasts do not normally engender advertising aversion. Marketers find that people do not mind ads within podcasts because they are read by their hosts and because they are naturally woven into the content. Similar to tactics seen in video influencer marketing, marketing through podcast influencers means that there is a transference of credibility, making advertisements or sponsorships on podcasts come across as authentic and customized.
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Podcast advertising, while not new, has not been largely explored. Half of the surveyed radio buyers and planners believe that podcast advertising is worth serious consideration, and 38% believe that they will experiment with podcast advertising in the near future. The same study also shows that 41% of marketers have discussed podcasting, but only 15% are currently advertising. Marketers should look to podcasting in its early stages to become the bigger influencers in the space.
Podcast consumers are more likely to use social media than the average American and tend to be more tech savvy. On social media, podcast consumers are more likely to follow companies (47%) and brands than the average American (28%). This will serve well to brands looking to advertise to specific audiences across different mediums. With 70% of podcast listeners between the Millennial ages of 18-44, it is unsurprising that podcast listeners are also dedicated social media users.