What Every Marketer Needs to Know About Podcasts

There are two types of people in the world: podcast junkies and people who don’t know how to listen to podcasts.

While that may sound like a bit of a dramatic analysis, it’s true. Some people are barely aware of the existence of podcasts, but a growing number of people make podcasts a part of their daily routines. Podcast listeners are a devoted, loyal, and engaged group. And that group is getting larger.

You may be wondering…

  • Is starting a podcast something that makes sense for my marketing team?
  • Is this a trend that our organization can benefit from getting ahead of?
  • Is it a massive undertaking that needs a large budget and additional staff?

Today we want to unpack exactly what is going on in the world of podcasts and help you answer these questions.

How many people are listening to podcasts?

According to research conducted in 2018, an estimated 51 percent of American teens and adults have listened to at least one podcast—that’s about 144 million people. That number has steadily risen year over year since podcast data began being tracked in 2006.

Here’s some more mind-blowing numbers:

  • 90 million people listen to podcasts every month. That’s about one in three Americans.
  • 62 million tune in to podcasts on a weekly basis.

Here’s what’s kinda nuts…

Weekly podcast listeners listen to podcasts a LOT.

  • 17% listen to three podcasts each week.
  • 21% listen to four or five.
  • 17% listen to six to ten podcasts.
  • And 14% listen to eleven or more!

And of those who listen to podcasts on a weekly basis, the average listener listens to SEVEN different podcasts!

What makes podcasts so popular?

Mobile devices.

The advent of mobile devices has given people access to streaming audio in just about any location. In 2018, 76 percent of podcast listeners tuned in via a smartphone, tablet, or another portable device.

Another reason? It’s a secondary activity.

People often listen to podcasts while they’re doing another activity. Many listen at home while doing chores, or they listen on their commute, or at the gym.

Why start a podcast?

Podcast listeners are a highly engaged audience. According to research from the Knight Foundation, 96 percent of podcast listeners said they shared podcasts with a friend. Podcast listeners are fantastic brand evangelists. If they love a podcast, they share it.

Podcasts are still growing in popularity. If the past ten years is any indication, podcasts are poised to continue to grow for the foreseeable future. You can create content now that is discovered and appreciated by new audiences next year and the following year and the following year.

Starting a podcast is plausible. If you’re envisioning a radio station, let me stop you right there. You don’t need fancy equipment or a studio set up in order to produce a podcast. You need a computer, some headphones, and some free software. Now you definitely have options for spending more money to get a more professional sound, but really, anyone can start a podcast. It just takes a little research and time.

Here’s the biggest reason: podcasts are still relatively rare. While new podcasts are continuing to pop up every single day, there’s still way fewer podcasts than there are, say, blogs.

Molly Beck, founder of Messy.fm, a full-stack podcast production platform for business, explains:

“The democratization of text publishing platforms via Moveable Ink, WordPress, and Typepad, which all appeared in roughly the same time between 2001-2003, were the tipping point for adoption, growth and business use in blogging. At the end of 2000 there was 23 blogs listed on the internet. By 2006, there was 50 million (source).

It would be nearly impossible for you to name a business today that doesn’t have a blog, and the same will be true of having a podcast in a few years.

Advantages of a brand starting a podcast now means that their organization’s message is shared with an audience of current and potential customers that are looking to audio content in increasing frequency; that the brand is seen as forward-looking and digitally savvy; and podcasting can fit with a tight marketing budget in ways that other marketing initiatives (outdoor, OOH, live events) cannot. But most importantly: 90 million Americans listen to podcasts at least one a month, but only 660,000 podcasts exist in total on Apple Podcasts. The time is now to take advantage of the white space on the creation side so you can reach a huge audience of listeners before your competition does.”

Whether you are a B2B or B2C company, podcasting may be the right tool to use to grow your reach and engage on a deeper level with your customers, clients, constituents, or donors.

by McKinley Marketing Partners