In recent years, podcasts have become a staple of modern media consumption. With the rise of the "on-demand" culture, a large swath of people have been turning to podcasts to get their news, entertainment, and/or listen to their favorite dulcet-toned host. However, new data suggests that the podcast industry may be headed for a slump. According to U.S. Google search volume, the keyword "podcast" has dropped by 45% since January 2019, (450k average monthly searches in January 2019 down to 246k in December 2022).
Despite a short spike in early 2020, the popularity of podcast searching has been staganting. Beyond the single keyword, the phrase “how to start a podcast” has experienced a 33% drop in U.S. Google searches. The monthly search volume for that query in the U.S. is 30,000, a sizable chunk below the average monthly search volume of 43,000 across the last three years.
The downward trend can also be seen in general queries related to podcasts, such as "best podcast," "podcast app," "top podcast," and "what is a podcast," which have decreased by 63%, 55%, 63%, and 63%, respectively.
One of the most popular and in-demand genres of podcasts is "true crime podcasts," with over 40,000 average monthly searches across the last three years. However, even this genre has seen a decrease in searches, with a nearly 20% drop since January 2019. This could be a sign that listeners are starting to experience fatigue when it comes to stories about serial killers, or, they’ve found the one show they can’t live without and have no need to search for another.
Despite the decrease in searches related to podcasts, there are some signs of growth in the industry. Searches for platforms on where to listen to podcasts, such as Google Podcasts, Apple Podcasts, and Spotify Podcasts, have been on the rise in 2022 and are not showing signs of a slowdown. Additionally, searches for "podcast equipment" have been increasing slightly, growing 50% from October to December of 2022, which could signal a coming wave of new podcasters with the same New Year’s resolutions.
To opine on the overall trends, some experts point to the increasing saturation of the market, making it harder for individual shows to stand out and attract listeners. Others suggest that the drop in searches could be a sign that the podcasting boom is coming to an end, and that the industry is headed for a major correction.
Regardless, it's important to remember that the podcast industry is still relatively young and it’s likely to evolve and adapt to the changing tastes and habits of listeners.
What can marketers do about it?
- Identify and target niche markets: The decline in podcast searches could mean that the market is becoming saturated with too many generic shows. Marketers can use Semrush to identify niche markets that are still growing and target them with specific content and promotions.
- Monitor and track competitors: Marketers can use Semrush to monitor and track their competitors' performance in the podcast market. This will help them understand the strategies that are working for others and use best practices for their own campaigns.
- Analyze trends: Marketers can use Semrush to analyze trends in the podcast market, such as the popularity of specific topics or genres. This will help them create content that is more aligned with what listeners are currently looking for.