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Podcast Industry Report: Market Growth and Advertising Statistics in 2021

  • Podcasting will be a $1 billion industry by 2021.

  • And Spotify, Apple, and others are innovating to make it happen and where brands fit in. You can learn more in our Podcast Industry Report.
  • Do you work in the Marketing, Media & Advertising industry? Get business insights on the latest tech innovations, market trends, and your competitors with data-driven research.

Podcasts have been around for nearly two decades, but the format has come into its own over the last five years. A proliferation of shows, involvement from celebrity talent, investment from large companies like Spotify, and the spread of technologies that boost awareness, like smart speakers, have all helped podcast growth.

Growth of the podcasting industry

The podcast industry is in a particular moment of creative and innovative renaissance, from content creation by publishers and hosts, to listener discovery. And while podcasts have been around for nearly two decades, the format has only just entered the mainstream.

Podcasts are growing outside of the US as well, and Latin America is a key region to watch given the rapid development of Spanish-language content. 

Additionally, tech companies are jockeying to become the No. 1 destination for podcast listeners, and the biggest players are Apple Podcast, YouTube, and Spotify.

Podcast market stats

In the US, eMarketer estimates that the number of US podcast listeners will increase 16.0% year-over-year (YoY) to 106.7 million.

According to our inaugural forecast for US weekly podcast listeners, 77.9 million people will listen to a podcast at least once a week, meaning weekly podcast listenership has more than doubled since 2016.

While the pandemic hasn’t reduced podcast market listenership, it has affected time spent with the medium. In recent years, time spent was steadily increasing by double digits, but now podcast listener statistcs show that consumers spend about 34 minutes per day with podcasts, a 6.5% YoY decline.

Podcast avdertising

The podcast audience is not only large and growing, but attractive: Listeners tend to be young, affluent, and educated, and generally open to advertising in podcasting. This is especially valuable for podcast ads, as the unreachable audience grows and advertisers may have more difficulty accessing younger, affluent, and educated audiences who are more likely to use technology like ad blockers across other forms of digital media.

While at one time brands may have been hesitant to spend on podcast advertising, the recent boom in listenership has changed those notions. US podcast ad spending will grow 10.4% to $782.0 million. It will surpass $1 billion in 2021 and reach $1.61 billion by 2024, more than double its current level.

And though brands have many options when it comes to advertising on podcasts, the most critical thing is to ensure that a selected show aligns with their brand. Between 2016 and 2019, the share of podcast ad revenues used for brand awareness campaigns increased from 25% to 42%, according to the IAB. 

Want to learn more? 

Insider Intelligence’s Podcast Industry Report provides an in depth look at the podcast industry, focusing specifically on key drivers of its recent boom and the audiences that are pushing it to new heights.

The ultimate goal of this report is to give readers a clear understanding of how the major players and components of podcasting function so that brands can more readily take advantage of the many opportunities this dynamic digital media format presents. 

The companies mentioned in this report are: AdvertiseCast, Alphabet, Anchor, Apple, Barstool Sports, Bonobos, Disney, Gimlet Media, Google, Higher Ground,  iHeartRadio, Luminary, Midroll, Netflix, The New York Times, NPR, Pandora, Parcast, PodGrid, PRX, The Ringer, Sirius XM, Spotify, Stitcher, This American Life, Unilever, The Washington Post, Wondery, YouTube

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