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2023 Unwrapped: A Look at This Year’s Podcast Trends

Last updated on

January 11, 2024

2023 Unwrapped: A Look at This Year’s Podcast Trends

Explore the 2023 podcast landscape with '2023 Unwrapped'—your comprehensive guide to emerging trends, industry insights, and the future of audio. 

Tianna Marinucci

15

 min read

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As the curtains draw on another transformative year in podcasting, it’s time to dive into the pulse of the podcasting industry, highlighting the milestones, innovations, and trends that have defined 2023. 

In this blog, we reveal the top statistics, groundbreaking tech launches, company changes, notable show releases, and insightful reports that have shaped 2023’s podcast landscape. 

*Keep reading to find trends we predict will follow us into 2024. 

It’s More Than a Numbers Game: 2023’s Podcasting Insights Unlocked 

2023 has shown that podcasts are as popular as ever and that they’re here to stay. We take recent stats from Edison Research and The Podcast Landscape to evaluate the state of the industry. 

Listening Behaviors and Demographics

  • The majority of Americans from ages 12 to 54 (53%) have listened to a podcast in the last month (Edison Research)
  • The rate of podcast listening is highest in the mornings, with most listeners using a mobile phone to tune in (Demand Sage)
  • Podcast listeners are huge audio fans spending nearly six hours a day with audio, 38% more time than the average American (Westwood One)
  • 29% of American kids aged 6-12 are monthly podcast listeners. 87% of them have shared something they learned from a podcast with others (Edison Research)
  • Podcasts with the highest concentration of listeners are in households earning over $100,000 (Edison Research)
  • For the first time, Americans are listening to more on-demand audio (like podcasts and music services) than live audio (like radio) (Edison Research)
  • 38% of American adults ages 18 and up who have been in a car in the last month say they tune into their podcasts in the car, which is up from 32% in 2022 (Edison Research)
  • In the US total time spent listening for 55-64s has increased by 50% this year, and by 49% for those over 65 (Megaphone)

What this means for you:

The fact that the majority of Americans across a broad age range are engaging with podcasts indicates a significant and diverse market. This widespread appeal emphasizes the potential for marketers to reach various demographics through this medium. Specifically, the increasing engagement among younger listeners, coupled with their propensity to share what they learn from podcasts, underlines the potential for creating content that resonates not only with the younger generation but also encourages social sharing. 

Understanding that podcast enthusiasts spend significantly more time-consuming audio content than the average American suggests an opportunity for marketers to harness this preference for audio mediums. Tailoring marketing efforts to align with this penchant for audio engagement, whether through sponsorships, ad placements, or branded content within podcasts, could yield more meaningful connections with the audience.

Marketing and Advertising

  • Nearly half of all podcast listeners have used a podcast to fall asleep and 54% of those listeners remembered an ad the next day (Acast)
  • 68% of listeners prefer host reads where it’s clear that the host uses the product or service (Global)
  • Audio ads outperform video for attention and brand recall (AdAge)
  • 55% of podcast revenue comes from host-read ads; whereas, brand or agency-produced ads make up only 3% (Exploding Topics)
  • Podcast ad expenditure is expected to reach 2.5 billion dollars in 2024 (Statista)
  • 64% of listeners pay full attention to podcast ads (Acast)
  • 60% of listeners have made a purchase based on a podcast ad – that’s a 5% increase from last year (Modern Retail)
  • 55% of podcast listeners say podcasts contain “an appropriate amount” of advertisements, dropping to 38% for radio and 26% for TV (Nielsen’s 2023 Consumer Survey Report)
  • 54% of people find new podcasts by hearing about them on a show they already listen to (Spotify)

What this means for you:

Podcast listeners represent a highly engaged and captive audience – especially in our current isolated, digitized landscape. This is a large reason for the effectiveness of podcast ads that we encourage companies to leverage.

Podcast enthusiasts demonstrate unwavering loyalty in their listening habits, as evidenced by 46% tuning in within the first 24 hours of an episode's release. Adding to this dynamic is the relationship forged between podcast hosts and their followers, resulting in listeners developing an immense sense of trust in them. Uniquely, podcast ads and branded podcasts alike possess the potential to mesmerize listeners through compelling narratives, culminating in an authentic bond with a brand or product. 

Brands in Audio

What this means for you:

These stats reveal that podcast listeners do not feel negatively toward a brand’s involvement in a podcast. In fact, they feel quite the opposite. Overall, your brand will not dissuade listeners from checking out your show.

Alongside being decision-makers at their companies, B2B podcast listeners are very loyal. As long as you’re consistently producing content within your niche that they find valuable, you’ll build an engaged listenership. 

Lastly, these stats demonstrate the increasing popularity of video podcasts for brands. This isn’t just a one-sided phenomenon with 64% of podcast newcomers preferring to listen to podcasts with video. If your brand isn’t leveraging video podcasts yet, it presents a great opportunity to tap into a captive audience.

Power Players in Podcasting: This Year’s Standout Companies and Tools

2023 brings new products, tools, and reports to the audio arena. Learn what companies like CoHost, iHeartMedia, and SiriusXM have announced throughout the year.

Leading Podcast Reports of 2023

  • Quill released a report called “Audio Amplified” that reveals how branded podcasts are a game-changer for brands looking to create unique, high-value content that resonates with target audiences, establishes trust, and positions them as industry leaders
  • CoHost released a report called “A Brand’s Guide to Podcast Analytics” designed to equip companies with the knowledge and tools to navigate the evolving podcast landscape
  • CoHost released “The State of Podcast Agencies” which covers the constraints and opportunities facing podcast agencies and their clients
  • Sounds Profitable releases “The Podcast Landscape” which covers the opportunities that brands and creators have as well as how listeners feel about podcasts and what content resonates with them
  • The Juice partnered with Quill and CoHost to release “The State of the B2B Podcast Listener” which delves into the preferences and habits of B2B podcast listeners as well as the opportunities for brands 

What this means for you:

The reports from Quill, Sounds Profitable, The Juice, and CoHost shed light on the significance of branded podcasts, listener preferences, and the evolving behavior of B2B audiences. Leveraging this data can aid in tailoring content strategies, honing in on preferred topics, formats, and engagement methods, ultimately leading to more effective brand positioning and audience connection.

Additionally, the advancements in analytics tools from platforms like Spotify and CoHost offer marketers the means to measure, optimize, and ensure the effectiveness of their advertising and marketing strategies. These tools empower podcast marketers to gauge the impact of their ads, understand audience behavior, and fine-tune their campaigns for maximum engagement and conversion.

Talkin’ Bout a Podcast Revolution: 2023’s Tech Highlights 

Globally, podcasting continues to gain popularity and evolve right alongside technology. Here are some notable tech launches from this year.

What this means for you:

These developments in podcasting tools and analytics bring forth a seismic shift in how podcast marketers can understand, engage, and monetize their audiences. The introduction of tools like Descript's Find Good Clips and Headliner's Eddy not only streamlines content creation but also enhances accessibility and discoverability. These services empower podcasters to efficiently extract engaging highlights for social media sharing and easily edit audio content, making it more accessible through Word document-like transcriptions.

Additionally, CoHost's B2B Analytics and Advanced Audience Demographics tools mark a significant leap in understanding listener behavior. Marketers can now dive deep into their audience demographics, interests, and even the companies tuning in, offering unprecedented insights for tailored content creation and targeted advertising. 

Extra! Extra! Read All About It: 2023’s Podcast Headliners 

Stay on top of the most important podcasting events and news stories that define 2023. Here are some of the biggest headlines from the past year. 

What this means for you:

SiriusXM's new app and YouTube Music's RSS feed integration showcase evolving avenues for content distribution. Marketers can capitalize on these developments by ensuring their podcasts are accessible across various platforms to reach diverse audiences. The acquisition of Squadcast by Descript emphasizes the growing demand for streamlined production tools, signifying a need for marketers to invest in efficient recording and editing solutions to enhance content quality and workflow.

Moreover, innovative integrations like Patreon and Spotify's partnership and The New York Times' subscriber-only audio app highlight the rising trend of exclusive content and subscription-based models. Marketers can explore similar collaborations to offer exclusive content, enhancing listener engagement and potentially unlocking new revenue streams.

Tune In 2023’s Podcasts for Your Playlist

With more than 5 million podcasts and more than 70 million episodes between them, here are this year’s top launches and fan favorites to save for later.

  • “The Joe Rogan Experience”: was Spotify’s top global show this year closely followed by Call Her Daddy
  • “Crime Junkies” was the top show on Apple Podcasts for the second year in a row and Scamanda is the top new show
  • Five US late-night hosts, Stephen Colbert, Jimmy Fallon, Jimmy Kimmel, Seth Meyers, and John Oliver, produced a limited series podcast, “Strike Force Five”, to raise money for their out-of-work staff during the WGA strike
  • Alex Cooper, of “Call Her Daddy”, has launched her podcast network, “Unwell,” and signed Alix Earle and Madeline Argy
  • Velo3D launches season 2 of “Laser Focused” which features in-depth conversations with industry professionals leading innovation 
  • Emergent launched “Countermeasures”, a podcast featuring the people driving positive change to combat the opioid epidemic and destigmatize opioid dependency 
  • NEI launched “Fissionary”, a podcast about the potential of nuclear energy to address the critical challenges of our time
  • Raidiam released season four of “Mr. Open Banking”, a first-of-its-kind podcast that aims to educate listeners on how the financial sector is being disrupted by open banking 
  • Banfield Pet Hospital released “Not Just Fluff”, a podcast created by veterinary professionals for pet parents seeking top-tier care and understanding for their four-legged friends
  • Expedia’s “Powering Travel” podcast returned for season two. The podcast features travel industry leaders who share how they’re building their businesses for the future
  • Surescripts’ “There's a Better Way” released season two where host Melanie Marcus sits down with America’s most inspiring and innovative healthcare leaders to discuss the challenges facing the industry
  • Amdocs launches “Your Career: Is it Choice or Chance?” podcast where they delve into upskilling, relocating, and helping listeners make their next career move
  • Season 4 of “SickKids VS” covers medical breakthroughs, heartfelt stories, and interviews with people making a difference at the frontlines
  • The Institutes launched its new podcast, “Predict & Prevent”. The podcast is an exploration of an evolving strategy to combat the biggest risk challenges facing society today by working to eliminate losses before they occur
  • Heart & Stroke Foundation launched season two of “The Beat

Staying Ahead of the Audio Curve: Podcast Trend Predictions for 2024

Staying ahead of the latest industry knowledge and trends isn’t just an advantage, it’s a necessity. Here are some audio trends we’re witnessing now that we predict will follow us into 2024.

A Boom in Podcast Advertising 

With a staggering 81% of podcast listeners attentively engaging with podcast ads compared to the 63% who admit to tuning out TV commercials, a paradigm shift is undeniably at play. And the impact doesn’t stop there – 68% of podcast listeners have gone on to make a purchase based on a podcast advertisement.

These listeners aren’t particularly susceptible to ads either. The BBC did a study on people who self-identify as “ad avoiders” and found that listener engagement, memory encoding, and emotional intensity around brand mentions beat TV benchmarks by 22%.

Advertisers are realizing this impact, with podcast advertising spend and revenue projected to reach 2.5 Billion dollars and 4 Billion dollars respectively in 2024. 

These increased figures represent changes in the industry. Libsyn’s AdvertiseCast forecasts that advertisers will become more comfortable with brand safety in podcasting come 2024. On top of that, we predict that in the coming year, more precise geographical and demographic targeting will draw more advertisers into audio. 

CoHost Tip: Looking for a deep dive into advertising in audio and why it should be your next paid strategy? Check out our article for a comprehensive understanding of podcast advertising and the opportunities it offers your brand. 

More Companies to Invest in Video Podcasting 

While in 2019 only 17% of podcasts were leveraging video, it’s been reported that 85% of companies captured video for their podcasts in 2023. 

We expect to see this trend expand and video podcasts as a whole to increase this coming year. One reason for this is the popularity of YouTube. With 5x as many users as podcasting platforms, the platform represents a massive opportunity for audience growth.

On top of that, YouTube is continuing to adapt to podcast consumption. We can see this most notably in Google Podcasts migration to YouTube next year. We can also see this in less obvious ways. For example, YouTube videos in 2005 were about two minutes long on average. Now, the average YouTube video is above 15 minutes. This increase is largely due to the increasing demand for longer-form content on the platform. 

Looking into 2024, Riverside’s Future of Video Podcasting for Brands report reveals that over 84% of brands surveyed think that video will be a central part of their future podcast strategy.

CoHost Tip: Is your brand considering leveraging YouTube to expand the reach of your show? Check out our article to learn the ins and outs of YouTube for podcasting.

AI in Audio 

AI-driven podcasting reaches 45 million Americans each month and AI-powered podcasts have experienced a staggering 500% growth in the past year.

Currently, AI is mostly used by podcasters for promotion efforts and we predict that trend to continue in 2024, especially when it comes to repurposing podcast content. Leveraging the right AI tools can help you transcribe your show and convert it into blog articles, reports, social media posts, audiograms, graphics, and more in minutes. 

Beyond content repurposing, AI has been used to help podcasters personalize their content in various ways. Here are a few that we think will only increase in popularity in 2024:

  • Personalized CTAs (Calls to Action): By leveraging AI analytics, you can determine the most suitable CTA for each listener. Personalizing CTAs can enhance engagement and lead to more meaningful interactions with your brand.
  • Dynamic Ad-Insertion (DAI): Algorithms take into account various factors to select the most fitting ads to ensure that the ads closely align with the viewer's interests, reducing disruptions and ultimately improving the overall viewer experience.
  • Content Recommendation: By understanding which episodes resonate most with individual users, AI can curate a custom playlist that keeps them coming back for more.

CoHost Tip: 94% of marketers repurpose their podcast content, but leveraging AI tools can help you repurpose your show in a fraction of the time. If you’re interested in learning about the AI tools that can help you turn your podcast into blog articles, social media posts, graphics, and audiograms in a fraction of the time check out our article for our top recommendations.  

VIPodcasting: The Rise of Exclusive Content 

As we described above, traditional advertising remains a primary source of revenue for brands in audio, however, the subscription model is gaining ground at an unprecedented pace. 

Platforms such as Luminary are redefining the monetization game by adopting a Netflix-like subscription model. For a nominal fee of $4.99 per month, users gain access to an array of exclusive content curated by podcast hosts. Plus, Luminary is directly compensating these creators for their contributions, forging a stronger bond between storytellers and their audience..

Additionally, Spotify and Patreon’s exclusive-content partnership makes accessing exclusive content easier than ever. This presents a lucrative monetization opportunity for creators. Podcasts like Chapo Trap House, for example, thrive on platforms like Patreon with their monthly earnings exceeding $100,000.

With the launch of numerous subscription-only podcast platforms, the seamless integration of exclusive content into our usual listening platforms, and the increasingly profitable monetization opportunity for podcasters, we predict that we’ll see far more subscription-based content in 2024. 

CoHost Tip: If you’re looking for more innovative ways to monetize your podcast in 2024, check out our complete guide to podcast monetization.

See You in 2024

As we bring this 2023 podcast roundup to a close, it's evident that this year has been marked by pivotal shifts and remarkable advancements that have left an indelible mark on the podcasting industry. 

Looking forward to 2024, platform diversification, content repurposing, video podcasting, AI, and exclusive content are expected to remain central themes guiding podcast marketers. Adapting to and leveraging these trends will be instrumental for podcasters seeking to thrive and captivate audiences in the upcoming year.