Podcasting Is Shaking Off Its Niche Status As Reach Grew 21% In The Past Year.


Podcasting’s reach grew 21% between 2020 and 2021 according to the latest Nielsen Scarborough Podcast Buying Power report. It shows nearly a quarter (23%) of U.S. adults age 18 and older can be reached via podcasting in 2021. That is up from roughly one in five adults that could be reached by advertisers using podcasting one year ago.


The rate of most rapid growth came among Adults 35 to 64 where Nielsen reports a 28% year-over-year increase in the number of people that are podcast listeners. Today, 23% of 35 to 64 year olds can be reached by podcast.


There was also a big gain in the so-called “money demo” of 25-54 most used by advertisers. Nielsen says reach for podcasts in that demo rose 21% in the past year and today three in ten (29%) adults in that age group can be reached though podcasts.


Advertisers continue to have the best opportunity to reach a young adult with podcast ads. Nielsen says a third of 18 to 34 year-olds listen to podcasts, up from 28% a year ago.


“The growth of podcasting has brought a massive opportunity for advertisers to reach highly engaged audiences,” says Arica McKinnon, Vice President of Client Consulting at Nielsen. “While the industry has made strides to capture metrics like downloads, brands have been challenged to understand the impact of ads. Today, those challenges are fading.”


Nielsen’s latest Podcasting Today report released earlier this month showed how podcasting is catching on with mainstream audiences. That was illustrated by the growth of the number of light podcast listeners across all demos and multicultural age groups.


Today, light podcast listeners account for half (49%) of the total podcast audience, and data from Nielsen Podcast Buying Power shows how podcast reach is growing across age groups, including adults 40-55, who now account for almost half (47%) of listeners in aggregate. “The increasing appeal of podcasts to general audiences is exactly why brands and agencies need to be tracking engagement with them and leveraging the opportunities in their marketing strategies and campaigns,” says Nielsen’s analysis.


The data does show some things have changed because of the pandemic. Half of podcast listening happens at home, which is up 10% from three years ago. The audience is also more diverse. In fact, as of last year, the U.S. podcast audience was more diverse than the U.S. itself. Nielsen says 41% was non-White, while only 34% of the U.S. population is non-White. It also noted significant growth across Hispanic, Black and Asian demos.


Download Nielsen’s latest Podcasting Today report HERE.

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