It seems like everyone has a podcast these days. Maybe you’re even considering starting one of your own.
Assuming you know your podcast basics, you might wonder precisely how popular podcasts are and what kinds of podcasts are worth starting.
In this article, we’ll look at how the popularity of podcasts is growing and what developing trends are on the horizon.
We’ll also discuss the market for podcasts and analyze the pros and cons of starting your own podcast.
But first, let’s get a handle on the current state of podcasts popularity.
Are Podcasts Popular Now?
Yes, podcasts are experiencing a tremendous boom in popularity right now.
A big part of the growth in podcasts’ popularity is the COVID pandemic which led to global quarantines that left people with a large amount of free time needed to fill.
According to an article in Forbes magazine, approximately 37% of Americans listened to a podcast every month in 2020.
Roughly 60% of that podcast listening time was done at home.
Are Podcasts Growing in Popularity?
Yes, podcasts have been steadily growing in popularity for several years.
However, the market is still far from saturated.
In 2019, 32% of Americans listened to podcasts.
If we compare that to the 2020 statistics above, we can see that between 2019-2020, the pool of podcast listeners in America increased by 5%.
And this number only continues to grow over time.
Podcasts’ popularity has also caught the eye of advertisers.
In a 2020 survey, Magellan AI found that the average number of ads in 400 of the top podcasts increased from 3.6 to 6.2 between January and November.
Is There a Demand for Podcasts?
Yes, there is a considerable demand for new podcasts across many different genres.
Approximately 120 million Americans regularly listen to podcasts every month, and experts expect that number to increase by about 20 million annually for the next couple of years.
Every one of those listeners, new and old, will be interested in finding new podcasts to enjoy at home, work, or anywhere else.
How Can I Check the Popularity of a Podcast?
If you want to start listening to the most popular podcasts or research your future podcast’s potential competitors, here are a few ways to check a podcast’s popularity.
Read Its Reviews
These sites allow listeners to leave a star rating and short review.
Read some of a podcast’s reviews to understand better who is listening and what they like or dislike about the show.
Check How It Ranks
Podcast platforms like Spotify make it easy to compare the ratings/rankings of podcasts.
Sort the podcasts by genre/category and find the podcast you’re looking for.
The top podcasts will have the most significant number of subscribers.
Check Google Trends
You can use Google Trends to find information about how a given search term is trending on the popular search engine.
Try terms such as “true crime podcasts” to see what related terms and queries people use to find new podcasts to listen to.
What Are Future Trends for Podcasting?
If you are interested in starting your own popular, profitable podcast, you need to understand some of the emerging trends that will determine the success of podcasts in future years.
Higher Standards for Content
Like blogs and their readers, the growing pool of podcasts means that discerning listeners can be more selective in their listening choices.
However, the difference between podcasts and blogs is that there are still far fewer podcasts.
This means that focusing on the quality of your podcast’s content can help raise you above your competitors in the podcast industry.
In the Forbes article we mentioned earlier, Magellan AI surveyors found that the number of unique advertisers in podcasts in 2020 increased from 603 in April to 855 in September.
This trend is only expected to increase as advertisers increasingly leverage podcasting for their marketing needs.
Higher Levels of Competition
With heavy users (listening to 6+ hours/week) using three different platforms on average to find their podcasts, the competition to capture their attention is growing.
Podcast platforms such as Spotify, Apple Podcasts, and Pandora constantly struggle to grab the top spot in the podcast industry.
Influencers As Hosts
Social media influencers have caught on to podcasts’ brand-building and marketing opportunities.
We can and will continue to see a growing number of influencers using their famous name and established audiences to quickly take advantage of the money-making opportunity that a podcast represents.
One of the most beneficial aspects of a podcast is leveraging an archive of old episodes.
Using your old podcast episodes can be a great way to extend your influence without the work of creating new content.
A straightforward example is cross-promoting sound bytes across multiple social media platforms such as TikTok and Youtube.
Podcasts As Marketing
Multiple studies have found that a majority of listeners (sometimes as many as 78%) are okay with hearing advertisements in their podcasts.
With the dual growth of podcasts and advertisers in podcasts, the practice of using the medium as a marketing platform will only become more prevalent in the next few years.
In recent years, podcasting has become more performative, with many podcast hosts recording episodes in front of a live audience.
Live podcasting presents another fantastic form of revenue in the form of selling show tickets, but live “shows” also allow podcasters to engage with their community in a fun and exciting way.
Most Popular Podcast Genres
There are many styles and types of podcasts, including fiction and nonfiction categories.
Here are seven of the most listened-to podcast genres.
- Comedy: These are fun, light-hearted podcasts that listeners can enjoy on their own or while doing other things. Popular comedy podcasts include Comedy Bang! Bang! and SmartLess.
- True Crime: A favorite genre for female listeners, true crime podcasts tell the story of real-world crimes, including the evidence, victim interviews, or the hosts’ personal opinions. A few popular true crime podcasts are Serial and My Favorite Murder.
- News: News podcasts are all about current events. These podcasts might focus on local or international stories and include expert interviews and editorial commentary. Some of the most listened-to news podcasts include The Daily and Global News Podcast.
- Culture: This widespread genre can include everything from art to music, fashion, movies, and more. A few of the most popular culture podcasts are Filmspotting and Slate’s Culture Gabfest.
- Sports: Sports fans love podcasts, and there is a podcast for every sport, from professional football to F1 racing. Some popular sports podcasts are The Bill Simmons Podcast and The Fighter and the Kid.
- Religion: Many churches and religious leaders have begun to deliver their spiritual messages through podcasts. Some of the most listened-to religious podcasts include BibleProject and Mufti Menk.
- Health and Wellness: Your daily workout is perfect for listening to a health and wellness podcast. A few of the most popular health and wellness podcasts include The Model Health Show and TED Health.
Podcast Market Size
In the past, we created a list of 150+ of the best podcasts, but that collection only scratches the surface of what is available.
And with the industry growing, market size is only going to grow in size and value as well.
GLOBE NEWSWIRE estimates that by 2030 the global podcast market will have a value of $98.78 billion and an estimated compound annual growth rate (CAGR) of 30.65%
Podcast Popularity Rankings
Popularity rankings are one helpful way to measure the success of a podcast.
Sites like Chartable make it super simple to locate the ranking of the most popular podcasts platform, geographic locations, and more.
Is Starting a Podcast Worth It?
If you are willing to put in the work of developing content and marketing your show, a podcast is worth it.
Here are a few pros and cons of doing your own podcast.
- Podcasts are an easy way to earn money through advertisements and sponsor partnerships.
- You can reach a new audience for more relationship-building and cross-platform promotion.
- It’s fun! Running a podcast can be self-fulfilling.
- It’s getting harder to stand out from the crowd as the number of podcasts grows.
- It requires consistency and patience to build a back catalog of high-quality content.
You may have wondered if podcasts’ popularity was waning, but we can tell you that demand for new podcasts continues to grow steadily.
To start a podcast that will attract listeners and advertisers, use the podcast trends outlined here to set yourself apart from the pack.
Research the podcast genre you’re interested in, weigh the pros and cons and get ready for a new project that will be both profitable and fun.