If you can believe it or not, December 2019 is well underway. And while its the last month of this year, it’s also the last month of this decade – how crazy is that?! With that in mind, we thought it might be fun to try our hand at some podcast predictions for 2020. Now as a disclaimer, it must be said that these are just our predictions. Some are based on research, some could be labeled as “educated guesses”, while others can be chalked down to our own wishful thinking – with the hopes that they reach the right eyes and ears! So put on your best velvet hat and come gaze into our crystal ball as we see all that 2020 has in store for the podcasting industry.
1. Massive Podcast Growth
We predict that 2020 will see podcast numbers rocket skyward. And while we may be biased towards the industry we love, the numbers certainly do not lie! In 2018, records show that there were 550,000 podcasts registered online. Come 2019, that number grew to 750 0001! With podcast popularity showing absolutely no signs of slowing down, we can only imagine what that number will look like at the end of 2020!
2. Greater Investment into the Podcast Industry
This year alone, Spotify stated that it would invest somewhere between $400 million and $500 million dollars on podcast acquisition2. That’s a staggering amount! (And if that doesn’t tell you that podcasts are here to stay, I don’t know what will!) This hefty sum speaks volumes about their belief in the future of podcasts, and based on that, our second prediction for 2020 is that other big-name companies will jump on the bandwagon and follow this lead, investing large amounts in order to secure themselves a juicy piece of the podcasting pie.
3. Ad Spend Will Increase
This brings us to our third prediction: adopting new marketing platforms will become even more important in 20203, and we will see this reflected in podcast advertising. 2019 already brought us an increase in podcast ads, and we definitely do not see this trend disappearing any time soon. As the numbers of those who listen to podcasts increase, marketers would be negligent if they did not explore podcasts as a viable means to market products or services in 2020. According to one report, 69% of the people polled stated that podcast ads had made them aware of certain products or services4. Another report states that 54% of podcast listeners consider purchasing the products or services they heard about on a podcast5. These high numbers are often attributed to the trust that is built between podcast listeners and hosts. Since the listener trusts the host, they, in turn, trust what the host endorses. If 2019 saw advertises capitalizing on this relationship, in 2020 we expect the demand for advertising space on podcasts to grow significantly.
4. Podcast Hosts Will Be Able to Exercise Some Marketing Control
While there may be a mad rush for podcast advertising space, and there may be some very lucrative deals on the table, we also predict that podcast hosts will be cautious in choosing who they partner with. We believe that as the number of podcasts increase, and listeners have to be more picky about what they listen to due to the vast options available to them, podcast hosts will need to work that much harder to capture their audience. So even though some marketing deals may be tempting, podcast hosts will likely see the long-term value in aligning with products and brands that suit their audience and their niche. We predict that savvy hosts will respect their relationship with their audience by not pushing products at them, but will rather choose to promote products and services that will actually be of value to their audience.
Related read: 8 Strategies to Build Authority in Your Podcast Niche
5. An Increase in Podcasting Events
2019 saw a plethora of podcast events taking place worldwide. Such events, like Podcast Movement and Podfest, are a great way to connect with others from every aspect of the industry and as the podcast industry continues to grow, we predict that podcast-focused events and conferences will also increase. As the competition ramps up, the knowledge gained at these events and conferences, from fantastic speakers to the informative panels and breakout sessions, will become that much more valuable, not to mention the incredible networking opportunities these types of events provide. We also predict that many smaller, niche-orientated events will start taking place globally in order to provide field-specific content within the broader spectrum of podcasting.
6. More Live Podcasting Will Take Place
We’re predicting, and looking forward to, more live podcasting events hosted by some of our favorite podcasts in 2020. Now, this may be more of a wish than a prediction, but with the advances in technology and the popularity of podcasts, live podcasting is easier than ever! We believe that we will see more and more podcast hosts creating unique live experiences – from recording their podcast live, to hosting Q&A sessions, or other fun events – as a way to connect with their audience and strengthen their loyal fan base.
7. New Niches Will Be Carved
Tiny homes, living waste-free, plant-based diets, climate change…these are just some of the topics that were trending in 2019. As new, alternative ways of eating, living, and even travel become more of a concern, we predict that we’ll see an increase in podcasts addressing these issues in 2020, as well as the new niche topics which will develop as off-shoots of these themes. Expect many “How to” podcasts to guide you through life-changing transitions, as well as podcasts centered on debate and creating awareness around these hot topics.
8. Video Podcasts Will Increase
In 2020 we expect to see traditional audio-based podcasters branching out to create video podcasts to accompany and complement their audio show. We’ve seen a rise in this throughout 2019 and believe it’s a trend set to continue. Video content is great for sharing across social media platforms as a way to advertise your podcast and helps increase your authority by adding a visual aspect to your content. We also predict we will see a lot more video podcasts as a way to reach those who prefer to watch, rather than listen to content.
Related read: Should My Podcast Be a Video Podcast?
It must be stated, however, that video content will not replace the need for written content. Although video content is searchable, and audio searchability has seen great improvements over this year, written content to accompany your podcast will still be vitally important in 2020. While we do predict that audio index will be greatly improved in 2020 and the years to come, creating text-rich content to accompany your podcast will still be vital when it comes to effective search engine optimization.
Related read: How To Improve the Discoverability of Your Podcast
9. Politically-Themed Podcasts Will Surge
Unless you’ve managed to successfully avoid all forms of news reports this year, you’ll know that 2020 will be the backdrop to some big political developments, with the United States as well as in the United Kingdom in the thick of it. And while there’s no way we can possibly predict what the future holds for the likes of Donald Trump and Boris Johnson, we can predict that whether you’re democratic or republic, liberal or conservative, or none of the above, there will be loads of politically-themed podcasts keeping us up-to-date and in the loop for all things politics!
Related read: The 12 Best News Podcasts
10. Podcasts Will Make a Move into Mainstream Entertainment
Another exciting prediction we will make is that we’ll see podcasts taking a giant leap into mainstream entertainment. We believe we will see more “big entertainment names” getting in on all the podcast action and taking their production to the next level. This prediction is based on the success Netflix achieved in creating their first of these scripted podcasts to accompany their hit show, Daybreak. We predict (and really hope!) we’ll see more exciting, original, scripted podcast series being created and produced, either as stand-alones or in conjunction with our favorite shows. Imagine a podcast hosted at Central Perk or Luke’s Diner, or one streaming straight from The Enterprise! We also predict that we will see production companies turning our most-beloved podcasts into series or movies in their own right.
11. More Star-Studded Podcasts
Our last podcast prediction for 2020 is that we will see more celebrities joining the podcasting game. This year saw the likes of Kate Hudson and her brother Oliver Hudson (Sibling Revelry), Eric Winter (of The Rookie fame) and his wife, actress Roselyn Sánchez, (He Said, Ella Dijo) as well as Sue Perkins from The Great British Bake-Off (Sue Perkins: An Hour or So With...) to name but a few, all starting their own podcasts. We predict that more celebs are likely to follow suit in 2020. Whether it’s to promote a project, or for their own personal enjoyment, we’re all for more access to our favorite celebs via our headphones and sincerely hope this prediction proves true!
Related read: 9 Celebrity-Hosted Podcasts We Love Right Now
2019 saw a dramatic increase in the number of podcasts available. If you still need proof of that statement in cold, hard facts, here’s a whopper…as of June 2019, there were over 30 million podcast episodes6 floating around cyberspace! With numbers like that, there can be no doubt we are living in the Golden Age of podcasts and 2020 is looking to be the best yet for the industry! But whether all of these podcast predictions come true in whole, in part, or perhaps not at all, only time will tell. What we can bet on for sure is that there is no end in sight for the podcast revolution. What we see as clear as day is that the future of podcasting looks bright and our eyes have never failed us before…you might even say we have 2020 vision!
1. Music Oomph – https://musicoomph.com/podcast-statistics/
2. CNBC – https://www.cnbc.com/2019/10/28/spotifys-barry-mccarthy-says-podcasts-are-growing-in-importance.html
3. Core DNA – https://www.coredna.com/blogs/content-marketing-trends
4. Music Oomph – https://musicoomph.com/podcast-statistics/
5. Small Biz Genius – https://www.smallbizgenius.net/by-the-numbers/podcast-statistics/
6. Podcast Insights – https://www.podcastinsights.com/podcast-statistics/