2019 has been an outstanding year for the podcast. As one of the largest podcast hosting companies, we wanted to share some of the key data and trends from our platform. This includes valuable insights not only from our hosted podcasts, but also useful listening data from our popular podcast app.
Trends: What Changed in Podcasting in 2019
1. The number of podcasts is increasing (and listening is too).
You’ve probably heard this from other sources, and our numbers definitely confirm a significant trend in growth. The number of podcasts hosted on Podbean grew 70% from 2018 to 2019.
The top podcast hosted on Podbean had over 50 million downloads in 2019. The overall downloads number on the Podbean platform increased by 62%. The number of podcast plays in the Podbean app grew 110%.
2. The podcast app market is growing, while podcast app market share is diversifying.
Top 10 Podcast Apps and Players in 2019
From the beginning of 2019 to the end of 2019, Apple’s share of downloads for Podbean podcasts dropped from 49.36% to 39.26%. Spotify as a source of downloads/plays started from 0% but immediately rose to 7% when Podbean became a Spotify passthrough partner in March 2019. Spotify has now grown to 18.08% of downloads for Podbean podcasters.
However, Apple Podcasts’ absolute number of monthly downloads didn’t drop. They actually increased by 29.23% throughout the year.
Actually, all podcasts apps showed growth in downloads in 2019. For example, Google Podcasts’ monthly downloads number increased by 71.29%. The Podbean app’s downloads increased by 110%.
Spotify joining the market didn’t reduce the number of downloads on other apps. It was part of the trend of an overall expansion in the podcast market. We see this is a healthy sign that the podcast market has a huge potential to grow. New major players, such as Spotify and Google, have helped the overall podcast market to grow faster. More downloads are coming from a variety of podcast apps, including those focused on cross-platform users.
3. The Podbean app is one of those sources that is growing.
The number of podcast plays in the Podbean app grew 110%. The Podbean app now has over 1 million monthly active users.
Listener engagement on the Podbean app has also grown strongly. The total number of “follows” (listeners following podcasts) on the app grew 83%. The total number of comments on the Podbean app grew 84%.
4. Businesses podcasting showed significant growth.
The number of podcasts using Podbean’s Business and Enterprise services grew 230% from 2018 to 2019. Podbean now hosts podcasts for IBM, RedHat, J.P.Morgan, Aflac and many large companies and organizations. We see podcasts becoming as essential to businesses as blogs have been. Podcasts are the hot, new marketing and communications tool for companies and organizations, for external marketing, workforce development and much more.
Podcast Trends: Consistency in 2019
These podcast statistics remained relatively consistent with past years for podcasts hosted on Podbean:
- Approximately 58% of downloads were on iOS devices
- Around 22% were on Android
- Around 53% of downloads were from listeners in the U.S.*
*Though the U.S. remains the top country for downloads far ahead of any other single country, listening is growing in various markets. And, many of the top podcasts hosted by Podbean are in languages other than English.
The Most Effective Monetization Methods for Independent Podcasts
Podbean works with podcasts of all sizes, genres and professional levels, but our primary hosting clients are independent podcasters. We provide various monetization services, giving us a unique window into what is working for independent podcasts when it comes to making money. Podbean provides Premium Podcasting (i.e. podcasts behind a paywall), a Patron Program (for listeners to contribute monthly donations), and podcast advertising services.
Among them, the Podbean PodAds service appears to bring in the most income for Podbean-hosted podcasts. However, Premium podcasting has the highest growth rate and potentially could be the biggest source of income for independent podcasts.
The top podcast using Podbean’s PodAds dynamic ads insertion service served over 4 million ad impressions. We don’t know how much the podcast gets paid for their ads (Podbean does not take a revenue cut from podcasters using this service). However, if we calculate using a $30 CPM, the estimated ads income is $120,000. Overall, the PodAds growth rate was 40%.
The top podcast using Podbean’s Patron Program made over $100,000 so far in 2019. The Podbean Patron Program’s overall income growth rate was 59%.
The top Premium Podcast made over $70,000 thus far in 2019. The Podbean Premium Podcast service’s overall income growth rate was 62%.
Interesting Insights about Podcast Listeners
Podbean listeners are very loyal to the podcasts they follow on the Podbean app. Among the top 100 podcasts in the Podbean app, the average four-week retention rate is 61% and the average seven-week retention rate is 55%. Podbean retention (available as part of Podbean’s standard hosting statistics for all users) tells you the percentage of people who keep listening to your podcast over particular periods. If you’re hosted with Podbean, you can check your podcast retention rate in your Podbean statistics page to see how loyal your listeners are and to spot trends that might help you make content modifications.
Podbean also offers a “Downloads by Day of Week and Time of Day” chart. The top five time slots that have the most downloads/streams on the Podbean app are:
- Wed 7 pm EST
- Mon 8 am EST
- Mon 9 am EST
- Tue 9 am EST
- Mon 10 am EST
Overall, the most important time period for podcasts is Monday to Wednesday in the morning (Eastern time). Consider this when scheduling episode releases, to make sure you take advantage of having fresh podcast content available during these prime listening times. If you’re hosted with Podbean, you can check your podcast’s peak listening time slots. Your podcast might have different peak listening periods than the averages.
Top Podcasts in 2019
Below you can see various top 10 lists, from both our hosted podcasts (and the platform’s monetization programs) and the Podbean app. Visit https://www.podbean.com/2019-top-10-podcasts to see the Top 10 podcasts hosted on Podbean in each category.