Podcast Trends Report – January 2021

Podcast Trends Report 2020

Podcast listening, creation and advertising trends in 2020, and predictions for podcast publication in 2021.

Our friends at AdsWiz just published their 2020 podcasting trends recap that demonstrates podcasting’s continued growth. They also offer some predictions about what to expect in 2021. If you still have the the time and attention to read… this podcasting trends report will be well worth your time. ~ Ken Greenberg, President, HG Media


Audio listening reached new heights in 2020. In February, Edison Research estimated 169 million people, about 60% of the U.S. population were listening to online audio each week. By August, Nielsen reported 75% of people listen to music while working from home at least once a week, and 40% reported tuning in daily—the highest share percentage of media-related activity of any media outlet. As of December, industry consensus and our own data show 2020 to be a record-breaking year for listening.

Podcasts, audio’s digital darling, also saw phenomenal growth in 2020. While it’s easy to think that the pandemic alone placed podcasts in the limelight, podcast listening has been on a trajectory of exponential growth for quite some time. In April of 2019, the podcast audience was projected to grow 81% by 2022. In February 2020, Nielsen’s Podcast Listener Buying Power database showed the total podcast audience growing at a compound average growth rate of 20% from 2014 to 2019.

Given the natural gravitation towards podcasts as a trusted voice for timely news, entertainment and even an escape—it’s hard not to attribute most of podcasts’ success to the global events that unfolded last year. But really, 2020 has just accelerated something that was already in the making. We have always believed in the power of podcasts. So much so that we began making investments in our podcast tech early on and delivered the first dynamically inserted podcast ad in 2012.

Our own internal data shows tremendous growth as well. From January to September 2020, we saw a 51% increase in podcast inventory globally, a 22% year-over-year increase in podcast creation, and an 81% in podcast buying from January to September 2020. All signs are pointing to podcasts playing a bigger part in the overall audio buying ecosystem.

As you read on, we’ll touch on what 2020 has looked like for podcast publishers, advertisers, and creators, and what trends we see continuing throughout 2021. ~ excerpt from report