While podcasting has always been seen as a niche tool which may or may not be relevant from a marketing perspective, with every year we see more and more content creators and brands leveraging podcasting for business. I also have been investing more time into my own Your Digital Marketing Coach podcast and as I listen to other podcasts listed in my 11 Best Social Media Marketing Podcasts post, I thought it was time to convince you to consider podcasting for business through this post on podcast statistics.
Let’s now take a step back in history to put the current podcast industry in perspective before we consider the latest podcast statistics.
I might be aging myself here as a GenXer, but most of us who are a little bit older remember the days when families would gather around the radio to hear various programs. These could have been news, politics, weather, religious programming, or good old-fashioned fun. Parents and kids would fight over what station to listen to, just like they did the TV remote.
The times are a changin’, though. Increasingly people are turning to a new source of audio content that is fighting for share of time: Podcasting. Most people consider that the term originates from the fact that, originally, these pre-recorded audio programs were designed for the iPod and MP3 player of yesteryear. And originally, they were a very niche media product centered around the independent voices who placed their programs in Apple iTunes.
Today it’s safe to say that podcasts have become a regular part of worldwide media consumption. In addition, they have become an opportunity for us as marketers to reach target clientele especially since every iPhone includes the Apple Podcasts app by default. All of the other major technology and media players have also been investing in attracting the podcast audience, from the creation of Google Podcasts for Android phones to the enhancement apps such as Amazon Music, iHeartRadio, and Spotify to better support podcasts.
Let’s look at some podcast statistics to consider, beginning with the sheer volume of podcasts that exist.
Podcast Statistics: The Supply Perspective
As a general rule, social media networks are leveling off in market share and saturation. After all, most Americans have a Facebook account, and that includes adolescents with their Instagram, Snapchat, and/or TikTok account. Likewise, other networks like YouTube are becoming ubiquitous channels for self-expression. Nonetheless, as these podcast statistics will show, Podcasting is a growing and attractive medium for marketers and businesses.More importantly for those of us that want to stick out and be found in a crowded digital space, the amount of podcasts that exist are about 0.1% of the total amount of blogs that exist! That’s an opportunity that is making podcasting a very attractive initiative for many marketers. In fact, the keynote at a recent podcasting conference I attended announced that there were more podcast listeners than Spotify listeners. Clearly podcasting as a mass medium has arrived. The question is: When will YOU start a podcast?
1. There are nearly 2.5 million podcasts listed in Apple podcasts.
That’s a lot of podcasts, but it’s important to remember that there are many inactive podcasts. If you count an inactive podcast as one that hasn’t published a new episode in 90 days, that 2.5 million podcasts number drops dramatically to showing that:
2. Only around 450,000 podcasts are active.
Despite the fact that only around 20% or so of podcasts would be considered an active podcast, over the years they have culminated in the publication of:
3. More than 71,000,000 episodes exist in podcast feeds.
What this means is that for the average listener, simply by doing a search in their favorite podcast player they are bound to find a podcast episode that interests them.
And this isn’t only for an English-speaking audience. Even since back in 2018,
4. Podcasts are available in over 100 languages.
That’s more languages than most social networks have available. And it isn’t surprising, considering that in order to make a podcast all you really need is a way to record and edit audio, and a way to distribute it. This means that anywhere you can find high-speed internet access and consistent electricity, people with something to say can easily produce content. One can only assume that there are podcasts available in more languages, given the spread of internet access worldwide.
Podcast Statistics: The Demand Perspective
That’s a lot of podcasts that exist, but who is listening to them and how often are podcasts being consumed? Let’s start by asking how many Americans have ever listened to a podcast. This answer hints at the growth that podcasting continues to show:
5. 62% of Americans aged 12 and over have listened to a podcast in 2022, up from 57% in 2021.
Podcasts might have once been something of a niche interest, but daily, weekly, and monthly podcast listeners are increasing, and the podcast industry contains a truly enormous range of interests and ideas. Whether those numbers indicate people listening to podcasts on a monthly basis or people listening to podcasts on their smart speaker every morning during their shower, the truth of the matter is that podcasts are gaining traction as a valuable way to pass the time. Even without having something to contribute to the most popular podcast genre, or dedicated weekly podcast listeners, a podcast can be a valuable tool to grow your audience and maintain your online presence.
When asked for their most recent podcast listening habits,
6. 41% of Americans aged 12 and over have listened to a podcast in the last month.
7. 28% of Americans aged 12 and over have listened to a podcast in the last week.
Both of the above numbers come from the Edison Research Infinite Dial report that was created in collaboration with Triton Digital.
These numbers are up significantly from an earlier generation: Only 9% of the population surveyed were monthly podcast listeners back in 2008 while only 7% said they listened to a podcast in the last week back in 2013.
As far has how much time is spent to listening to podcasts, One study found that
8. More than 80% of podcast listeners (82.4%, to be exact) spend upwards of 7 hours in an average week listening to their favorite podcast listening app.
The average podcast user is a dedicated one; podcast audio listeners overwhelmingly spend a great deal of time each week listening to podcasts through their favorite apps. To fully understand podcast growth, though, it is important to understand that a podcast download does not necessarily equate to a listen. Data shows that listeners are pretty particular about what they listen to on a weekly basis. The hours of podcasts are not necessarily consumed through numerous different channels, but may instead be more tightly honed in. This is demonstrated by the following:
Interestingly enough, though, another stat shows that while there might be a lot of hours of podcasts being consumed on average, the number of podcasts that people listen to regularly are limited in number. In fact,
9. On average, only 8 different podcasts are listened to weekly.
What this means is that whereas with SEO there is always competition but huge search demand, for podcasting you always have to be aware that the listener is simply not going to subscribe to dozens of podcasts, so you have to make yours appealing – and continue to do so over time.
On a podcast episode basis, the most popular length of podcast episodes, according to podcast insights from the podcast host Buzzsprout, shows that:
10. 32% of podcast episodes are between 20 and 40 minutes long.
What these numbers tell us, then, is that podcasting is becoming a major force in media consumption.
So, who listens to podcasts, anyway?
Besides the fact that there are a lot of people listening to podcasts, as followers of media trends and as marketers we want to know what the demographics are among listeners. Here are some basics about the typical podcast listener.
We are finding that podcasting seems to be favored by a younger audience:
11. 50% of Americans between 12 and 34 years old surveyed listened to a podcast in the last month.
The adult population in the U.S. is not the only population included in podcast listener statistics. Instead, people as young as 12 have demonstrated an interest in podcasts, with monthly listeners from all ages and walks of life. Half of those surveyed acknowledged listening to an entire podcast within the last month, perhaps in large part because of the openness of the podcast market. From health food podcasts hosted by health food brands, to lifestyle podcasts managed by influencers, avid podcast fans and newcomers alike can find something they are interested in. The advent of popular podcast platforms, including Spotify and Apple podcasts certainly doesn’t hurt, as having a portable device makes podcast listenership easy to come by.
12. 40% of those under age 55 listen monthly.
By far, this is the largest American segment to be listening to a podcast monthly, and it’s 8% higher than the all-ages listening rate. Part of this, of course, has to do with overall technology usage. Older people still spend more time listening to or watching old-fashioned broadcast television. They tend to use computers for email and checking up with their grandchildren. A few more are on Facebook or YouTube, but they aren’t often online for many hours every day, nor do they own as many smartphones as the younger set.
13. 67% of podcasts assume an audience between the ages of 18 and 44.
And as a rule, these are the people most likely to listen. That’s because podcast listeners tend to be technologically savvy. You have to look for a good podcast in order to find one; it isn’t something that’s in your face all the time, unlike other forms of online media.
14. 45% of podcast listeners have a household income over $250,000.
Whether you’re considering only Americans or the global population, this figure is far higher than the overall percentage of people that make this sum of money. What this means is that podcast listeners on average have a much higher income than the general population. Given that the format allows for multitasking in a way that reading blogs or searching social media doesn’t, I’m not surprised. Also, until the smartphone became popular, listening in often required expensive equipment that not everyone can afford.
15. Podcast listeners are 68% more likely to have a postgraduate degree
This goes to show that podcast listeners tend to be on the intelligent side..
What podcasts do people listen to?
It’s one thing to know that podcasts are popular, and another to know what kinds of things people listen to. Fortunately, we have a survey to look at:
16. 74% of podcast listeners listen to learn new things.
These podcast stats from Edison Research were compiled after COVID, so this could have been influenced by the general trend of work and school at home. That being said, other popular genres of podcasts that people listen to according to the same study are comedy, news, politics, science, arts, sports, and business.
It’s fair to say that this is a wide variety of topics, and that there’s something for everyone. That doesn’t even count more niche topics that are less popular. In addition, some niches like music have a wide variety of style options, even within the English language. Needless to say, the options for reaching people with your advertising message are endless
How do podcasts fit into listener’s lives?
Until recently, knowing how people used media throughout the day was fairly simple. Folks would read the newspaper first thing in the morning, then the radio while driving to work. Catching the news at breakfast, and finding out about events for the day, was an important part of an American worker’s day.
But it had one problem: You can probably eat or drink while reading the paper, but most other activities are out. This isn’t a good form of content if you need to multitask. On the other hand, audio content invites multitasking as it allows you to perform a wide variety of tasks while listening, so long as it doesn’t take too much concentration.
17. 49% of podcast listeners listen to the programs at home.
This is one way that podcasts are taking the place of listening to music being played while you do housework or pursue a hobby. In fact,
18. 59% of listeners have done housework at the same time.
Housework can include everything from ironing clothes to mowing the lawn. These are times when we generally don’t need to concentrate too much on the chore at hand, and can focus most of our attention elsewhere.
19. 49% of podcast listeners say they do so while driving.
Driving is one of the more important times for listening to the radio, if you consider that it was once a ubiquitous practice. It is clear to see how podcasts are now competing with that head on.
And in another example of people listening to podcasts away from home,
20. 46% have listened to podcasts while out on a walk.
This is a situation where in the past most people would have listened to music that they own. It might’ve been using a digital music player or one of the older tape or CD-based models, but people have been walking around their neighborhoods with headphones for decades. Only the format is changing.
This next revealing podcast stat comes from the United Kingdom, where
21. 79% of podcast consumers listen to podcasts through their mobile device.
It is likely that there are many reasons why people choose to use smartphones. Back when podcasts were new technology, smartphones were relatively primitive. Remember Palm Pilots that pretty much only kept track of email and schedules? The equation changed radically when the iPod turned into an iPhone. Before that point, people would carry both a music player and a cellphone. Now, the smartphone can serve both functions, and then some. And it’s also important to remember that the availability of podcast apps like Apple Podcasts, an integral part of the iPhone, means that mobile devices are by default podcast-enabled.
The bottom line here is that people listen to podcasts in similar ways they might have listened to other forms of portable music in the past.
Which brings us to the next question:
What are some marketing-related podcast statistics?
As important as it may be to know the type of audience enjoyed by podcast creators, as marketers we do like to know what’s in it for us. Since podcasting is still maturing as a medium, the numbers aren’t as easy to obtain. But hopefully what I’ve found here will be helpful.
22. Only 17% of podcasters record videos of their episodes
I am guilty of being one of the 83%, which I plan to change in the near future, but some podcasters have done very well recording videos and publishing them on YouTube. The Joe Rogan Experience is one such example: His live streamed interview with Elon Musk, which is also featured in his podcast, has garnered more than 25 MILLION views. What this means is that if you are considering creating a podcast or guesting on someone else’s, you most definitely want to take video into consideration.
For those interested, here is a look at that interview:
On the the other hand, from an advertising perspective,
23. Estimates say that by 2024 advertising revenue on podcasts should reach $4 billion.
For advertisers, this means that many more adverts are being placed into podcasts each year. There may also be rate increases of podcast ads as podcasts get more listeners. On the other hand, it also means that there are some real opportunities to make money through podcasting for content creators and podcast hosts.
Further Reading: 19 Best Podcast Tips for Launching and Growing Your Show
24. 69% of listeners say that podcast adverts introduced them to new products or services.
And as we marketers know, an increase in brand or product awareness is the first step in increasing sales. This is especially true with consumer products, because it is easy for consumers to get into a rut of using the same things all the time. Plus, it allows people the opportunity to do research via other forms of content we’ve put out for them.
25. 38% of listeners report purchasing things that are mentioned in podcasts.
There’s no question that this contrasts with more mature forms of media, and those with a wider appeal. After all, a larger percentage of social media users have bought things because of sponsored content on those platforms.
However, it is probably fair to guess that customers don’t listen to podcasts that often with the goal of finding new products and services. This is a lot like traditional forms of media consumption: content is consumed to get information, be entertained, or pursue any number of interests besides just shopping. On the other hand, people look at Instagram, Twitter, or Pinterest all the time with the goal of finding out about products and services. Intent makes a lot of difference.
Finally, while there is no podcast statistic to prove my point yet, most podcasters that have developed business podcasting will tell you that it helps build a deep and loyal relationship with their followers which, combined with a website, email marketing, and relevant product or service, without a doubt contributes to sales.
Further Reading: A Complete Guide to Creating a Great Podcast Website
Not so long ago, podcasts were considered a nerdy form of media. As podcasts become more mainstream however, they are experiencing explosive growth. This is giving us as marketers an incredible opportunity to help shape a new genre of media while also making money for our companies or clients.
If you are thinking about launching a podcast and don’t know where to start, check out my step-by-step guide here:
Do you already have a podcast? Please drop a link in the comments so readers can check it out.
Which of these podcast statistics convinced YOU to start podcasting?
Photo by Soundtrap on Unsplash
Podcast Statistics FAQs
Typically, your podcast statistics will be provided to you by the software you are using to record and post your podcast. There are also podcast analytics tools available to help you track how your podcast is doing.
If you release a podcast and it 26+ downloads within 7 days, it means it’s in the top 50% of podcasts. 72+ downloads mean it’s in the top 25%, more than 231 download is in the top 10%. 539+ downloads are in the top 5%, and more than 3062 simply means you are in the top1% of all podcasts.
It depends on the tool/software you are using but most of the time, yes. The tool will provide the statistics of how many plays, downloads, or streams your podcast got. It may be provided on a daily, weekly, or monthly basis.
Here are the line items used to measure podcast performance:
1. Total downloads
2. Number of downloads for each episode
3. Daily/Monthly number of downloads
4. Engagement rate
5. Website traffic