Audiences Are Listening.
Updated: Nov 23, 2021
A decade ago, less than a quarter of Americans aged 12 and older were listening to podcasts.
Now, the majority of them are listening – an estimated 144 million people in 2019.
Podcasting isn’t a fringe medium anymore. Millions of people of all ages and backgrounds now incorporate listening into their everyday routines. They turn to podcasts to be exposed to and to learn new things, to be entertained, to be informed, and to connect with a story.
More than 50 percent of monthly listeners said they are more likely to consider a brand because they’re featured on a podcast. If brands can produce creative, engaging and creative podcasts, they can take full advantage of the opportunity podcasts provide to drive value and grow.
Edison Research, in partnership with Triton Digital, publishes an annual report, The Podcast Consumer, that includes the most up-to-date research and data to show how podcast audiences are listening – invaluable information for a brand looking to begin leveraging a podcast for their organization.
In this blog post, we’ll review important data from The Podcast Consumer 2019:
Podcast listening has grown consistently every year.
In the past five years, the number of podcast listeners has grown more than four percent year-on-year. If that trend holds steady moving forward, approximately 75 percent of the American population aged 12 and older will be listening to podcasts by 2025.
The demographics of podcast listeners align closely to the U.S. population as a whole.
Podcasts don’t only target one niche demographic – they are listened to by people of all ages and backgrounds across the United States. 54 percent of monthly podcast listeners are men, while 46 percent are women. 66 percent are white, 11 percent are African-American, 9 percent are Hispanic, and 4 percent are Asian.
Younger listeners are the fastest-growing audience.
A good sign for podcasts’ long-term growth potential, more and more Americans aged 12-24 are becoming regular monthly podcast listeners. That age bracket increased ten percent – from 30 percent of the total population to 40 percent – in just one year, from 2018 to 2019. And more young people are listening to podcasts (39 percent) than are represented in the population (28 percent).
Still, podcasts are not being adopted by only younger listeners. Almost an equal amount of regular monthly podcast listeners (39 percent) are aged 25-54 – a demographic who has reached financial independence and have the greatest buying power.
Listeners aren’t just wealthy and well-educated.
It’s not just the “one percent” or Ph.D.’s who listen to podcasts. The majority of monthly podcast listeners (59 percent) make an annual household income of $75,000 or less. And there’s equal representation of listeners across education levels, with 20 percent of monthly listeners having a high school diploma or less, 27 percent with some college experience, 25 percent with a four-year degree, and 28 percent with some grad school experience. Research shows that 51 percent are employed full-time, 17 percent part-time, and 10 percent are students.
Podcast listeners spend a lot of time listening.
Visitors to a website spend an average of 2-3 minutes on a page. Only about 66 percent of blog post readers will read all of a post.
Almost all monthly podcast listeners (93 percent) say they listen to most or all of a podcast episode – even if it’s over an hour long. They listen to about seven episodes a week, on average. And they spend roughly an hour and a half of their day listening to podcasts. That adds up to 42 hours per month and 504 hours – 21 days’ worth – per year. Through what other channels can you have that much time to share your story with a captive audience?
Listeners love how you can listen to podcasts anywhere and while doing anything – or nothing at all.
Monthly podcast listeners use a smartphone or mobile device most often to listen to podcasts because they love the portability of those devices. It is easy to multitask and listen to a podcast – while driving (64 percent of monthly listeners), while walking (49 percent), while working out at the gym (43 percent), or while riding public transit (37 percent) – however, the majority of listeners (70 percent) just focus on listening to the podcast without doing anything else.
Full digital campaigns put podcasts where listeners look to discover new content.
In this day and age, consumers find and engage with brands in a number of different ways, mostly through digital channels. The same is true for podcasts, as 73 percent of monthly podcast listeners discover new podcasts by searching the Internet and 67 percent find them from social media posts. Word-of-mouth recommendations from friends and family are still powerful, as 66 percent said they’ve found new shows because someone they know recommended it. And 62 percent said they listened to a new podcast after hearing it mentioned on another show.
Podcasts are not just “the new hot fad,” as I’ve sometimes heard them called. They’re an invaluable opportunity to tap into a growing, passionate and diverse audience, capture their attention, and connect with them in a human and engaging way that other channels can’t replicate.
Leveraging a podcast towards a full digital campaign that shares it across all of a brand’s channels – social media, website, email, YouTube, and more – meets this audience where they already are and maximizes the value it can generate for a brand over the long-term. Podcasts aren’t going anywhere, and now is the time to take advantage of this opportunity to tell your story and connect with your target audience.
Originally published on Ambedo Audio's blog on March 10, 2020.