Podcast Statistics and Trends (& Why They Matter)


Podcast Statistics and Trends (& Why They Matter)

At Riverside, we know that understanding podcast statistics and why they matter is key to producing an engaging, popular show. Leveraging these stats will allow you to strategize for success and even earn revenue from your podcast. 

For example, knowing that 70% of podcast fans listen while doing housework gives you great insight into the products you could advertise to monetize your podcast.

So, in this article, we’ll take a look at key podcast statistics and what they mean for you as a podcast producer, giving actionable tips for you to optimize your show.

Podcast Listener Demographics

monthly podcast listenership statistics

How Many People Listen to Podcasts?

monthly podcast listening stats us market

Who Listens To Podcasts?

  • 49% of monthly U.S. podcast listeners are aged between 12-34, 40% between 35 and 54 years old, and 22% are aged over 55.
  • Monthly podcast listeners also tend to work a full-time job (51%), 17% of whom have a household income between $100K-$150K. 28% have a university degree.

So what? Based on their education and employment statistics, regular podcast listeners have the power to make purchasing decisions and interest in products that will make their daily lives easier. Using these stats, you can strategize how to monetize your podcast.

How Often Do People Listen to Podcasts?

So what? Aim to reach those “super listeners” who listen to 20+ hours of podcasts a week and you’ll create a loyal fan base. Cross-promote your show on podcasts similar to yours and access new listeners who share your interests.

Where Do People Listen to Podcasts?

  • Almost 80% and 70% of survey responders respectively reported listening to podcasts while commuting and doing housework, while around 60% listen in their free time.

So what? Use these statistics to define the length of your podcast: the average podcast length - 25 and 30 minutes - reflects the length of the average commute in the U.S. These numbers can also help you to target your podcast ads to what your audience is doing when listening.

popular podcast platforms overview

How Do People Listen To Podcasts?

So what? Your show needs to be findable on the top podcast directories i.e. Spotify and Apple Podcasts. It’s also essential to optimize your content - the name of your podcast and its episode titles - for voice-activated smart speakers.

Where Do People Find Podcasts?

  • The main ways that people discover new podcasts to listen to are via charts and recommendations on their podcast listening app; through word of mouth from friends; promotions on other podcasts and on social media platforms or websites.

So what? Almost 60% of podcasters report building an audience as a top challenge, so use these statistics to reach new listeners:

  • Push your show up the in-app charts by encouraging your listeners to subscribe to your podcast in your podcast intro and recommend it to friends
  • Share your podcast across your social media accounts; work with relevant influencers to promote your show to their audiences
  • Work with other podcasters to promote each others’ shows

Why Do People Listen To Podcasts?

  • 74% of podcast listeners tune in to learn new things, while others listen regularly for entertainment, to keep up to date, to relax, and for inspiration.
  • Equally important is why *don’t* people listen to podcasts. Almost 50% of non-listeners say they don’t know where to find podcasts, while others report being overwhelmed by the number and choice of shows out there. 

So what? Ensuring your show is engaging and offers value to your listeners is essential. It also needs to be findable on the main podcast directories. This may sound like a no-brainer, but using software like Riverside to produce studio-quality podcasts is also key, as a third of people claim low podcast quality is the reason they don’t listen.

Podcast Statistics: What Should You Aim For?

How Many Podcasts Are There?

  • As of March 2021, Apple Podcasts hosts 47 million episodes on their platform from a total of 1.96 million podcasts, up from 550,000 podcasts just three years ago. 

So what? There’s a lot of competition! Make your podcast stand out by defining your unique selling point (USP) and target listener persona, and implementing clever marketing based on the statistics in this article.

How Many Listeners Does The Average Podcast Get?

So what? Make it clear how listeners can subscribe to your show by including a CTA in your podcast intro. Ramp up your marketing campaign on social media, websites, and via other relevant podcasts to access a wider audience.

What Are The Most Popular Podcasts?

  • The most popular podcast genres in the U.S. are comedy (22% of podcasts), followed by news (21%), true crime (18%), and sports (17%).

So what? Listen to some of the most popular podcasts in your genre, benchmark their format, length, and content, and take tips from the top podcasts in the world:

  • Comedy: Armchair Expert with Dax Shephard, Conan O’Brien Needs A Friend, How Did This Get Made?
  • News: The Daily and Ted Talks Daily
  • True crime: Serial, My Favorite Murder, In The Dark
  • Sports: Pardon My Take and The Bill Simmons Show

How Many Podcasts Use Video?

So what? Video podcasting is not yet the norm, which means it’s a great way for your show to stand out from the competition! Plus, using software like Riverside makes it really simple to record studio-quality video podcasts remotely, like the example below:

Producing A Podcast: Statistics

What Equipment Do Podcasters Use?

  • The top brands for podcasting microphones for 2020 were Rode, Blue, and Shure. The Blue Yeti was number 1 overall, with 17% of podcasters reporting using the microphone.
  • 74% of podcasters use headphones when recording and in post-production. That means 26% of people are risking not knowing if there are audio problems while they record!

So what? There’s so much different equipment out there and their popularity changes year on year. Check out our podcast starter kit guide to find the right kit for you and your budget.

What Software Do Podcasters Use?

So what? Platforms like Riverside allow you to record high-quality audio (and video!) wherever you are, facilitating remote podcast recording without sacrificing sound or visual quality.

riverside online recording studio

Average Podcast Length

  • We mentioned the average podcast length of 25 to 30 minutes earlier, but length varies greatly across genres.

So what? For podcasts starting out, it’s best to keep your show short and concise. Once you’ve got a loyal listener base, your episodes can go much longer and your fans will listen no matter what. The key is making sure to hook your listeners right at the start of your episode because podcasts lose between 20 to 35 percent of listeners in the first five minutes

Average Podcast Frequency & Schedule

So what? Learning how to schedule your podcast will help you to produce regular, engaging content to keep your listeners interested.

Podcasts Making Money: Statistics

Podcast Revenue

  • Almost 90% of podcast listeners surveyed by Discover Pods think podcast ads are effective, and over 55% have made a purchase based on a podcast ad. However, another study reported that 58% would skip a podcast ad.

So what? Use the podcast statistics above and our guide to monetizing your podcast to target your ads and sponsorships to your listener profile.

Put The Theory Into Practice: Get Recording Your Podcast With Riverside

The main takeaway of these podcast statistics is that podcasting is a huge and growing platform with a massive audience to tap into. Knowing the demographics of podcast listeners and comparing your podcast against a benchmark will help you define success for you. 

Leveraging these key stats and our actionable tips will help your podcast capture and maintain a loyal listener base. So, what are you waiting for? Find more guides for producing your podcast and get recording on Riverside!

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