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Podcast Trends in 2021

May 11, 2021

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Since the pandemic started, we have seen massive growth in podcasting. This growth has led to several new trends that are creating exciting opportunities for podcasters.

In yesterday’s episode, Debbie Arcangeles showed us just how easy it is to podcast remotely, which became a new trend in 2020 due to worldwide lockdowns. Today, I’m talking about 7 trends for 2021 and how you can take advantage of them.


1 – The number of people listening to podcasts continues to grow

A new study expects 125 million people to listen to podcasts in 2022. Last year, it was close to 100 million. An expected 25% growth in one year is a huge number that creates a lot of potential. 

Another fun fact is that we surpassed 1 million podcasts in 2020. A little over a year later, we are already nearing the 2 million podcast mark. Don’t freak out that there have been 1 million new podcasts created in the last year because this number includes inactive podcasts, which accounts for nearly 75% of total podcasts. Whichever way you look at it, the market is growing on all sides and that’s a huge opportunity for us. 

2 – Tougher competition between podcast apps

Apple Podcasts dominated the podcast player world for many years. Things have changed, though, as apps like Spotify, Google Podcasts, Amazon, and Pandora have come into the market.

As a podcaster, you need to prioritize making your show available on all of the apps because it can be surprising where your audience is listening from. I was shocked to learn that a significant portion of my audience was coming from smaller apps like Overcast. 

3 – Quality and consistency are becoming more important 

When the number of podcasts went from 1 million to almost 2 million in just over a year, I believe that quality and consistency become that much more important. That doesn’t mean that your new podcast has to be absolutely perfect. However, I also think that quality and consistency is how you can ensure that people see you as a serious podcaster and not just another person who will get “podfade” after a few episodes. 

4 – The rise of live broadcasting 

A fun new trend in podcasting is the rise of live broadcasting episodes through IG lives, Facebook live, YouTube, etc. I haven’t tried this out for my own podcast yet, but I have been a guest on other podcasts where the episode was live broadcasted and it was so much fun to engage with the audience in real time. They would ask questions that we were able to answer right away and made the show more interactive and personal. This is definitely one of the more fun trends I see happening and something to consider if you want to engage more with your audience.

5 – Podcast ad revenue is expected to reach $1.13B

The podcast ad revenue is expected to grow to $1.13B in 2021. That is 10x the amount spent on ads in 2015. I don’t typically talk about ads and sponsorships on my podcast because for many podcasters, I don’t think it’s the most profitable way to monetize. However, for podcasters without a business or who aren’t looking to create a product to sell through their podcast, this is a great opportunity to generate income. This means that more and more businesses see how beneficial a podcast can be for their brand and that podcast hosts are seen as trustworthy influencers. 

If you are considering having sponsorships for your podcast, think about your niche and how you can make this beneficial for your listeners. This is a huge opportunity for both you and them. It’s a win-win!

6 – Luminary is coming on the scene

Luminary is a subscription podcast network where subscribers pay a monthly fee and can access their database of shows. Think of it as the Netflix of podcasting. This is very interesting for podcast creators because it means new opportunities are coming for us to get paid for the content that we’re creating.

7 – The rise of cross-promotion to increase audience reach

Cross-promotion is a strategy to reach new audiences by partnering with an aligned brand. This could look like doing a podcast swap where you interview someone for your show and then they interview you in return for their show, giving you both exposure to new listeners. Another idea is that you could partner with another podcaster and do promo snippets for each other. You could simply promote each other’s podcasts or a particular product you’re launching. 

More and more podcasters are using this strategy to reach new audiences. If you’re not doing anything like this, then definitely think about it. See if you can come up with a cool collaboration because this community of podcasters is so nice.

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