Have you fallen in love with podcasts? 

This easy-to-consume format has grown a massive amount in recent years, even though it has its roots dating back to the 1980s. Podcasts have transitioned from simple DIY shows made by friends in bedroom studios to highly-polished, professional media pieces with big budgets behind them.

Over the past decade, podcasts have become one of the most popular (audio) entertainment forms in the UK.  The statistics speak for themselves. As of 2020, there were over 15 million podcast listeners in the UK. The audience is growing steadily as the popularity of podcasts increases, with forecasts predicting close to 20 million listeners by 2024.

While podcast reach and consumption are as high as ever, podcasts are still most widespread among young audiences, with close to 40 per cent of UK listeners aged 26 to 35 listening to podcasts weekly. Smartphones are the most commonly used device to listen to podcasts, primarily listened to while driving or travelling. 

The explosion in popularity of podcasts responds to the need of getting information (or being entertained) effortlessly and in a pleasant way. Thanks to this format, for instance, getting inspired by entrepreneurial interviews has become accessible to all. In addition, with a podcast, you can hear your favourite authors, learn how to meditate or dive into complex topics like self-compassion. The rising popularity of this format has seen plenty of podcast content popping up. From true crime to sport to global news, there are several topics you can speak about in a potential popular podcast. 

Podcast trends change, and new technologies arise. It’s more important than ever to keep your finger on the pulse if you want your podcast to be searchable, relevant and relatable for your target audience. 

Let’s take a look at the significant 2022 podcast trends.

More Podcast platform competition

For many years, Spotify and Apple have been neck-and-neck in the podcast industry, vying for the top spot in the market. 

According to the latest data from The Podcast Host, 46% of 12-34 year-olds listened to Spotify each month this year. On the contrary, only 20% of the same demographic listened to Apple Music. 

Speaking of Google, “companies with massive reach and powerful ad-targeting platforms like Facebook, Google, LinkedIn or Twitter begin seriously entering the audio space.” Here are the top platforms to try out in 2022: 

In addition, major social platforms such as Facebook, LinkedIn and Twitter have joined the fray by launching their podcasts.

Podcasting events and live streaming are growing

In 2019, podcast events went mainstream all over the planet to the tune of raking in over $55 million.

Over the pandemic, live streaming has become hugely popular, and this trend shows no sign of  slowing down. 

Doing a live podcast means maximising the engagement on a medium that already compels fanbases.

With interactive content on the rise, not to mention more advanced technology and techniques, live podcasts will allow hosts and audiences to connect like never before. Whether it’s through Q&A sessions, contests or phone-in debates, live podcasts are sure to be huge in 2022.

A better quality is required

In the past, producing a low-quality podcast and having success was possible. Now, the situation has changed. High quality is necessary for podcasts because podcast listeners are college graduates, successful professionals, and entrepreneurs. 

Podcast producers have all the tools they need for social listening, audience research and content strategy. They understand that high-value listeners want to listen to high-value shows.

Audio quality has become essential, mainly because listeners are often on the go and not 100% focused on the product. They want impeccable sound quality that provides a great listening experience wherever they are

Ads in podcasts are more accepted now

There has been a 41% increase in ad-blocking software among Gen-Z and Millennials in the last year. Despite this, podcast listeners are more open to advertising. Many podcast fans have accepted that, without ads, their favourite content creators couldn’t keep up with their activity.

Big brands understand this, and they are ready to create more collaborations with podcasters. The result? According to Forrester, the podcast industry may surge north of $1 billion in ad revenue in 2022.

Greater diversity

Diversity isn’t a should. It’s a must.

Like every other form of popular media, the podcast biz is more than saturated with white, cis-gendered, able-bodied and heterosexual folks. 

If you want to create a podcast that offers real value, you need to provide other stories, experiences, and perspectives. So let’s hear from someone else for a change, shall we?

Challenging the status quo, creating representative content, and not alienating massive portions of your potential audience is now something essential.

Prioritising all listeners is not only ethical but necessary.