If you found that interesting, keep reading because we’ve got plenty more where that came from.
Below, we’ve compiled the most important podcasting statistics you need to know this year. All of the stats below are as relevant as ever and will help you to get a good idea of the current state of the medium.
Let’s get started!
Podcast listenership statistics
Let’s kick things off by taking a look at the who, what, where, and how of podcast listenership.
1. 55% of Americans have listened to a podcast.
Of that 55%, 37% listen monthly and 24% listen weekly. Even amongst those US citizens that haven’t listened to a podcast, 75% are at least familiar with the term ‘podcasting’.
The takeaway: This goes to show that podcasting is no longer a niche market. It’s now very much a mainstream form of media consumption that the vast majority of people in the US are aware of.
2. 40% of listeners find new podcasts on directories
More people discover new podcasts directly through the search function on their favorite podcast app directory than through any other channel. This is followed by asking somebody they know for recommendations (18.3%), asking on social media (15.2%), and searching on Google (13.6%).
The takeaway: Search engine marketing seems to be less effective for reaching new podcast listeners than blog readers. Instead, it’s much more important to list your podcast on all the major directories your audience is using.
And speaking of directories…
3. Apple Podcasts is the most popular podcast directory
It has more unique downloads than any other platform, according to Chartable. The biggest competitor to Apple Podcasts seems to be Spotify, which is a close contender for the top spot.
The takeaway: Listing your podcast on Apple Podcasts and Spotify should be your number one priority – but don’t stop there. The more places your audience can access your pods, the better, so aim to list them on as many directories as possible.
4. More than half of all podcast listening happens at home
52% of listeners enjoy their podcasts most frequently at home. Somewhat surprisingly, this is vastly greater than the number of people that listen in their car (18%). This is markedly different from radio, where over half of all listeners will only listen in their car.
The takeaway: Make it easy for your audience to listen to your podcast on their home smart devices like Google Home and Alexa, as you can bet a big chunk of your listenership will be using these devices to listen at home. This means making sure your podcast is approved to be on Google Play Music and optimizing your podcast name and episode titles for voice search.
5. 94% of podcast listeners tune in while doing other tasks
This is according to an article published on the BBC. The most common tasks people do while listening include chores (61%), exercising, shopping, and running errands.
The takeaway: Podcast is very much a medium that listeners like to enjoy ‘passively’. It’s something to enjoy in the background, rather than the main event. Consider the implications of this for the kind of content you create and make sure it’s suitable for passive listening.
6. South Korea remains the leading country for podcast adoption
According to the 2019 Reuters Digital News Report, more than half of all South Koreans (53%) had listened to a podcast in the last month, significantly more than any other country. Other ‘tier one’ countries also top the list, including the US (35%), UK (21%), Spain (39%), and Canada (29%).
The takeaway: Despite podcasting growing quickly in emerging markets like China and South America, the ripest audience for marketers to focus on still currently lies in wealthy tier one countries.
Podcast creation statistics
Here are a few podcast statistics that are relevant for creators.
7. There were 850,000 active podcasts at the start of 2020
And 30 million podcast episodes in total published across the internet. (Podcast Insights, 2020). While 850,000 might seem like a lot, podcasting is actually still an undersaturated market. Those numbers pale in comparison to YouTube video content, for example, where there were more than 37 million channels in 2020 and 300 hours of video uploaded every minute.
The takeaway: It’s not too late to enter the podcasting game and claim your share of the growing market!
8. A typical podcast is downloaded around 141 times in the first month
In contrast, the most successful top 10% of podcasts earn a whopping 3,400 downloads in the first 30 days. (Source: Income School)
The takeaway: This is a good gauge for creators to measure the success of their new podcasts. If you can beat the 141-download-per-month mark, you’re doing well.
9. ‘Comedy’ is the most popular podcast genre
This is according to data from the third quarter of 2019, published on Statista. 36% of survey respondents had listened to a comedy podcast in the last week. Other popular genres included ‘Society and Culture’ (23%) and ‘News’ (22%)
The takeaway: Humour goes a long way. If you’re trying to reach the maximum number of listeners, consider creating comedic content.
Podcast marketing statistics
And finally, here are a few important podcast statistics for marketers to make note of.
10. 38% of podcast listeners purchase products mentioned in podcasts
Despite the fact that podcast listeners tune in for entertainment, over a third of them will make a purchase decision based on podcast advertisements. This is according to data from 2017.
The takeaway: Podcast advertisements convert well and offer a higher ROI than many other marketing channels.
11. Podcasts are especially effective at engaging ‘ad avoiders’
According to the BBC’s Audio: Activated study, ‘ad avoiders’ showed 22% higher engagement, emotional intensity, and memory encoding when listening to podcast brand mentions than TV brand mentions.
The takeaway: Brand advertisements on podcasts are an effective way for marketers to engage with a traditionally hard-to-reach demographic.
12. Almost 90% of podcast listeners believe podcast ads are effective
A 2019 report found that 89.8% of podcast listeners believe that podcast ads are effective. It also found that 86.5% of participants listen to podcast ads, and 55.6% have made a purchase based on an ad.
The takeaway: This is more evidence that podcast ads are a valuable tool in your marketing arsenal.
Wrapping it up
And that concludes our roundup of the latest podcasting statistics, facts, and trends.
Podcasts are incredibly popular but they’re set to surge in popularity further. Especially considering how much brands are investing in the medium. One great example is Spotify. They’re leaning heavily on podcasting which is encouraging adoption/usage of podcasts in general. It also provides an additional platform to get your podcast heard.