As we look ahead and plan for audio advertising in 2021, let’s look back at 4 key trends that helped drive Digital Audio’s double-digit growth this past year.


Trend #1: Everyone is listening

In fact, Edison Research reported 74% of adults ages 25 to 54 are regularly streaming music, news, and podcasts each month. Here are the 3 apps that saw the most gains in listenership during the pandemic according to ComScore:

  1. Pandora, +42%
  2. iHeartRadio, +11%
  3. Spotify, +1%

Pandora and iHeartRadio also topped another recent survey of the most recognizable audio brands in the US.  Which really shouldn’t come as any surprise, considering Pandora is still the country’s most popular music streaming app, and iHeartRadio’s reach extends to 9 in every 10 Americans.

Trend #2: Podcasts are booming

The podcast trend is becoming more of a movement in the greater entertainment industry. Here are some of the latest figures to back it up from Edison Research:

  • 55% of Americans have listened to a podcast, and over 1 in 3 (37%) US adults now listen to podcasts on a monthly basis.
  • 6 hours and 39 minutes, that’s how much time the average listener is streaming podcasts every week now.  100 more minutes than pre-pandemic levels.
  • 850,000, is the number of active shows that make up the podcast universe. In 2018, that count was less than 500,000.

Trend #3: Smart Speakers are surging as home listening soars

Smart Speakers according to Edison Research are emerging as common appliances in the American home, now that over a quarter (27%) of all households own one.8  With sales expecting to grow 21% this year alone, this explosion in Smart Speakers is almost symbolic of everything else that’s happening to streaming habits inside the home these days:

  • 44%, is how much home listening has risen during the pandemic.
  • Nielsen reports 75% of folks working from home are streaming music every week; 40% reported tuning in every day, the highest share percentage of media-related activity of any media outlet.
  • 90% of all podcasts are currently enjoyed at home.

Traditionally a mobile medium, this pandemic is shifting America’s increasing appetite for music, news, and podcasts away from cars, offices, and gyms and into kitchens, living rooms, and bedrooms instead.

Smart Speaker adoption is a symptom of this home listening trend. Which, judging by its direction, isn’t going anywhere anytime soon, even after this pandemic passes. Creating new markets for audio advertisers to pursue well into the future.

Trend #4: Audio AdTech is maturing

Working behind the scenes of every app is a machine that’s learning more and more about their users’ behavior. And in between all last year’s extraordinary developments in content, hardware, and listening trends – it’s this data supporting the success of audio advertisers.

This isn’t your grandmother’s radio. Today’s adtech is rapidly advancing, giving better data on your customers (and potential customers) with each passing day. Now marketers are able to leverage this data to reach target audiences by their hobbies, interests, and user profiles – making it possible to truly personalize their marketing by ensuring their messages reach the people who need to hear it most.