Some may think that podcasting is a simple art, putting a microphone in front of them and recording themselves saying what they want about a number of topics. However, there’s a certain finesse to doing the right kind of podcast, the kind that generates big audience numbers and more interest in the field.
That said, it appears that interest in podcasting has grown immensely, according to a number of new charts put up by Digiday. The site reports that a full 17 percent of the U.S. population 12 and over listen to at least one podcast per month, based on an Edison Research study.
The first chart above indicates that around 27 million Americans listen to a podcast once a week, based on a random sampling of 2,000 Americans aged 12 and up. There was a slight drop in listenership back in 2013, but the numbers continue to grow steadily over the years, reaching the 17 percent peak for this year. This shows that there’s still a great interest in podcasts, ranging across various topics from television to video games to entertainment.
The Serial podcast show continues to be the most successful podcast out there, with an audience of over six million unique downloads per episode (according to Podtrac). The show has managed to rack up 72 million total downloads in all, with roughly 24 million of those taking place this year. As you can see from the numbers above, it was able to generate a strong “off-season” ad campaign, and will no doubt continue to increase going into its second season.
That said, advertising for podcasts remains minimal at best, mainly because audiences are still growing for it. The podcast ad market spend is around $34 million, and should remain on that level through 2016, according to a ZenithOptimedia report. A good portion consist of wealthy or “well-to-do” types, with 24 percent of Americans with a college degree listening to the shows, while 26 percent of those make more than $100,000 annually, according to Infinite Dial.
Podcasting “is really interesting from a sizzle perspective as a media professional,” said John Tuchtenhagen, senior vice president of media at Digitas, “but in terms of scale, it’s a pebble in the ocean compared to Spotify or Pandora or terrestrial radio.”
There is room for even more growth, as many companies have featured their advertising on podcasts, like Google, PayPal and HBO. More companies should take interest as well, with advertising results in 62 percent average unaided ad recall, an 81 percent average increase in product or service awareness, a 187 percent increase in usage content (the highest overall) and a 69 percent average brand favorability rating. So, yes, there’s a market there.
If you haven’t heard podcasts lately, definitely do some shopping around. Whether it’s Serial, the array of ESPN podcasts or the likable nature of Gamertag Radio, there’s definitely something to listen to.