The Short Version: Every SparkToro search you perform now contains far more podcasts. That’s because we’ve made more connections between podcasts and their (or their host’s) social profiles, and also because SparkToro’s podcast index has grown substantially, to more than 600,000 unique shows. If you’re building Lists in SparkToro, you’ll also find that more than 80% of the podcasts in our index now have email contact information.
4 of 139 podcasts returned in a SparkToro search for profiles using the hashtag: #WindPower
The TL;DS (Too Little; Don’t Skimp): In 2020, eighty million Americans were weekly podcast listeners, the highest ever recorded by Edison’s well-respected Infinite Dial survey. But, marketers and sponsors have been slow to catch up. We think a big part of that is because it’s tough to get detailed information about podcast audiences, and even tougher to directly measure the efficacy of a podcast appearance, mention, or sponsorship.
I’m a strong believer in:
- Investing where others don’t or won’t (because it’s easy to stand out in less competitive spaces)
- Investing in channels with hard to measure ROI (because serendipitous marketing is so powerful)
Podcasts fit both these bills, and that’s a big part of why they’ve been central to the data SparkToro uncovers about online audiences. If you want to know which podcasts landscape architects, people who love board games, Clevelanders, classic car enthusiasts, followers of the Australian Breastfeeding Association, or Chief Financial Officers listen-to, SparkToro can tell you.
This trend doesn’t appear to be slowing down. I looked back through the last 10 years of Infinite Dial data and assembled this chart to illustrate:
But even this graph doesn’t showcase the full potential of the medium. Here’s some more stats from that 2021 survey just published by Edison (full PDF version here):
- 162 Million Americans (57%) have listened to a podcast
- 116 Million (41%) have done so in the past month
- 80 Million (28%) have done so in just the past week
- Weekly podcast listeners (the 80 Million above) average eight podcast episode listens/week, from an average of 5.1 unique shows
The demographics no longer fit the stereotypes of a decade ago. Of monthly podcast listeners:
- 50% are age 12-34, 29% are 35-54, and 21% are over 55
- 57% are white, 13% Black, 16% Hispanic, 4% Asian, and 10% Other
- 51% are men, 46% women, and 3% gender nonbinary/other
- Over the last 5 years of Edison’s survey, podcast listenership has diversified to the point that, for the first time in the 2021 survey, they noted the demographics “now very nearly reflect the diversity of the U.S. population.”
If you’re still under the impression that podcasts are a “niche” medium, this comparison should put that notion to rest:
If podcasts were a social network, they’d be more popular than Instagram, LinkedIn, Twitter, Reddit, or TikTok. But my guess is that, even if you’re an avid podcast marketer, your investment (of time or money) in podcasts is dwarfed by your marketing investments on those social channels. The good news is that this underinvestment is true for almost every industry, niche, and product, B2B or B2C, and that means even a small devotion of budget and effort can yield outsized results.
In addition to the increase in the number of podcasts SparkToro can now show, we’ve also got a whole lot more email contact data for podcasts in our index. These come directly from the podcast feeds themselves, because most publishers are now including email contact info there.
You’ll see the email addresses marked by their source (either the podcast’s RSS feed, or our data partner friends at Hunter.io) when you add any podcast to one of your lists. Using the CSV export can put these in a convenient format for whatever else you need to do with the data.
Before I wrap up this announcement, one last bit of advice—if you’re going to reach out to podcast hosts seeking a mention, a guest invitation, or even to place an ad, I’ve got four tips:
- If possible, get a warm intro. Find a shared contact via LinkedIn or your email network, and ask for an email introduction, even a brief one. The odds you’ll get a response, and a positive way, are exponentially higher this way.
- If you don’t have anyone to make that connection, listen to a few episodes of the podcast, and make an authentic attempt to engage with the podcaster on one or more social network. LinkedIn and Twitter tend to work especially well for this, but Facebook or Instagram could work, too. Some podcasts even have Discord channels or Subreddits where you can connect with the host and fans.
- If you’re going to pitch, do it with a topic, rather than solely on your merits as a guest. 95% of podcasts aren’t personality-focused, they’re interested in providing stories of value or interest to listeners. If you familiarize yourself with the podcast and the topics of interest to the hosts, you can often structure a pitch in a way that’s likely to get traction.
- Don’t pitch the “top 5” podcasts in your field, get discouraged, and walk away from the medium. Just like pitching conferences, you’ll want a healthy array of guest appearances on smaller, niche broadcasts to not only prove you’re a practiced, competent guest, but to give the hosts something they or their team can listen to and confirm you’re a match.
This week, take a couple minutes and use some of your free SparkToro searches to try out the new podcast index and broader coverage. Run searches on some of your competitors’ social accounts and websites. Run your own social account and website. Try a hashtag that’s popular with social accounts in your field, or a word you’d find in many job titles/bios.
We’d love to know if you’re seeing useful results, if you find anything odd, and to hear what more you’d like from podcast discovery and audience data in SparkToro in the comments below.
p.s. If you’re a paid SparkToro subscriber, we’ve automatically added contact data to all the podcasts on your Lists 😉