Ever since Serial took the world by storm in 2014, podcasting has changed a lot – and fast.
After the show’s release 89% of new podcast listeners were inspired to check out other podcasts – and it looks like many of them have. In 2014 only 40 million people listened to podcasts; however, as of December 2023, the industry has amassed an impressive 464.7 million global listeners (that’s nearly 9% of total internet users).
This surge in popularity sets the stage for exciting changes in content creation, monetization opportunities, and consumption habits in 2024.
To help make the most of the next 11 months in podcasting, the team at CoHost put together our top six podcast trends we think will dominate the year, so you can your team can best refine your podcast strategy to help your show reach center stage.
1. 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 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. On top of that, an Acast survey from late 2023 revealed that 62% of podcast advertisers predict an uptick in their podcast advertising spend this year. Notably, the same survey highlights that marketers are ten times more likely to forecast an increase rather than a decrease in their podcast advertising budgets.
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.
What this means for you:
The resonance of corporate podcasts and podcast ads lies in their capacity to cut through the noise, foster genuine connections, and leave a lasting impact on audiences—an impact that traditional marketing approaches often struggle to achieve.
This is due to a variety of reasons including:
- Podcasts are convenient and made for on-the-go consumption: Podcasts can captivate listeners for 30-42 minutes on average and 48% of podcast listeners prefer to listen while multitasking.
- Podcast listening is transactional: Hosts want listeners’ time and attention. In return, podcasters must provide something of value to their audience, be it entertainment, information, companionship, etc;
- Listeners feel connected to hosts: Because of this 72% of listeners prefer host-read ads where it’s clear the host uses the product/service.
Because of these three unique characteristics, we urge brands to leverage the power of audio in 2024 – whether that be through ads or creating their own branded podcast.
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.
2. A rise in video podcasting
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 in Google Podcasts migration to YouTube this year. For many audio experts, this shift was a long time coming. Cumulus Media and Signal Hill's 2023 Fall report shows that YouTube climbed from the third-most-popular podcast app in 2021 to the most popular in 2023.
We can also see the rise of YouTube in audio 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.
What this means for you:
This audio-to-video shift means embracing video content on YouTube to maximize engagement and reach. As YouTube asserts its dominance with a massive (and growing) audience and a substantial budget dedicated to new, podcast-centric capabilities, podcasters will feel the push to produce compelling video episodes.
However, we urge podcasters looking to explore video to invest in adequate recording technology, as even though video increases reach and engagement overall, audiences won’t tune into a poorly produced video.
Here are a few recording platforms we recommend:
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.
3. 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. On top of that, according to a survey by Headliner in late 2023, a staggering 66% of podcasters have already incorporated AI tools into their workflow.
The surge in AI adoption can be attributed to the increased availability of AI technologies, empowering podcasters to automate tasks and focus more on content creation. In 2024, we expect this trend to gain even more traction as podcasters explore innovative ways to leverage AI.
Here are some more ways we predict AI will impact podcasting in 2024:
- AI-powered transcriptions: AI has revolutionized the traditional episode editing process. Platforms such as CoHost, Descript, and Riverside offer AI-powered automatic transcriptions, saving podcasters valuable time and effort.
- Content repurposing: 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. Repurposing your podcast content ensures you make the most out of your show by expanding your reach, catering to different consumption preferences, and engaging with your audience across various touchpoints.
- 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.
What this means for you:
As AI continues to reshape the podcasting landscape, creators should evaluate where AI can help them and their teams save time and resources. For many, AI is most heavily used in content repurposing and promotional materials; however, don’t underestimate tools like CoHost’s automatic transcriptions or DAI to help ramp up other elements of your podcasting workflow.
We do caution that while AI can be extremely useful in taking the more repetitive and time-consuming tasks off of your plate, maintaining authenticity and a human connection in podcasting is crucial for your message to resonate.
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.
4. New monetization streams
As we described above, traditional advertising remains a primary source of revenue for brands in audio, however, there are new monetization streams that are gaining ground at an unprecedented pace. Specifically, subscription-based platforms and exclusive content.
Platforms like Luminary are redefining the monetization game by adopting a Netflix-like subscription model. For $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.
What this means for you:
With the launch of subscription-only podcast platforms, the seamless integration of exclusive content into our usual listening platforms, and the increasingly profitable monetization opportunity for podcasters, we encourage creators to take advantage of the increasingly more sophisticated monetization options available.
To help you monetize your show, we suggest leveraging a powerful podcast growth tool, like:
CoHost Tip: If you’re looking for more innovative ways to monetize your podcast in 2024, check out our complete guide to podcast monetization.
5. Live podcasting
Live podcasting allows creators to seamlessly record their episodes in front of a live or virtual audience in real time. Whether it's through engaging interviews, interactive Q&A sessions, or captivating solo casts, live podcasting has become a primary podcasting format.
What makes live podcasting such a hit? It's the connection and immediacy. In live podcasting, the audience isn't just passive listeners; they become an active part of the conversation. Listeners feel genuinely heard and appreciated as they interact directly with their favorite podcasters. The result is unfiltered, authentic content that resonates on a personal level.
A fascinating aspect of this trend is the practice of saving live broadcasts. Some podcasters choose to take their raw, uncut episodes, edit them, and transform them into traditional podcast episodes. This approach offers the best of both worlds—the spontaneous charm of live content with the conciseness of edited, polished episodes.
What this means for you:
In a world inundated with curated and highly edited media, live podcasting emerges as a refreshing departure—a trend that not only captures attention but also fosters a deeper, more meaningful connection between podcasters and their audience.
With that said, if audience connection is a primary goal of your podcast, live podcasting is a great strategy.
Some platforms that offer live podcasting capabilities include:
CoHost Tip: Trying the find the right podcast format for your branded podcast? We’ve got you covered. Check out our deep dive into the 8 most popular podcast formats.
6. Data-driven podcasting
In 2024, data-driven marketing remains a focal point for brands in audio due to its impact on decision-making and ROI, as a well-executed data-driven marketing strategy can boost conversion rates by up to 21%. At its core, data-driven marketing revolves around harnessing audience and performance data to steer marketing decisions.
This precision—reaching the right audience, at the right time, and in the right context—is the backbone of modern marketing and we predict this approach will impact audio in more obvious ways this year.
Podcast analytics are still a relatively newer industry; however, the variety and accuracy of metrics have made significant strides in recent years. This allows podcast marketers to feel more confident leveraging data-driven insights to tailor their content to their target listeners, verify they’re reaching their target audience, identify monetization opportunities, and much more.
What this means for you:
By utilizing data to optimize your podcast, you can create a better listening experience for your consumers and achieve your podcasting goals faster and more effectively.
If you’re looking to take a data-driven approach to podcasting, we suggest checking out CoHost, a podcast analytics and audience insights platform that equips brands and agencies with the data and tools they need to measure podcast reach, growth, and impact.
Trusted by leading brands and agencies, like PwC, iHeart Media, Expedia, and Interac, CoHost empowers users with in-depth insights and tools to understand who their audience is and measure impact with features like B2B Analytics, Tracking Links, Advanced Audience Demographics, and Automatic Transcriptions.
CoHost Tip: If you’re interested in how you can take action from your podcasting data, check out our comprehensive guide that goes into detail about how you can interpret the stories behind your show’s insights.
Stay ahead of the audio curve with podcast trends
There you have it – the trends all creators, agencies, and brands in audio should have on their radar this coming year.
From the rising prominence of live podcasting to the importance of advanced analytics, these trends reflect a podcast landscape that is more sophisticated and responsive than ever before.
If you’re interested in learning more about CoHost and how our platform can help you meet your 2024 audio goals, reach out to our team!