Power Digital Announces Creative Affinity.

Learn More Here
Blog Post

Trends in Podcasting 2021

April 8, 2021
Table of Contents

Did you know that the average American now spends more time on their mobile devices than they do watching TV (3.7 vs 4 hours per day)? The app industry alone saw over 200 billion downloads and $143 billion in global consumer spend in 2020. This trend toward mobile has meant impressive growth in both podcast streams and podcast ad revenue. Our digital marketing agency will dive into some podcast statistics and exciting discussion on why 2021 is “The Year of the Podcast.”

Ad Revenue Growth

The podcast industry has experienced rapid growth as a result of the money-making potential the podcast ad revenue brings. If we look back at the landscape back in 2015, podcasters were seeing a “measly” $105.7 million in ad revenue. This increased to nearly $500 million in 2018, and now in 2021 podcast advertising revenues are projected to surpass $1 billion dollars . If there’s money to be made, there’s growth to be seen.

While some might have expected the pandemic to have a more adverse impact on advertising revenue, growth didn’t slow at all throughout 2020. On the contrary, a few larger organizations started making acquisitions to get their piece of the podcasting revenue pie. In fact, a recent PwC study  indicates the 22% average year-over-year (YoY) growth in the space shows no signs of slowing down, with podcast advertising revenue predicted to hit $1.7 billion by 2024. 

Furthermore, platforms have identified additional ways of generating revenue with podcasting, such as paid podcast subscriptions that are being integrated into the Spotify “creation” app, Anchor. With the push toward a paywall-style system, there is a possibility of podcast fans and users leaning towards free social audio platforms like Twitter Spaces and Clubhouse.

Listener Growth (The Stats!)

Podcast listening has grown steadily since 2006 (aside from a slight dip in 2013). In 2020, 55% of the US population (12+) have listened to a podcast episode at least once, up from 51% in 2019. 

37% of people in the US have listened to a podcast episode at least once in the last month and 24% have listened to at least one over the past week. Both numbers are up from their 2019 highs of 32% and 12% respectively. 

Of those weekly regular listeners, 32% listened to 1-2 podcasts, 38% listened to 3-5, and 30% listened to 6 or more podcasts per week. The Podcast audience tends to lean towards the younger side, with 40% of all 12-34 year olds and 40% of all people from ages 35-54 having listened to a podcast, while only 22% of people 55 and older having done so. This provides a great digital marketing opportunity to reach the younger demographic.

Additionally, podcast fans tend to be more active on social media, more likely to follow companies on social, and are more likely to be cord cutters (dropping traditional cable TV). Listeners’ tendency to be cord cutters makes it more difficult for brands to reach this segment through traditional marketing. This makes podcasts a vital resource for advertisers, with 69% of listeners stating they have discovered a new product or company through podcast ads. 

What Types of Podcasts Do Users Have Affinity Towards?

As more and more podcasts launched within Spotify in 2020, they gained over 1.9 million titles from all types of categories. Genres people were most drawn to included Society & Culture, Comedy, Lifestyle & Health and Arts & Entertainment. Examples of these podcasts included The Michelle Obama Podcast, The Joe Rogan Experience, and TED Talks Daily. More comedic popular podcasts included Call Her Daddy and Office Ladies.  

Top podcasts on the Apple charts include:

  • The Daily from the New York Times
  • Smartless (hosts: Will Arnett, Jason Bateman, Sean Hayes)
  • Armchair Expert (host: Dax Shepard)

Reasons Users Prefer Podcasts to Other Types of Media

One of the biggest reasons why users prefer podcasts is that they are typically invested in the podcast host or guest and find them to be a “trusted” source. Podcast hosts have essentially become an integral part of the influencer community. With a compelling offer from the brand and authentic ad delivery, podcasts can drive brand awareness as well as conversion volume.  

In the era of multitasking, more and more people are turning to podcasts as a means of stimulation while driving, exercising, or working. This makes podcasts increasingly more desirable for advertisers, as users are listening now more than ever before as part of their daily lives.     

The Takeaway

It’s clear that all signs are pointing to 2021 being the “Year of the Podcast” and we are seeing this podcast growth already. Not only will users continue to flock to audio content, but so will the advertisers. Time will tell if newcomers to the audio space will change the landscape completely. So the next time that you throw on NPR’s This American Life on your iPhone, remember that you’ve helped to dethrone TV as the number one consuming medium.


  1. https://techcrunch.com/2021/02/27/this-week-in-apps-twitter-targets-creators-clubhouse-security-spotifys-plans-for-paid-podcasts/
  2. https://www.engadget.com/apple-podcasts-follow-ios-14-5-143544059.html
  3. https://www.oberlo.com/blog/podcast-statistics
  4. https://www.podcastinsights.com/podcast-statistics/


Empowering you to break the mold.

Kind of like a full-service agency, kind of like an in-house CMO. Elevate your brand's presence with custom strategy, channel expertise, and flawless execution.

Learn More