The last few years have been the most noteworthy for podcasting since the modern advent of audio blogging in the mid-2000s. At that time, hardly 1 in every 5 Americans knew what podcasting was, let alone the industry it would grow to become. Today, nearly 3 in 4 Americans are familiar with podcasting and listen to at least one podcast regularly.
It’s little surprise as to how podcasts have become so popular over the past decade or so: they can be produced on virtually any topic — personal or professional — and tend to come in a quickly and easily consumable format. The podcasting industry as a whole, however, is still expected to see even more exponential growth over the next five years. According to one analysis by Grand View Research, the podcast industry was valued at some $9.28 billion in 2019, with a projected compound annual growth rate (CAGR) of 27.5% between 2020 and 2027.
With such wild growth teeming on the horizons for podcasting, it’s vital for podcasters — amateurs and professionals alike — to remain updated and in line with the industry’s trends to reap the benefits of such projected exponential growth. This article will cover several ways podcasters can launch or grow a successful podcast while keeping in line with the industry’s current trends.
Your Growing Audience, Research, and Market
No matter what type of podcast you host, your show cannot grow without an audience that grows alongside it. When it comes to understanding the demographics of most podcast listeners, industry data comes up with three prominent statistics:
40% of podcast listeners are between ages 12-25
60% of regular podcast listeners possess a college, post-graduate, or higher-level educational degree
80% of listeners are students or part-time or full-time employees
This data means that, regardless of what sort of podcast you host, most of your listeners possess similar backgrounds or demographics. Of the nearly 200 million Americans who have some level of familiarity with podcasting, 62 million regularly tune in to their favorite shows each week. In addition, they tend to consume approximately 8 hours of podcast content weekly across an average of 7 different podcasts.
Commonalities and user data between listeners can also vary depending on the genre of the podcast. For instance, fans of comedy podcasts tend to consume more pet food, beer, and carbonated drinks, whereas coffee is the preferred drink for fans of political or business podcasts. By combining general market data of podcast listeners with your podcast analytics, you begin generating a clearer picture of which demographics are most likely to listen to your podcast, which can allow you to provide them with higher quality content.
Quality Is Where Your Podcast’s Growth and Competition Meet
The days of pumping out content solely for the sake of creating content are long gone. Not only are listeners less likely to continue downloading content that they view as lower quality, but content marketers are less likely to advertise with brands that generate lower-quality content. This tells us that the higher quality of your podcast’s content, the more likely you are to retain listeners and grow your audience. The greater your chances are of receiving sponsors for your podcast in the form of market advertising.
Bear in mind that while the podcast industry has never been as saturated as it is today, its project CAGR hints that it will become even more saturated over the next 5-6 years. Compared to other platforms, however, podcasting is still a relatively untapped market. For example, while over 37 million channels are on YouTube, there are still just over 2 million podcasts today.
Though this will undoubtedly change over the coming years, the sooner you can begin generating higher quality content for your podcast, the sooner you can grow your podcast into an established brand before others absorb its potential market share.
Optimize Your Podcast and Its Content for Voice Search
If you’re a podcaster and are unfamiliar with the concept of voice search optimization, now is the time to change that. Our modern world is one of the omnichannel: any winning brand existing and operating with the goal of growth in today’s ever-evolving digital landscape cannot limit itself to only one or two channels to access their audience. While social media, email marketing, and paid advertisements are some of the most common ways to do this, 2020 has brought with it another rapidly growing channel in user popularity: voice search.
According to data from Google, 27% of all consumers have used voice search on their mobile device or smartphone, and roughly half of all searches made in 2020 were done via voice. Google also recently announcedthat it would begin including podcasts in its engine’s voice search capabilities. This means that, when it comes to your podcast’s SEO strategy, your keywords and targeted phrases need to match conversational language better, as this is how some 50% of the population could potentially discover your show or brand.
Again, regarding the industry’s projected CAGR, that statistic is likewise expected to grow into 2027, making voice search optimization for your podcast all the more vital.
Podcasts Listeners Will Accept More Ads, Prompting More Sponsorship Opportunities
For a moment, consider your favorite YouTuber or online influencer. Do you generally tend to trust their opinion on specific topics? How about when it comes to reviewing specific products or new B2C services?
Like other influencers of the modern era, podcast hosts are unique in that their content attracts a digital audience: a following of listeners who tune into your podcast not only because they enjoy your content — they trust it. As a result, your listeners will also be more likely to trust your opinion regarding the products, brands, or B2C services you choose to promote and market on your platform.
Ads on podcasts tend to be shorter in length, more creative, and more engaging in the way they are presented to listeners. As a result, most podcast listeners recognize ad placements in their favorite shows as less intrusive. They are more likely to respond positively to them, especially if an ad is placed on a show that they are loyal to. This dynamic shift in attitude towards advertising presents more opportunities for your podcast to receive sponsorship via B2C marketing brands, which can retain a larger audience of listeners and grow your audience simultaneously.
Overall, the podcast industry is ripe with opportunities for both new and seasoned show hosts. In taking note of these industry trends and the ways they might evolve or change over the coming years, you can ensure that your podcast is poised to take advantage of the industry’s projected growth.