Podcasts have exploded in popularity in recent years, with more and more people tuning in to listen to their favorite hosts, guests, and shows. The fact that you can listen wherever, whenever, and for however long you want to draw listeners in from across the globe.
According to a Forbes article, there are more than 5 million podcasts with over 70 million episodes available. Reportedly, the U.S. podcast market jumped from 82 million active listeners in 2021 to 100 million in 2022.
Convenience and Accessibility
One of the biggest reasons for the rise of podcasts is convenience. Podcasts are a form of audio entertainment and can be downloaded and listened to at any time, on any device. Unlike radio shows, which are only available during specific times, podcasts are available 24/7.
This means that listeners can indulge in their favorite podcasts while commuting, exercising, doing chores, or even working. Some podcasters also invest in videos for each episode, giving listeners the option to watch if they’d like to.
Triton Digital reports that 94% of podcast listeners in 2022 used mobile devices to hear their favorite shows, showing users are likely listening when they’re on the go.
Diverse Topics and Content
Another reason why podcasts are becoming more popular is the diversity of topics and content available. Whether you’re interested in politics, sports, true crime, or comedy, there is a podcast for you. Podcasts provide a platform for people with niche interests and viewpoints to share their ideas and connect with like-minded individuals.
Whether you’re looking to escape your own reality with a pop culture podcast or try to solve a mysterious murder in a crime podcast, you have options.
Forbes dug into a Triton Digital report for 2022 and found that the most popular genre downloaded, with a 23% share, was “news”. This is likely because of the Jan. 6 Committee hearings, midterm elections, and the War in Ukraine. Comedy was a popular genre with a 17% share, and true crime had a 15% share.
Triton notes that while the news genre produced a higher number of episodes per month, true crime has more downloads per episode.
Authenticity and Connection
Podcasts also give hosts and guests the chance to connect with their audience in a more personal way. Unlike traditional media, podcasts allow hosts and guests to speak candidly and authentically, creating a sense of connection with listeners. Listeners often feel like they are part of a community or conversation, which can be incredibly powerful.
If the host is a good storyteller, this can leave a powerful impression on the listener and draw them in for more episodes.
Some podcasts have dedicated fan bases that stay loyal to the host and wait patiently for new episodes to drop each week. According to the Triton Digital report, in 2022 podcast listeners downloaded an average of 3.8 hours of content each week. Growing this kind of fan base can lead to building your brand by using merchandise (shirts, mugs, etc.), hosting live shows, or hosting other events relevant to your podcast.
Low Cost of Entry
Starting a podcast is relatively easy and inexpensive, which has contributed to the growth of the medium. Anyone with a microphone and a computer can start a podcast and share their ideas with the world. This has led to a proliferation of new and diverse voices in the podcasting world, which in turn has attracted more listeners.
While you can start a podcast for free, if you’re looking to have long-term success you’ll have to invest some money into it. The average cost of starting a podcast is estimated at around $400, according to Podcastle. This price can depend on the type of equipment you invest in and the recording software you choose to go with. It also costs money to have your podcast on a hosting website like Spotify or Apple Podcasts.
Podcasts have become an attractive platform for advertisers. Because podcasts are so niche, advertisers can target a specific audience. This means that podcast ads are often more effective than traditional radio or television ads.
As a result, more and more businesses are investing in podcast advertising, which has helped to support the growth of the medium. Forbes reports that the U.S. podcast advertising dollars are projected to grow from $1.4 billion in 2021 to $4 billion by 2024.
Podsights found data to support that podcast lead conversion rates are better or on par with other forms of content consumption. They also found an increase in sales from customers who visited an advertiser’s website after hearing a podcast ad.
In general, pre-roll advertisements (the ads you hear before the podcast starts) outperform mid-roll ads.
Podcast Popularity Doesn’t Seem to be Slowing Down
Overall, podcasts are rising in popularity because they are convenient, offer diverse content, create a sense of connection, have a low cost of entry, and offer effective advertising opportunities.
As technology continues to improve and more people discover the joys of podcasting, it seems likely that podcasts will continue to grow in popularity.