The consumption of podcasts continues to grow globally. Now anyone can convey information to their audience, like the large periodicals used to do once. Podcasts allow creators to communicate directly with an unlimited number of listeners. Among the main reasons for the growth in popularity is the quick response of content producers to social trends and the ability to deliver clear and understandable content to their audience. Moreover, podcasts have become more and more popular as they allow their audience to combine podcast listening with everyday tasks.
According to a study by Edison Research, 212 million Americans (75% of the U.S. population) have heard of podcasts, 155 million have listened to podcasts, and there are about 104 million constant podcast listeners in the United States. However, podcasts are not yet at the peak of their popularity. We identified the trends that are shaping the future of the podcast industry.
What is a podcast?
A podcast is an audio blog. The main difference between podcasts and radio shows is that the creation of the latter involves post-production and editing of the recorded content. There is no major audio show released in its original form; usually, large teams spend hours editing. Podcasts don’t have a live broadcast as well. The content is recorded in advance so that users can listen to it at any convenient time.
The term podcast comes from a combination of the words broadcasting and iPod. So, podcasts are radio-style broadcasts that are in audio format. It often covers n different topics in a simple human language. There is no intermediary (a radio company) between the author and the listener that sets its business restrictions or its distribution. Everyone can listen to whatever they are interested in for free and on any of the available platforms.
Podcasts are also famous for creating certain chemistry between the presenter and the listener. It seems that the podcaster casually chats with the listener which makes it seem like he’s just a friend. and shares specific information, which means he can be trusted as a friend.
Here are the podcasting trends we should expect in the future:
More podcast platform competition
Podcasts are good products for streaming audio services. One podcast can consist of many episodes of half an hour each. Streaming services want to attract podcast listeners, and this can only be done with exclusive content. Therefore, some of them, like Spotify or Apple, buy some exclusive material or conduct interviews with famous special guests to attract more listeners. For all of these years, Spotify and Apple have been among the main players in podcast streaming.
In the future, platforms will struggle for listeners’ attention, and thanks to it, both ordinary users, who will receive more expensive content, and podcast authors, who will have the opportunity to create and receive money for it, will benefit.
Data-driven user experience (UX)
Data-driven marketing in the podcast industry is the key to success, as it allows podcast producers to use analytics to gain a deeper understanding of their target listeners. However, getting statistics is tricky for podcasts. There are hundreds of distribution websites for new releases.
Each of these sites has its own way of counting the audience. What is considered as one listening? One file access, one download, listening for more than a minute or more than ten minutes? These differences in these interpretations make it difficult for podcasters and advertisers to build their ad campaigns and target the right audiences.
It is hard not only to predict the size of the audience reached but also to know how the integration into the podcast affected sales and other brand metrics. However, there is a growing trend towards the standardization of statistics, and in the future, it will become easier to understand podcast listeners.
Better podcast content
In recent years, many companies released low-quality content just to get noticed. The podcast industry had to go against this trend as their content tends towards higher quality. The podcast format usually attracts college graduates, successful professionals, entrepreneurs, etc. This means that the quality of podcast content needs to be above average in order to keep the audience’s attention.
One of the essential metrics for podcast quality is its sound quality. Podcast listeners are often on the go, in the car or on the plane, walking in the park, or on the treadmill at the gym. They want flawless sound quality that delivers a great listening experience wherever they go.
Increasing role of AI
One of the challenges for podcast listeners is finding quality shows. There are more than a million different podcasts on the websites, from non-professional ones to large-budget media projects and studios. It isn’t easy to find exactly what you are looking for in this variety.
Therefore, the streaming services drew attention to artificial intelligence. Some of them pick up podcast playlists based on your likes and listens. Moreover, they manage to implement a system that predicts whether you will listen to music or podcasts when you turn on the streaming service, and with a high probability of guessing, displaying a suitable playlist on the main page. So, recommendation systems may become the primary way users get new podcasts in the future.
These are, of course, not all the predicted podcasting trends, however, we tried to single out the most important ones.
The podcasting industry can be extremely promising if all market players join their efforts in the areas of content creation, measurement, and monetization of its content format.