Podcasting is booming and is showing no signs of slowing. And, while the pandemic brought on some changes to where and how users tune in, the upward trend in podcast listening hasn’t shifted. 

More companies and brands are creating podcast content as well as putting ad dollars into podcasting.  

This podcasting fact sheet reviews key statistics and trends. 

Key Statistics and Trends

Podcast familiarity and listenership are up, with Spotify leading the pack among online audio platforms.  

Majority of Americans are now familiar with podcasting. 75% of Americans ages 12+ (approximately 212 million people) are now familiar with podcasting, up from 70% in 2019. And, 37% (104 million) listen monthly, up from 32% in 2019. — 50 Crucial Content Facts

More Americans than ever are listening to podcasts. As of 2021, 41% of Americans ages 12 or older have listened to a podcast in the past month, up from 37% in 2020 and 9% in 2008. — Pew Research Center 

Spotify, Pandora, and Google Play are most popular for online audio. Americans ages 12 and older are most likely to listen to online audio using Spotify (31%), followed by Pandora (18%), and Google Play/YouTube Music (14%). — Infinite Dial, Edison Research and Triton

The pandemic changed listening habits. “The share of time spent listening to audio at home in the U.S. increased 44% during covid-19 disruption…While 48.5% of all listening occurred at home before COVID-19 (and this finding has been very consistent since Share of Ear began in 2014), 70.0% of all listening was at-home in May [2020].  All three other locations—car, work and ‘other’—dropped.” — Share of Ear, Edison Research

Young adults are most likely to listen to podcasts. Americans ages 12 to 34 are the most likely to say they listened to a podcast in the last month (50%), followed by those ages 34 to 54 (29%), and those 55+ (21%). — Infinite Dial, Edison Research and Triton

Benefits and Best Practices 

Podcasting is a growing source of revenue and an impactful way to market your business. 

Many users are willing to pay for great audio content. The portion of the American population that is paying for an audio subscription of some kind has doubled since 2015, and is now almost half of everyone (47%). — Share of Ear, Edison Research

Podcast ad spending is increasing rapidly. “U.S. podcast ad spending will grow 10.4% to $782.0 million. It will surpass $1 billion in 2021 and reach $1.61 billion by 2024, more than double its current level.” — Insider Intelligence, Podcast Industry Report

Podcast ad revenues also on the upswing. Revenues from podcasting in the U.S. grew 19% year-over-year in 2020, and are on track to exceed $1 billion in 2021 and $2 billion by 2023. — Interactive Advertising Bureau

Ads on podcasts have an impact. “60% of consumers surveyed reported that they’ve looked up a product or service after hearing an ad, and 25% of them have purchased a product they discovered through a podcast ad.” — Adobe Analytics

Give it time when launching a new podcast. It took the InVision team several years to grow a substantial following for its podcast. But after three years, the podcast is tremendously popular with over a million downloads. Creating Content Designers Crave: Q&A with InVision’s Director of Design Stories

Companies should embrace journalistic practices when creating podcast content. For example, CVSHealth has branched out into the podcast space with Healthy Conversations, which it says “brings experts together for an open discussion on timely topics in health care to uncover clinical insights and the emerging innovations that are transforming our industry in real time.” What Is Brand Journalism?

Bottom Line

Podcasting is growing in popularity as users gain access to more digital devices and platforms for streaming audio online easily. So, whether you’re thinking about creating a podcast or investing ad dollars in the space, now is a good time to make a move. 

The Author

Content Science partners with the world’s leading organizations to close the content gap in digital business. We bring together the complete capabilities you need to transform or scale your content approach. Through proprietary data, smart strategy, expert consulting, creative production, and one-of-a-kind products like ContentWRX and Content Science Academy, we turn insight into impact. Don’t simply compete on content. Win.

Last Updated: August 5, 2021

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