That’s a question I get asked all the time, and one I love to answer. The fact is that we know, we actually know exactly how many people listen, and we know lots more about them too. I never used to be able to answer that question when I was on radio. People dipped in and out, they listened to other stations, we never knew exactly what the numbers were. compiled a fascinating piece of research on podcast audiences in the US – and discovered some very interesting things:

Podcast audiences as a whole are diverse, educated, mobile, loyal, engaged and affluent. Half the surveyed podcast listeners had a bachelor’s degree or higher and they read a lot of books. Listening takes places in the car (52%), while traveling by air or public transport (46%), while doing exercise (32%). They are loyal listeners, 88% of them listening to most or all episodes of a show. They’re also engaged – 61% of them reported buying something they heard in a podcast ad. They also have the money to make those purchases – 22% of listeners have an annual household income of $100 000 or more.

It stands to reason that in South Africa, those numbers would be comparable – and that would make podcast audiences a very sexy proposition for advertisers. Some of them are really slow to catch on – continuing with old-fashioned sponsorships that aren’t doing anything original or interesting and reaching only the laggards who still haven’t caught on that their phone is the gateway to the best content available.

A lot of fuss has also been made about generational differences in audience. What kind of content is a typical Gen X, Y or Z listener looking for, and what kind of advertising gets their attention? There are some interesting discoveries about the format and method of delivery, but perhaps more interesting is the nature of the content that works. In a study by Kantar Millward Brown, it turns out these are the things that people care about when it comes to appealing advertising:


℅ Kantar Millward Brown and Marketing Land


What this tells us is mostly what we already know: That a good ad (and good online content) has the same ingredients as a good party: Laughter, good music, interesting stories and occasionally a famous person making a cameo.

I often get emails from listeners who listen to our podcasts, not to hear interviews with famous guests or because content is exclusive; but rather because they feel part of the family when they listen – like they belong to a club of funny, smart, interesting people. They say their favourite shows are the ones where they’re part of a conversation about normal stuff. That’s the highest praise you can receive as a broadcaster, podcaster or content creator. If you’re on YouTube, Facebook, Instagram or making a podcast, that’s what will make you successful, and will bring the advertisers you need and your audience want.




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Who Listens to Podcasts?