After months of turmoil brought by the Covid-19 pandemic, the need to consume—and create—digital content skyrocketed in 2021. Listeners and creators alike turned to podcasts for escapism and a deeper sense of human connection. In turn, advertiser investment in the space boomed in 2022, and now we are seeing greater diversity in both audiences and brands, increased listenership, and increased ad spend driven by more traditional advertisers.
Drawing on data from Spotify and its enterprise podcast platforms1, our end-of-year Podcast Trends Report takes a deep dive into these trends—and in this article we’ll be analyzing what they mean for advertisers as they look to optimize their content and revenue strategies for the coming year.
Podcast streaming explodes in Southern Europe
US-based podcast listening continued to rise steeply in 2022—but it soared on the other side of the Atlantic. The UK and Germany were already well established markets but European countries newer to podcasting—like Spain, Italy, and France—saw massive jumps, and these upward trends show no sign of slowing.
Podcast downloads increased by 298% in Spain, 244% in Italy, and 379% in France.2
Age is no barrier
Millennials and Gen Z represent the biggest demos when it comes to podcast listenership—they remained the primary drivers of podcast streams in 2022—but this trend may not last for much longer. In 2022, it was the outlying demographics that showed the strongest growth.
With the explosion of new shows—including Spotify Originals Archetypes and Batman Unburied—podcasters proved that the medium truly offers something for everyone, helping to attract new audiences, both younger and older. In fact, our findings show that both teenagers (ages 13-17) and the 55+ category showed increased engagement, with 42%-49% growth.3
A podcast for every mood
2022 wasn’t a year for the fainthearted. Distressing political and societal events dominated world headlines, and more than ever people turned to podcasts both for wider context on the stories that matter, and to tune out the noise. Across all platforms, listeners streamed Society & Culture and News podcasts the most4, while on Spotify the Comedy category was the most popular.5
Podcast trends by country on Spotify also revealed some interesting results. For instance, listeners in France, Germany and Italy appear to be interested in self-improvement and education, streaming content across categories like Health & Fitness, History, and Religion & Spirituality.
Streaming any time, from any device
We believe podcasts resonate so well with people due to their intimate, one-to-one setting— listeners feel closer to hosts, and more immersed in the content. So, it’s no surprise to us that mobile devices continued to be the most popular way to listen to podcasts in 2022, accounting for 91% of time spent across Spotify. But as new audiences grow, so too are new ways of listening.
In 2021 we reported a marked increase in the use of Smart speakers, suggesting more people were listening together at home. Our 2022 research reveals a similar pattern, even when it comes to podcast listening: Audiences are increasingly listening to podcasts not only on their Smart speakers, but also in the car, and on their smart TVs6—where there’s every chance more than one person could be tuning in.
Ads landing with listeners
Evidently, advertisers across diverse categories are recognizing the podcast medium as a valuable channel for marketing their brand, product, or service to their target audience. While early investors in podcast advertising—such as Tech, CPG and Entertainment brands—continue to be top spenders, we’re seeing major growth in new categories. In 2022, ad spend across B2B, Medical/Pharma, and Travel/Leisure increased exponentially.7
Industry-wide, advertisers saw an average conversion rate of 1.28% from their podcast campaigns (the number of attributed households that visited a brand’s site / the unique households that downloaded an episode), with pre-roll the most effective placement.8
Time to bring podcast ads into your marketing plans
As the podcast medium continues to grow rapidly in popularity, we are seeing greater diversification just about everywhere—from audience and content, to choice of device and advertiser investment. And that bodes very well for another exciting year of growth and opportunity for advertisers to reach audiences immersed in the content they love.
Do these podcast trends impact your marketing plans for 2023? Check out our beginner's guide to podcast advertising or find out more about how you can get started with podcast ads on Spotify.