Code3 was proud to attend the 2023 IAB Podcast Upfront, an event for podcast brands to demonstrate the power of podcasts and update agencies and more on the latest developments in podcasts and with their brands. 

We heard from major podcast players like iHeart, Wondery, and more, and got tons of info on the future of podcasts and what’s trending. We’re excited to share some of what we learned about this exciting medium – though we’ll keep some of the best info to ourselves. 

Read on to see some of the latest and greatest podcast trends and what brands are doing today. 

IAB Podcast Upfront

IAB Podcast Upfront is a marketplace event, so podcast brands had the opportunity to present their achievements, what’s working for them, and what their data predicts. 

Before we heard from brands, we had the opportunity to hear about overarching changes in podcasts and the trends that are defining all the brands. Here are the biggest ones:

  1. Fandoms. The best podcasts are ones that create community, and offer that community on demand at your disposal. 
  2. Another feature of successful podcasts is a low barrier to entry. 
  3. Podcasting increased 28% YoY and is the fastest-growing digital channel with a +250% growth since 2019. 
  4. Experts project revenue to double by 2025.
  5. Sports, society & culture, and comedy are currently the top revenue-generating genres in podcasts. 

We heard from iHeart, Wondery, NPR, Wall Street Journal, Transunion, Acast, SONY, Artsai, Yapmedia, Cumulus, Soundrise, Sirius XM, and more. Here are some of our takeaways.  

Trends in Podcasting Today

iHeart’s listeners top 130mm a month with 1m monthly downloads. According to this powerhouse, the biggest genres right now in podcasting are: 

  • Biggest, most interesting genre.
  • Comedians turning to podcasts.
  • Offers an opportunity for performers to go back to the essence of comedy.
Mental Health (growing category)
  • Studies show audio brings More empathy, perspective-taking, and trust than visual.
  • Sesame Street might go into podcasting.
  • Studies show more empathy and connection through audio than visual.
  • Next Step Program.
    • A 6-month program that gives you resources to learn and make podcasts.
    • Black, Fat, Femme show got started.
    • How to build out a show and what goes into making a successful show.
Branded Content
  • Podcast-branded content may be one of the strongest.

Wondery indicated success with investigative journalism, and a push to focus on that content. 

If you’re thinking about investing in podcasts, consider finding brands with a variety of offerings in these categories.

NPR also discussed expanding offerings and scalability, showing how podcast companies are thinking about expanding listenership across platforms.  A more news-focused platform, NPR talked about the importance of branded podcasts and creating content based on trust. 

Podcast Potential and Buying Power

According to Transunion, podcast revenue surpassed 1 billion in 2021 and is on track to surpass 4 billion in 2024. All of the brands who presented showed listener numbers in the tens of millions and more, and both the number of listeners and the amount of time they spend listening has increased. 

Additionally, podcasts boast impressive stats for product purchases and audience engagement. 60% of people who have listened to a podcast bought something because they heard it, 69% say they are more aware of a brand when hearing it on a podcast, and 81% pay attention to podcast ads more than other channels. 

Small shows offer big opportunities for brands; in fact, it’s not about the size of the show but the depth of the listener relationship, with smaller shows delivering even higher ad engagement. 

However, data indicates that brands are currently missing 88% of the addressable podcast audience with their ads and need to invest in the right data tools. 

With half the US population turning into a podcast at least once a week, brands need to take advantage of this rapidly growing platform and the highly engaged audiences. 

Our advice? Invest in podcasts. To talk more about how we can help you get started, contact us today. In the meantime, don’t forget to check our Code3’s very own podcast on everything marketing and advertising, Crack the Code

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