Key Points

  • The number of US podcast consumers has more than doubled in the past decade — and there's still a long runway for growth. An estimated 180 million (64%) US consumers over the age of 12 are familiar with the term podcasting — yet only 73 million (26%) listen to podcasts on a monthly basis, per Edison Research and Triton Digital
  • And the podcast listenership base continues to grow in the US amid declines in consumption of other premium ad environments. By 2023, Business Insider Intelligence predicts over one-third (106 million) of the US population over the age of 12 will regularly listen to podcasts, up from 74 million in 2018. Meanwhile, linear TV is anticipated to reach 80 million US households in 2023, down from 90 million in 2017, per Digital TV Research.
  • Entertainers, music streaming platforms, and smart speakers will play a role in furthering podcast listenership growth throughout the next five years. As more high-profile celebrities, internet personalities, and franchises launch their own podcasts, they can convert fans who weren't previously familiar with the medium into regular podcast listeners. Both music streaming platforms and smart speakers could introduce consumers to the medium too, and will also help reduce consumers' friction in accessing and finding podcasts.
  • Podcast listeners present several key benefits to brands that make the medium ripe for success for advertising:
    • The majority of regular podcast listeners complete all or most of the podcasts they start. Forty-four percent of monthly podcast listeners finish most of the podcast episodes they start, while 43% finish the entire episode, per Edison Research and Triton Digital. 
    • Listeners are also more receptive to ads on podcasts than ads on other mediums. Of US respondents over the age of 18, 55% say they always or sometimes pay attention to podcast ads versus radio (45%), TV (44%), music streaming services (41%), and online video (34%) ads.
    • And most podcast listeners don't skip past ads. Because most podcast ads are read by the host and baked into podcasts, it can be difficult for listeners to easily and accurately skip past podcast ads without missing podcast content, spurring many to listen through podcast ads entirely.
  • US podcast ad spend is expected to grow over 110% through 2020, but the ad market will still remain tiny [...]