The Growing Potential of Podcasts


A couple of weeks ago, Ian Altman invited me to appear on his podcast, “Grow My Revenue Business Cast” (listen to the full podcast). The experience got me thinking about whether marketers are truly maximizing this unique channel to the fullest effect.

Do People Actually Listen to Podcasts?

Edison Research examines podcast consumption each year. Their studies show podcast awareness is rising:

  • 2006: 22% understood the term “podcast.”
  • 2016: That number jumps to 55%.

Awareness is one thing, but what marketers care more about is listeners. And, as it turns out, that number is also rising:

  • 2008: 9% of Americans (ages 12+) were listening to podcasts monthly.
  • 2016: That number is 21%.

So, who are these podcast listeners? Are they a relevant audience?

Here’s a snapshot:

  • Podcast users tend to be affluent.
  • Men edge out women slightly in usage (56% to 44%, respectively).
  • Listeners are better educated – 29% have attended graduate school or achieved an advanced degree (versus 21% of the U.S. population 18+).
  • On the whole, podcast users tend to be younger:
    • 38% are 18-34 (millennials!)
    • 34% are 35-54
  • They tend to hold a senior position in their field: department heads, VPs, C-suite executives.

If any subset of your audience meets this profile, it’s time to consider creating relevant content for them and delivering it via podcast.

Where and When to Podcast

There many applications you can use to create podcasts. That’s the easy part.

Since the channel is on-demand, podcasts can be downloaded for consumption anytime, anywhere:

  • Currently the vast majority of podcasts are listened to at home.
  • 25% are consumed in the car or during commutes on public transportation (as more cars are equipped with internet connectivity, we can expect on-the-go consumption of podcasts to increase).

The average podcast is 22 minutes, so keep it short and sweet. Make it just long enough to provide useful information that helps position you as a trusted resource. Keep it fresh and user-focused. The more relevant the info is to your audience, the more likely it is to be shared.

The most important piece of the puzzle is having your promotions lined up to let listeners know a podcast is available.

Is a Podcast in Your Future?

For all content strategies, success is increasingly channel-dependent. We need to be vigilant in identifying channels that efficiently deliver relevant content to reach the right audience.

Podcasts represent marketing potential that savvy content strategists can no longer ignore. With the average podcast listener consuming 5 podcasts per week, I see real promise for this channel in reaching important (albeit niche) audiences.

Read highlights from Ahava’s podcast on How Businesses Create Trust and Authority with Quality Content.

Stay tuned for next weeks post on “The Growing Potential of Podcasts: Healthcare Edition.”