The Podcast Evolution, A Win for Creators and Advertisers

For many content creators in the beginning, podcasting was a hobby; or a loss leader product much like the Costco $1.50 hot dog and soda. Something to get new listeners in the door in order expose them to other monetized products those creators offered.

Over the last 20 years the medium has drastically and steadily grown alongside the advent of smart phones, smart speakers, as well as in-car entertainment systems.

According to Infinite Dial, during Covid podcasting experienced unprecedented growth in audience size and diversity with 49% of listening happening in home. As well, 26% of the population listen to podcasts every week, while 62% have listened to podcasts and 79% are familiar with the medium.

Along with the size of audience growth, podcasting has experienced growth in audience diversity. Historically podcast demographics have not mirrored the US population, with 68% of listeners in 2011 being white. However, this has shifted significantly over the last year:

  • White: 57%
  • African American: 13%
  • Hispanic: 16%
  • Asian: 4%
  • Other: 10%

Knowing how podcast listeners behave can provide actionable ways to improve content and increase engagement.

  • Podcast listeners are more likely to follow brands on social media.
  • Avid podcast fans listen to radio 65 minutes more than most Americans.
  • On average, podcast listeners turn in to 8 different shows every week.
  • 80% of listeners listen to all, or most, of every episode they start.

Expanding on listener behaviors, the Super Listeners Survey from Edison Research found that people who listen to at least 5 hours of content a week have slightly different behavior than the average listener. For instance, they consume an average of 11.2 hours of podcasts per week, often listen to content that includes video, 19% discover podcasts through YouTube most often, and are 94% more likely to subscribe to premium streaming services.

As far as ad spending is concerned, for the first time ever podcast ad revenue reached $1.4 Billion in 2021, a 72% increase from 2020, and it is forecasted to exceed $2 Billion in 2022. Podcast ad revenue is also growing at a faster rate than the total of internet advertising, 72% year-over-year vs. 35%.

It is estimated that by 2024, ad spending on podcasting will grow to over $4 Billion annually.

Investments in ad tech have made podcast advertising an extremely effective means to reach potential customers. Use of Dynamic Ad Insertion to serve both host-read and announcer-read ads has nearly doubled in 2 years, and accounts for 84% of ad revenue. Dynamic Ad Insertion also aids in providing greater scale, flexibility and targetability for advertisers.


Written by Account Manager, Stephen Brown

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