Podcast Startup: Audience Basics

Knowing your listeners: Who is your podcast going to reach?

2 min read
Podcast Startup: Audience Basics

Considering becoming a podcaster? We’ve got some insights for you, breaking down genre, audience demographics and marketing tips, all based on new market research. Let’s dive in:

First off, what are we looking at? Comedy, news, politics, maybe pop culture?  You’ve probably got an idea in mind, but consider the audience as well. 

Comedy is a big deal for younger listeners. Gen Z and Millennials listen to comedy more than any other type of podcast, with 47 percent of Z and 45 percent of Millennial listeners reporting they regularly consume comedy episodes. Pop culture topics run second for Gen Z, with 34 percent listening often. For Millennials, it’s the true crime genre in second place, with 35 percent tuning in regularly.

If you’re targeting an older audience, however, things swing rapidly. Gen Xers and Baby Boomers both lean hard into news podcasts.

A third of Gen X gobbles up news on the regular, with comedy close behind at 32 percent. For Boomers, news gathers a 37 percent market share, with politics at 36 percent. 

It’s also worth noting that the younger audiences are larger overall, with podcast awareness and usage higher among younger generations. Just 10 percent of Boomers listen to a podcast daily (29 percent at least once a week), while Gen X numbers climb to 20 percent daily and 45 percent weekly. Market saturation is far higher among Millennials (35 daily, 65 weekly) and Gen Z (27/57).

Generational demographics also impact a variety of other factors, including listening location, how they search and find podcasts, and what other media they’re abandoning. 

Gen Z tends to stay more connected in public settings, such as while they shop, while Boomers listen almost exclusively at home. Millennials tend to tune in more than other demographics while commuting or working. Overall, though, listening at home still accounts for 75 percent of all podcast consumption.

Podcasts are replacing time previously spent on TV or social media across generations. Among Gen Z, there’s also a reported 33 percent reduction in time spent playing video games.

Not all data breaks down by generation, however. Some use different age ranges, while other research points out trends broken down by gender, education and income.

Overall, nearly half of monthly podcast consumers are under 34, with the 35-54 age range accounting for another 32 percent. The 55-plus crowd adds another 20 percent of audience share. Men outnumber women slightly, at 51/49.

Among all Americans, 78 percent are aware of podcasts, and 57 percent have listened to at least one. Apple is the most popular app for downloading, with Spotify a solid second. (Apple’s lead is particularly apparent among Gen Z.) Youtube searches are increasingly popular among men. 

Podcast listeners tend to be educated, with more than half holding at least a college degree. A full 30 percent of listeners have attended graduate school or studied for other advanced degrees, while just 15 percent have no college-level experience.

Household incomes are higher than average as well. Nearly half (45 percent) of regular listeners earn more than $75,000 annually, with 31 percent over the $100k mark and 16 percent topping $150k a year.

So, examine your podcast, and plan accordingly. Tapping into a connected, engaged audience will grow your show.

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