Everyone is Listening: The AdsWizz Podcast Trends Report 2020.

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


A look back on 2020

Audio listening reached new heights in 2020. In February, Edison Research estimated 60% of the U.S. population (about 169 million people) 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 are pointing to 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. As far back as April of 2019, the podcast audience was projected to grow 81% by 2022. Earlier this year in February, 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.


Introducing the Podcast 2020 Trends Report

It is with great excitement that we present the inaugural Podcast 2020 Trends Report. This report was designed to share the rich podcast data that flows through our platforms—from listening habits, to top-performing genres, to primary listening devices.

AdsWizz’s audio adtech platform connects the largest audio publishers with leading agencies and brands worldwide. Our platform reaches 250 million unique devices and serves over 25 billion ad impressions each month. Through our Simplecast content management platform (CMS) platform, we host over 14,000 podcast creators; generating over 19 million hours of podcast listening hours per month. Together, our unified adtech and CMS are uniquely positioned to understand and solve for the intricacies of podcasting, from creation to monetization.

In addition, to the insights derived from our internal data, we surveyed leading international advertisers and audio publishers and indie podcasters. We wanted to hear from them on topics such as: impacts of COVID-19 on creation, programmatic advertising in podcasting, and general outlook for 2021.


Report Highlights

What we found was exciting, surprising and telling. For us, there were 3 major takeaways:

    1. Podcast listening, creation and advertising has increased. 2020 could have easily caused the world of podcasts to pump the brakes. Instead, the year that went pear-shaped helped accelerate the predicted growth. Podcasts flourished throughout the year with: a 51% increase in available inventory from active listeners January to September 2020, a 53% increase in new podcasts Q4 2019 to Q1 2020, and an 81% increase in podcast ad impressions from January to September 2020.
    2. Programmatic audio buying and selling is on the horizon. While programmatic still represents a small portion of how digital audio and podcasts are transacted, both advertisers and publishers alike are making plans to expand their programmatic transactions in podcasts. 60% of our surveyed advertisers are planning to start buying podcasts programmatically in the next 12 months, and 64% of polled podcast publishers plan to start selling programmatically in the in the next 12 months.
    3. Technology is accelerating a shift in the podcast landscape. After all the data was pulled and the survey results analyzed, we believe some of the trends seen this year will roll into 2021, with major publishers stating that they will make increased investment in podcast adtech in the coming year.  We also think there will be some new technology that will further accelerate the shift from print to podcast. We’re placing our bets on continued technology advances in contextual targeting, brand safety, and automated host-read ads.


The full report covers:

  • 2021 predictions in-depth,
  • Listening habits – time of day and monthly trends and device usage,
  • Creation trends before and after COVID-19,
  • Advertising trends, including top-performing genres and programmatic buying/selling,
  • And targeted surveys that give voice to the key industry players – independent creators, advertisers, and audio publishers.


To get the full report click here or fill out the form below.


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