With the success of the hit series Serial, Marketer’s rejoiced that “podcasting is back!” The question is, is this exuberance hype or herald? Let’s look at the facts.
1. Penetration Is Still Under 20%
Even after the hype of Serial, regular podcast consumption is still only 17%. That’s just about 46 Million people that have listened to a podcast in the last month.
You would think that if listeners were that bullish, that number would be higher. I’m not saying this stat negates the trend on its own but it’s something to look at.
2. “Share of Ear” For Podcasts Is Now at 30%
In 2014, AM/FM radio and owned music took up a combined 43% of the total audio consumed by Americans. Podcasts, in comparison, now represent almost a 1/3rd of the time we spend listening to audio content.
Now, this stat is actually from late 2014 and probably was conducted during the height of Serial. However, it is from the same source as our first stat and it makes me think it does hold some water. The question is, does this represent true share-of-time or are there some people that skew the balance as podcast listeners tend to be more singular in their tastes?
3. Search Interest In Podcasting Has Not Grown
According to search data available through Google, the interest in podcasting via search over the last 12 months has not been impacted, nor is growing. In fact, though not a statistically relevant number, search interest actually shrank -.033%.
You would think that if consumers were suddenly getting behind podcasting one of the key indicators would be interest via search. After all, search interest is the foundation of Google’s Zero Moment of Truth.
With these three stats, my best analysis tells me that podcasting is still very much a niche medium. I’m not going to preclude investing in it as a potential channel to reach stakeholders but it’s not going replace traditional digital outreach channels like blogs or digital public relations anytime soon.