Interest in listening to podcasts is growing, according to research by Pew Internet and American Life Project. Nearly one out of every five adults (19%) have downloaded and listened to a podcast, and that number is up from 12% in 2006. Podcast listeners are more likely to be men, and experienced Internet users. They’re also more likely to be under 50 years old – in fact, the percentage of younger generations downloading podcasts has nearly doubled since 2006. Not surprisingly, people with a broadband connection at home are much more likely to download podcasts.
The amount of podcast content, both audio and video, available for download has also grown significantly – according to the study, Podcast Alley, a podcast directory website, cataloged more than 26,000 podcasts with more than 1 million episodes in Nov. 2006. That number has nearly doubled to some 43,000 podcasts and more than 2 million episodes today.
Itunes is largely responsible for the increase in podcast popularity – the Itunes store heavily promotes its podcast content, and makes it relatively simple to subscribe to a podcast and receive regular episodes on your computer. Other forces driving increased podcast listening include broadband penetration, a proliferation of mp3 devices, and more and better content available.
It’s relatively simple to subscribe and listen to audio podcasts. Itunes lists many podcasts categorized in various popular categories such as technology, news, politics, comedy, fiction, and more. Once a listener selects a podcast they can choose to subscribe, which means that each time a new episode of that podcast show is available, it will be downloaded into Itunes on their computer for easy transfer to their ipod or other device.
The process requires action on the part of the listener. This makes podcast content an appealing place for advertisers who are looking for a greater degree of engagement with a listener. The key to monetizing podcasts is not in selling a high number of impressions, but rather in finding the right advertiser to fit the content, and featuring that advertiser with targeted messaging before, after and perhaps within the download. If desired, advertisers can include incentives to return the listener to a website with a code in order to gauge return on their investment.