Politics, music and comedy: Which type of podcasts do Americans tune into and where?
May 3rd, 2023, Mike Woods

Politics, music and comedy: Which type of podcasts do Americans tune into and where?

With the proportion of weekly podcast listeners in the US increasing, from 47% in 2021 – as highlighted in the YouGov Global Media Outlook Report - to 54% in April 2023 (as per the latest data from YouGov Profiles) it is safe to say that podcasts are not just a trend. They are, in fact, here to stay. But what types of podcasts are engaging American listeners, what services and/or apps are Americans using to stream these podcasts and what are their opinions on advertising in podcasts?

A look at Americans who listen to podcasts at least once a week reveals some interesting answers to the above questions.

News and politics (38%) is the top podcast genre amongst this group followed by music (37%) and comedy (34%) in second and third place. Documentaries (22%) and sports podcasts (21%) bring up the rear of the list of top ten podcast genres amongst Americans who listen to podcasts at least once a week.

While more than a third of male podcast listeners (32%) listen to technology podcasts, this proportion falls to just a fifth of female listeners (20%). Similarly, men are also significantly likelier than women to engage with podcasts about news and politics (41% vs. 35%) and sports (23% vs. 17%).

On the other hand, women are far more likely to regularly listen to society and culture podcasts, health and living podcasts and documentaries compared to their male counterparts – 29% vs. 24%, 28% vs. 21% and 25% vs. 20% respectively.

From Spotify podcasts to TuneIn Radio, Americans waiting to hear their favourite podcast have a variety of services and apps at their disposal. But which of these services is the most popular right now?

Data from YouGov Profiles shows that more than two-fifths of Americans who listen to podcasts at least once a week use Spotify podcasts to do so (42%). That is followed by Apple podcasts (30%) and Google podcasts (28%).

More than half of our 18-34-year-old respondents (53%) use Spotify podcasts compared to only a fifth of respondents aged 55 and above (20%). Similarly, 18-34-year-olds are significantly more likely to stream podcasts using Google podcasts (37%) than weekly listeners aged 35-54 (26%) and those above the age of 55 (15%).

Interestingly, while a fifth of 18-34-year-olds (20%) and more than an eighth of 35-54-year-olds (16%) say they use Audible to listen to podcasts, this proportion falls to less than a tenth when it comes to Americans above the age of 55 (8%).

Despite fears of a slowdown in the podcast industry compared to its exponential growth during the pandemic, a study by the Interactive Advertising Bureau estimates that podcast advertising revenue in the US is projected to surpass USD 4 billion in 2024. With a growing number of Americans tuning in to podcasts every week and podcast ad spends in the US projected to surpass USD 2.5 billion by 2024, podcast advertising continues to become an increasingly important strategy for marketers. It can be useful, then, for markets to get insight into the American listener’s outlook towards advertisements in podcasts. 

More than a third of Americans who listen to podcasts at least once a week find advertisements in podcasts intrusive and skip them (32%) compared to 27% of listeners who find such ads intrusive but listen to them anyway.

American listeners are also significantly less likely to skip advertisements in podcasts compared to their trans-Atlantic neighbors in Great Britain.

While less than a fifth of listeners find podcast ads unintrusive but are interested in them (15%), one out of eight listeners find such ads unintrusive yet uninteresting (12%)

Only a small proportion of our respondents claim that they do not listen to podcasts with advertisements at all (2%).

Evidently, a substantial proportion of American podcast listeners do not skip podcast ads and many even find them interesting. This paints a promising picture for marketers and brands looking to explore the world of podcast advertising or up their existing podcast ad spends.

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Methodology: YouGov Profiles is based on continuously collected data and rolling surveys, rather than from a single limited questionnaire. Profiles data for the US is nationally representative of the online population and weighted by age, gender, education, region, and race. Learn more about Profiles.

Photo by Dmitry Vechorko on Unsplash