Technological innovations are constantly happening in the digital era, with many driven by the goal of making life easier for consumers and companies alike. For instance, marketers once only had a few options for advertising formats, which is incomparable to today’s vast digital prospects.
Take short-form web videos, for example. As their popularity continues to rise, businesses are starting to leverage channels such as TikTok and Instagram Reels to showcase their content and products. Of course, every emerging technology is a new growth opportunity for marketers, regardless of the format or accessibility, but the channel that reigns supreme in the age of convenience has to be podcasts.
Podcast marketing is a digital marketing trend rapidly gaining traction among web users, with the recent COVID-19 pandemic lockdowns playing a significant role in its popularity. In 2021, more than 82 million Americans listened to podcasts, with millennials and Gen Zs comprising most of the demographic, based on data from Statista.
It’s no wonder that 51% of listeners pay more attention to the format’s ads than any other media. While listening to a podcast is familiar, its popularity among streaming services and traditional radio has transformed the platform into a valuable marketing tool for enterprises worldwide. Here are a few podcast statistics that cover the specifics of this marketing format.
- 51% of marketers will continue investing in podcasts (HubSpot)
- 82 million Americans listened to podcasts in 2021 (Statista)
- Spotify had 28.3 million podcast listeners in 2021—200,000 more than Apple Podcasts (eMarketer)
- 424.2 million people worldwide consumed podcasts in 2022 (Statista)
Podcast Listening Behavior
- In 2021, American listeners spent 11.2 hours listening to podcasts every week (Edison Research)
- 67% of podcast listeners tune in weekly, while 38% do so monthly (Edison Research)
- Millennials and Gen Z are 5% more likely to use podcasts for work (EX-IQ)
- 75% of Gen Z subscribe to an audio-streaming service (EX-IQ)
- 73% of podcast listeners tune in on smartphones (Edison Research)
- 59% of podcasts are consumed at home (Edison Research)
Podcast Marketing Statistics
- In 2022, American marketers spent $1.73 billion on podcast ads (Statista)
- Podcast ad spending will exceed $2.5 billion by 2024 (Statista)
- By 2024, the podcasting industry will be worth $4 billion (IAB)
- In 2021, pre-roll podcast advertising revenue share rose to 32% (IAB)
- 55% of podcast ads last 16 to 30 seconds (IAB)
- Branded podcast content increased by 82% from 2020 to 2021 (Chartable)
- 51% of listeners pay attention to podcast ads more than ads from other media (Edison Research)
- 56% of listeners consider purchasing after listening to a brand’s podcast ad (Edison Research)
- 76% of listeners convert after hearing sponsored podcast content (National Public Media)
Podcast Marketing Competitiveness
As podcasts continue to rise through the ranks of audio content, you can expect more businesses to use the format for their marketing operations. The growing number of listeners paves the way for podcasting to become one of the most effective marketing tools.
According to HubSpot, 51% of marketers already incorporating podcasts into their marketing strategies are planning to support more, with 53% claiming it’s the most effective format despite low returns on investment.
The data indicates that the podcast marketing industry’s competitiveness will intensify in the following years. Mid to large-scale companies will start to adopt podcasting as an effective way to grow their brand, leaving less room for startups and small companies. Therefore, it’s best to take advantage of the opportunity to tap into podcast marketing while the competition has yet to become restrictive.
In such a fast-paced industry, you can market through as many creators and podcasts as possible. However, keeping ads relevant to listeners is still essential. Study your audience and how your brand can satisfy their needs, and only align with shows that represent your values and resonate with your target audience.
Marketers’ plans to invest in podcasts aren’t without reason. Edison Research found that in 2021 alone, American listeners spent an average of 11.2 hours per week listening to podcasts. As a result, the country is becoming a breeding ground for innovative marketing strategies revolving around the format, such as podcasting advertising and influencer marketing.
What about the rest of the world? Data from Statista states that there were 424.2 million podcast listeners globally in 2022, a significant 40 million increase from the previous year. Another study shows that Sweden has the most listeners relative to its population, with 47% consuming at least one podcast in twelve months, followed closely by Ireland and Brazil.
Content creators are quick to hop on board this rapid audience growth. Data from eMarketer shows that Spotify had more listeners than Apple Podcasts in 2021, with around 28.3 million US listeners—200,000 more than its rival. The varying popularity of different podcasting platforms should be a primary consideration when planning your marketing strategy.
Listener Demographics and Habits
Given podcasts’ sizeable consumer base, marketers use listener demographics and behavioral data to strengthen their marketing strategies more effectively.
For instance, a survey conducted by EX-IQ shows that millennials and Gen Z are 5% more likely to listen for and during work, with customer service employees being most likely to do so. In addition, millennials comprise most listeners of the two youngest generations, with one-third consuming podcasts regularly.
The same study expects Gen Z to overtake this trend, given that 75% subscribe to an audio-streaming service compared to 60% of millennials. The two youngest generations also listen to longer podcasts of at least 26 minutes long compared to older age groups. High podcast usage among millennials and Gen Z means targeting your advertisements toward younger generations is crucial.
Edison Research learned that 67% of listeners listen to podcasts weekly, while only 38% do so monthly. Given the widespread use of handheld devices, 73% are listening on their smartphones, thanks to the format’s accessibility and ease of use. That said, listeners consume 59% of podcasts within the confines of their homes, according to another study.
The world continues to evolve, and so are how people learn. Nowadays, convenience is an essential consideration. Since the format is accessible from most handheld devices, consumers can take podcasts anywhere—at home, school, work, and the periods in between, which means user activity and time aren’t necessarily barriers for paid campaigns.
As an emerging marketing goldmine, incorporating podcasts into your strategies can significantly boost your relevance, increase brand awareness, and help you take advantage of relatively low competition.
Innovations in podcast marketing technologies have come a long way. For instance, IAB shows that 84% of podcast ads are dynamic. Dynamic ads aren’t “baked in” or read by hosts but are digital audio gaps, letting marketers stitch new ads into an existing episode anytime and anywhere in the podcast. The technology provides flexibility for advertisers and keeps ads relevant to listeners.
The same IAB study finds that 55% of all podcast ads last 16 to 30 seconds, emphasizing the importance of having a direct but elaborate approach to marketing content.
According to Chartable, the podcasting industry also saw an 82% increase in branded content from 2020 to 2021. Branded content is a paid marketing campaign that can be indiscernible from the channel’s regular broadcast, and the growing number of marketers implementing this technology can allude to its effectiveness.
Meanwhile, the IAB study showed that the revenue share of pre-roll ads increased to 32% in 2021 from 22% in the preceding year. These ads play before the podcast content, typically lasting for 10 to 15 seconds, implying that even intrusive strategies can be beneficial when incorporated into podcasts.
Expenses and revenues
Marketers are keen to stake their operations on podcasts’ growth. However, while the format offers many opportunities, you still need to consider investment expenses.
To illustrate, Statista finds that marketers in the United States spent a whopping $1.73 billion on podcasts in 2022, which is forecasted to reach and exceed $2.5 billion by 2024. In turn, the entire podcasting industry could be worth $4 billion by this year, according to data from IAB.
Consumer behavior toward podcast marketing
Studying consumer behavior and responses to podcast marketing tactics can help you decide whether to use this approach. Fortunately, recent statistics show that podcast advertising is becoming an effective business strategy that lets businesses reach a wider audience.
For example, Edison Research’s Super Listeners 2021 survey found that 51% of listeners paid more attention to podcast advertisements than other media channels—roughly half of the respondents, hence the growing business support for the format. Meanwhile, 56% said that hearing a podcast ad makes them more likely to purchase than hearing it on other channels.
National Public Media’s findings complement this figure. They claim that a staggering 76% of those who hear sponsored podcast content have taken action accordingly, which may include purchases and subscriptions.
However, 22% of the respondents claim that there are “way too many” podcast ads compared to other formats. So, while audiences generally take podcast advertising well, it’s still important to avoid stuffing their ears with marketing campaigns.
Podcasts: The Future of Marketing
Taking advantage of emerging technologies and marketing trends is crucial to remaining in the game, as each new platform is another sandbox for companies to develop innovative processes.
The popularity of podcasts among consumers and marketers may be staggering, but the format’s existence as a marketing tool isn’t. After all, advertising through audio platforms has been around for a while, as radio stations have been broadcasting paid commercials for a century. It’s been taking modernized forms as audiobooks, audio blogs, and jingles, but none are as burgeoning as podcasts.
If podcasting maintains its trajectory and reputation as a convenient and accessible content format in 2023, it will soon become a must-have strategy for marketers in any industry. So, be sure to incorporate them into your campaigns. Who knows? Podcasting could be the holy grail that catapults your brand to new heights.
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