Podcast listenership is growing rapidly, so if you're a podcaster, aspiring podcaster, or marketer looking to use podcasts as part of your strategy then this article is for you!

The stats show that by 2024, there will be 504 million podcast listeners across the globe. That's quite an impressive figure, indicating that weekly podcast consumption tripled since 2013.

62% of Americans have listed to an audio podcast at least once while 91% of the Australian population older than 12 were aware of podcasting in 2021.

What's more, advertising spending in the podcasting industry has seen a huge hike over the past few years with it estimated to reach $4 billion by 2024.

The future of podcasting has never looked more exciting and here are the trends shaping this journey.

  • Podcasts Are Niching Down 🀏
  • Podcast Ad Spending Is Increasing πŸ’΅
  • Live Streaming Podcasts Are More Popular 🀳
  • Cross Promotion Draws Audiences πŸ‘­
  • Specialized Podcast Equipment Is Necessary πŸŽ™οΈ
  • Clickable Podcast Adverts ▢️
  • Voice Search Optimization πŸ—£οΈ
  • Podcast Platforms See More Competition 🀼
  • UX Data Brings More Listeners πŸ’β€β™€οΈ
  • Conclusion πŸ™Œ
  • Podcasts Are Niching Down 🀏

    Niching down is a concept most brands need to consider regardless of whether they're podcasting or not. It's even more important when it comes to podcasting.

    Becoming niche-specific essentially requires toning down your target to a smaller group. While many may think this would cause them to lose out on views, it actually gives the podcast (or brand) a broader appeal.

    You see, being super important in a community of a thousand is worth more than having millions of views that don't convert.

    The Joe Rogan Experience is the most popular podcast according to monthly listenership stats. In 2019, The Joe Rogan Experience podcast earned $30 million.

    At this point, the podcast industry may look saturated to the untrained eye, however, niching down allows you to take the top spot in a genre that has been left untapped.

    There is much more to be extracted from the podcasting market and firmly planting yourself into a specific niche will help you reap the rewards.

    Examples of popular nice specific podcasts include:

    • Crime Junkie
    • My Favorite Murder
    • The Business Of Fashion
    • Writing Excuses
    • Stuff You Should Know
    • Office Ladies
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    The number of podcast listeners is growing and capitalizing on this by developing unique podcasts will help boost your audience numbers.

    Niche podcasts are also helpful for marketers because they already know who the audience will be and can decide at an early stage if it aligns with their target market.

    Podcast Ad Spending Is Increasing πŸ’΅

    Growth, growth, growth!

    Podcast advertising revenue is expected to exceed $2 billion in 2023. By 2024, that ad revenue figure is set to hit the $4 billion mark.

    Despite the covid-19 pandemic, a pending recession, and wars across the globe, podcast ad spending is growing steadily.

    This is mainly because podcast investments are not a high-ticket item and they bring in decent returns on investment.

    The trick is investing in the right podcasts. Most brands have stated that podcasting is a long game since it doesn't bring in the dollars as fast as social media marketing or paid search.

    But picking the right podcaster and niche will help nurture prospects and lead to sales down the road.

    Podcasting ad revenue is growing faster (72%) than the total internet ad revenue (35%).

    This podcasting trend is amazing news for businesses and podcasters alike. Clearly audio content is not dead, despite the popularity of video.

    πŸ‘‰ So, if you're thinking of investing in podcasts in some form, the stats show that now is the best time to do it!

    The majority of podcast listeners (90%) feel that adverts influence their purchasing decisions.

    Live Streaming Podcasts Are More Popular 🀳

    Earlier we touched on the fact that audio content is doing well despite the popularity of videos (we're looking at you TikTok).

    However, the cool thing about podcasts is, they can easily be turned into a video-based format.

    πŸ’­
    Even betterβ€”they can be transformed into live videos, effectively skyrocketing engagement and podcast revenue.

    The list of popular podcasters already capitalizing on this trend is expansive as it becomes much easier.

    In the past podcasters had to use separate platforms for live videos and podcasting but the boom in martech tools has solved all those issues.

    According to Edison Research, 47% of Americans purchased smart speakers to listen to podcasts.

    Live streaming podcasts present an opportunity for more authentic connections between the listeners and the host. Additionally, they get to interact in real time via text-based chat.

    It's also great from a marketing standpoint as there is no better target data than those that come directly from the audience's mouth (or fingers).

    The global live-streaming market is estimated to reach over $247 billion by 2027.

    Cross Promotion Draws Audiences πŸ‘­

    Cross promotion is a broad concept related to the collaboration among creators, generally from the same niche.

    In the podcasting world, cross promotion can occur when two creators collaborate on a specific podcast episode or series of episodes, e.g. comedians could come together and roast each other.

    πŸ’‘
    This introduces each podcaster to a new set of audiences instantly and often translates into long-term increases in subscribers and listenership.

    Since podcasts can be listened to while performing other tasks, there is a demand for more podcasts as people complete daily chores, morning drives, or even their office work.

    This makes cross promotion a great strategy because listeners will trust their favorite podcasters and accessing the new person or channel is easy because the link will generally be placed in the collaboration podcast.

    According to Avery Friedman from Spotify,

    β€œA great thing about cross-promoting is that it guarantees you're getting your show in front of a new audience that is already familiar with the podcast format.”

    Cross promotion has really made traction among podcast hosts and will continue to do so in the future. There really is no downside to it, as long as you ensure the people you collaborate with align with you and your audiences' values.

    Specialized Podcast Equipment Is Necessary πŸŽ™οΈ

    Marketers are spending more on podcast advertising and consumers are forking out for smart speakers, so it's only natural that podcasters would splurge on more specialized podcasting equipment.

    Due to the popularity of podcasts and the podcast industry, many high-profile brands have started their own podcasts. Since they already have the finances to pour into this medium, their productions are of exceptional quality.

    πŸ™†
    Unfortunately, this raises listeners' expectations and anything that doesn't meet their standards could be disregarded.

    Luckily, there are tools that can help podcasters on a budget get that same quality. Nonetheless, stats have proven that podcast producers don't mind spending a little extra for specialized equipment to give their audience a great experience.

    The global wireless microphone market is projected to grow from $1.72 billion in 2022 to $3.29 billion by 2029.

    Additionally, podcasts are spending more on hosting platform subscriptions as it's a more reliable way of delivering podcast content on a regular basis.

    Aspiring and current podcasters should keep this at the front of their minds if they want to expand listenership for their podcasts.

    πŸ‘‰ A small investment could produce big rewards in the podcasting game.

    Clickable Podcast Adverts ▢️

    Spotify changed the game in 2022 when it announced that advertisers could run clickable ads within a podcast.

    Spotify is already the most popular podcast hosting platform for listening to audio podcasts in the U.S.

    Now, they've just cemented their place at the top of the podcasting hosting platforms for the near future, with their ad revenue expected to reach $2 billion by 2026.

    So, what exactly are clickable ads?

    Currently exclusive to pre-selected podcasts, these clickable ads or call-to-action cards will pop up on Spotify within the podcast page or as users navigate the app, giving them the opportunity to go directly to the advertiser's site.

    πŸ’
    This opens up podcasts to the world of digital marketing and allows marketers to be more creative in their visual offerings, something that podcasts didn't offer before.

    It's also more effective since podcasters no long have to spell out long URLs during the episode, which was time-consuming, left room for human error, and forced listeners to do some work.

    Voice Search Optimization πŸ—£οΈ

    Even before the covid-19 crisis, hands-free searches were gaining popularity. The usage of assistants like Alexa, Siri, and Google Assistant grew at a rapid pace, so optimizing for voice search was a key marketing strategy.

    By 2024, the number of digital voice assistants will reach 8.4 billion units.

    This trend has spilled over into the podcasting market, with podcasters being required to optimize for voice search if they want to retain a good percentage of audience listenership.

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    Some tips that can help with voice search engine ranking include:

    β€’ Creating descriptions and relevant titles for podcast episodes.
    β€’ Focusing on mobile voice optimization.
    79% of podcast listening hours are generated through smartphones
    β€’ Use free tools to find out what people are searching for and answer those questions in your podcast.

    It may not seem like it but voice search optimization is one of the trends you must catch on to.

    Think about it, podcast listeners have already proven their affinity for audio content above written or video-based, so it's highly likely they will use a voice assistant when searching for podcasts.

    39% of smart speaker users are weekly podcast listeners.

    Podcast Platforms See More Competition 🀼

    The power of podcasting has been realized and hosting platforms are keen to take that number one spot. However, there isn't a firm front-runner, since

    podcasters use at least three different apps to listen to podcasts.

    Spotify and Apple Podcasts win the majority of votes but many other platforms are seeing significant revenues.

    iHeart Radio had 30.02 million audience members in the United States in 2021

    This competition among host platforms has led to the creation of exclusive podcasts. For example, Spotify has invested close to $1 billion in original podcasts.

    This is great for advertisers, listeners, and content creators as the podcast scene expands even further.

    If you're looking to capitalize on this, the most popular podcast genres are:

    • Comedy podcasts
    • True crime podcasts
    • Sports content
    • Health & fitness podcasts

    UX Data Brings More Listeners πŸ’β€β™€οΈ

    Another growing trend when it comes to podcasts is the collection and usage of UX data to improve listener experience.

    Let's face it at the heart of all podcasts are listeners, and providing them with quality content will help your podcast retain views.

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    You don't want to have a podcast someone listens to, you want to be someone's favorite podcast. This should be the primary goal before monetization plans kick in.

    According to Podcast Insights, here are what audiences are looking for:

    • Free podcasts
    • Easy-to-navigate hosting sites
    • Personalized experiences
    • Downloadable content
    • Quality audio

    To ensure your users have the best experience, try asking them what they want. Surveys show that listeners don't mind answering questions if it will improve their listening experience.

    So, if you haven't already, it's time to leverage UX data.

    Conclusion πŸ™Œ

    Some are calling the upcoming years the golden era of podcasting and if the podcasting stats are anything to go by, they could be correct.

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    Keeping an eye on the trends shaping this industry will definitely help if podcasting is part of your business strategy on any level.

    Easy to get started, skyrocketing revenues, low investments, what more can we say? The world of podcasting is pretty lucrative.

    If you're willing to put in the hours, then podcasting should definitely be part of your long-term marketing plan.