While growth in social media usage is leveling off on individual platforms (with the notable exception of TikTok), podcasting is taking off! The percent of people who have ever listened to a podcast has grown steadily since 2014, and between 2019 to 2021, monthly podcast listening has jumped by 28%.
Podcast growth may be partly due to new listening and entertainment habits people formed during pandemic shutdowns in 2020. Remote working conditions meant that people were not commuting to and from work, and since radio is the number one source of in-vehicle audio listening, it’s likely that radio listenership dropped off because of changing work arrangements.
Also, in-vehicle radio listenership may be driven by habit (no pun intended), whereas people who listen to podcasts make a deliberate choice to tune in to weekly episodes. Once people discovered podcasts they liked, they continued listening and began to discover other pods they enjoyed.
Podcasts are not just filler or background noise; they’re highly targeted to listeners’ interests and fans eagerly await the next installment. If your brand is looking to expand its audience in niche markets, using podcast influencers to promote your products or services may be an ideal way to create awareness, affinity, engagement, and even sales among an audience of enthusiastic and loyal listeners.
Who Listens to Podcasts and Why Do They Listen?
According to the latest survey from Edison Research and Triton Digital, monthly podcast listenership is close to being evenly balanced between men and women (43% men and 39% women).
But podcast listenership is still more heavily weighted toward younger audiences, with more than half of those who tune in monthly between the ages of 12 and 34. While only 26% of podcast listeners are 55 or older, they are the fastest-growing age demographic.
There’s a much wider gap in listenership by ethnicity. Of all those who listened to a podcast in the last month, 57% were white Americans, with 16% attributed to Hispanic Americans, 13% to Black Americans, and 4% to Asian Americans. However, the share of white listeners has declined 16% during the past ten years.
When asked why people like to listen to podcasts, here’s how they responded:
- 74% want to learn new things
- 71% are looking for entertainment
- 60% want to keep up on the latest news and topics
- 51% listen to relax
- 47% listen to feel inspired
These motivating factors are what keep podcast listeners engaged and make them look forward to future episodes.
How Can Influencer Podcasting Benefit Brands?
Influencer marketing is so effective because people regard the influencers they follow as a source of authentic, credible, entertaining, and inspiring content. People with unique interests look for social media influencers that are experts in their niche, and followers trust these personalities to provide honest feedback about relevant products.
Podcast influencers offer the same benefits as social media influencers, but people interact differently with audio content than they do when they’re scrolling through their social media feeds.
Given that there is twice the number of social media users than regular podcast listeners, a brand that’s trying to achieve a reach goal might find it difficult to cast aside targeting on social media to rely exclusively on podcasts.
But if your brand wants to expand its social media reach to niche audiences with a format that promises high engagement and audience loyalty, using podcast influencers to promote your products or services is an ideal way to optimize your influencer marketing program. Here’s why.
There’s a podcast for every niche you can imagine. Across popular podcast apps like Spotify, Apple Podcasts, and Google Podcasts, you listen to shows about true crime, politics, history, comedy, science, business, health, and fitness.
But a number of the top podcasts are extensions of popular social media accounts on YouTube and Instagram. People will gravitate to podcasts that dive deep into their interests or those that allow them to spend more time with their favorite social media follows.
Podcasts are Appointment Listening
When people decide to scroll through their social media feeds, they’re seeing the posts from all the people they follow, one after another. It might be a mix of personal friends and influencers on Instagram or a collection of accounts they subscribe to on YouTube, but it’s unlikely that the average social media user decides to read or watch the content from just one account.
However, loyal listeners make a point to tune in to regularly scheduled weekly episodes of their favorite podcasts, devoting an average of 43 minutes to each one.
A Way to Promote Your Brand to Audiences Who Don’t Trust Typical Branded Advertising
Nearly three-quarters of social media users think the platforms have too many ads, 63% find them repetitive, and 44% say they’re irrelevant to their needs. Currently, 40% of U.S. consumers block ads on their phones, but the trendline keeps inching upward.
But ads and promotions on podcasts get a more welcome reception:
- Nearly 50% of people who listen to podcasts at least five hours per week had a more positive reaction to brands they hear mentioned on shows they tune into regularly.
- More than half of podcast listeners pay attention to the ads and don’t skip over them.
- 60% of podcast listeners said they searched for a product after hearing an ad for it on the episode.
- 45% of listeners believe their favorite podcast hosts use the products they mention on their shows.
- 54% say they consider buying a product they’ve heard advertised on a podcast.
Podcast influencers speak about the products they promote in a natural way – with some even ad-libbing their way through the script. It may be the conversation nature of podcasting that makes product promotion seem even more authentic and believable than posts on social media.
Podcast Influencer Marketing is Scalable
It could be very time-consuming to have to piece together your own network of targeted podcasts to meet your brand’s goals. An influencer marketing agency that can automate the selection process can make it easy for your brand to promote your products to target customers on a broader scale.
Who Are Some of the Top Podcast Influencers?
The podcasts you choose to represent your brand will be reflective of your product category and prospective customers. But these are some of the most popular podcasts that are hosted by influencers:
Kendall Rae and Josh Thomas are the hosts for the Mile Higher podcast, where they talk about true crime, unexplained phenomena, and stories that aren’t being covered by traditional media. Josh is married to Kendall, who is a wildly popular YouTube influencer.
David Dobrik and Jason Nash are two popular YouTube influencers who have combined forces on the podcast called VIEWS. Their show topics focus on their lives as YouTube celebrities, and they give listeners an honest, behind-the-scenes look at their lifestyle.
Julie Solomon is one of the best-known podcasters who hosts podcasts for influencers. On her popular show, she talks to well-known influencers like Tiffany Napper – a holistic business coach who has coined the phrase, “messy aligned action” as a way to describe how to take action even when things aren’t perfect. She’s also interviewed Susie Moore, a former executive turned life coach and advice columnist.
Gary Vaynerchuk is an entrepreneur, CEO, speaker, and investor. He hosts a marketing podcast called, The GaryVee Audio Experience with Gary Vaynerchuk.
Alisha Marie and Remi Cruz host Pretty Basic. These best friends each host their own YouTube channels. On their podcast, these 20-somethings talk about the goings-on in their lives and address topics like relationships and mental health.
Other popular podcasts include The Girls Bathroom with Sophia and Cinzia, a fitness influencer podcast called Between the Reps hosted by Brooke Ence and Jeanna Cianciarulo, and a celebrity-themed podcast called Private Parts hosted by influencers Jamie Laing and Francis Boulle.
Keep in mind that you don’t have to sign on with the most popular podcasts to deliver on your brand goals. An influencer marketing platform can help you put together a network of targeted podcasts hosted by influencers that will build your brand and leverage your credibility.
Convert Regular Listeners to Customers With Podcast Influencer Marketing
Media habits are constantly evolving, but it appears that more people are discovering and tuning into podcasts every year.
People go out of their way to listen to their favorite podcasts on a regular basis, and because it’s much easier and more convenient to listen to content rather than read or watch it, it’s a great way to connect with people who want to multi-task while driving, working out, taking a walk, or doing household chores.
Adding podcast influencer marketing to your digital marketing plan can help build brand affinity among niche audiences who tend to be bothered or annoyed by traditional branded advertising on social media. People trust and respect the influencer hosts on their favorite podcasts and brand sponsorship can be the key to converting listeners to customers.