It’s been another amazing year for podcasts.
According to Statistica, 16.61 million people listened to a podcast in the UK this year, up from 15.61 in 2020. Both Spotify and Apple Podcasts have heavily invested in their podcast platforms by introducing subscription options for creators looking to monetise their content. This all signals a recognition that podcasts are an area that brands can invest in and reap the rewards of an engaged audience that actually listens and responds to embedded advertising.
There were huge fears in 2020 that podcast listening would fall substantially because audiences wouldn’t take the time to listen when they didn’t have to commute into work. However, the opposite has been true, with podcast listenership rising at a rate of around 13% as more people found other places in their routines to listen in on their favourite shows. So, it’s safe to say that, whether we’re working from home or hopping in the train or car every day podcasts are going to continue to be listened to and enjoyed. So, without further ado, here are my podcast industry predictions for 2022.
It’s an obvious point but one worth making. As brands, celebrities and other influential parties start to wise-up to the power of podcasts, more innovative, relevant and ingenious content will be made, and this creates reasons for more people to listen. The number of podcast listeners has been growing steadily since 2010, and I can’t see that changing next year. Brands leading the way in podcasts, and with real clout are able to draw in top talent to podcasting from other media, which in turn will drive audiences to podcasting to get their fix of quality knowledge and entertainment.
As digital natives it makes total sense that Gen Z are starting to engage more and more with podcasts, as accessing them is second nature. Many Gen Z podcast listeners have reported that they have begun listening to podcasts regularly because a celebrity or influencer that they follow has started one and they are loyal to the talent as much as they are to the content. Since this young market is becoming more interested in podcasts it’s likely that…
Apple Podcasts and Spotify pay very close attention to their audiences. As a result, they’ll be looking for more content that caters to audiences that are emerging and that aren’t that well serviced now. Apple Podcasts are also going to be paying attention to the fact that only 16% of Gen Z’ers listen to podcasts on their platform compared with Spotify who are currently enjoying a 52% slice of the market.
Gen Z are also a group that places social issues and philanthropy at the heart of their world view. Deloitte’s latest Global Gen Z and Millennial Survey highlights that over half of Gen Z’s have donated to a charity in the last year, and 49% say that they would only choose to work for an organisation that doesn’t align with their values. It stands to reason that, as more content is created by Gen Z for their own age group, more of the social issues that they value will feature in the podcasts they listen to.
At the moment, Apple Podcasts is lagging behind Spotify in terms of their original productions. Spotify really struck gold by snapping up by the Joe Rogan Experience in 2020, which is consistently the most listened to podcast in the world. Currently, Apple has a small pool of shows that are Apple Podcast exclusives, but I imagine they’re going to be creating a lot more either in-house content or snapping up exclusives in the next year.
Podcasts may be an audio first medium, but there are ways of engaging with a wider audience who may not be able to access and engage with purely audio. As more creators are considering accessibility and audiences in their work, I think there will be more of a push to include elements like transcription into the production process. Namely, I think many recording software providers will begin integrating automation as standard. Spotify started adding auto transcription to its podcasts earlier this year, and I think many other platforms will follow suit.
Podcasts are still such a new method of telling stories; it’s one of the reasons I love creating podcasts and helping others create theirs. It feels like every year, things are freshened up, shaken up and change for the better. What I envision is a podcast landscape that caters for younger audiences and puts accessibility right at the heart of the creation process.
At Charitable PR & Podcasts recently worked with Jenny Tomei, an eating disorder coach that advocate that uses Tik Tok to reach a wide Gen Z audience with her brand JenUp. Her podcast, Ask JenUp provides more information around the kind of questions she gets asked by her followers all the time. Take a listen to the first episode of the JenUp Podcast here.
Thank you for taking the time to read my podcast industry predictions for 2022. If you’re interested in beginning your podcasting journey, get in touch with us at email@example.com. You can also find a selection of blogs on this site, including one that will help you work out if a podcast is right for your organisation.