The Most Popular Topics in Podcasts

What are the most popular topics in podcasts in the US and Europe? How do these categories “behave” according to the time of day? How can these analyzes help the development of a rapidly growing sector such as podcasting? And again, can the listening behaviors of a category influence the strategic plan for promoting a podcast?

Voxnest – a leading company in the podcasting market –  has attempted to answer these questions by bringing to light some data and topics based on listening to podcasts related to their property, with the main objective of opening a discussion and discussion table with and for the industry of podcasting.

“The analysis of listening to podcasts based on the categories allows us to understand how the podcasting market is developing and what the audience behaviors are compared to the contents – says Tonia Maffeo , Head of Marketing Voxnest World -. Observing these data is of primary importance, especially in a historical moment like this, in which the giants of the ICT audio are also entering the podcasting market: it is therefore good that all the industry is compared, both to understand how we will move, both to share data entries with those who are betting on audio. “.


Podcasts: the 5 most popular content categories.


To understand how we got to analyze the categories and what are the most popular issues via podcast in a USA / EU comparison, Voxnest analysts have collected all the European countries under the same hat in order to compare them with the USA (a country that, again according to Voxnest’s analysis, it “holds” the record for podcast listeners in the world): a rather different picture of people’s listening tastes emerges, also in relation to time slots.


But let’s go into detail: among the first 5 categories examined by Voxnest regarding the United States , Religion stands out  , followed by Culture , Sport , History and finally News and Information .


As for the most popular category by Americans, Religion, it can be said that there are mainly two favorite moments for listening to dedicated podcasts: in the morning between 7.00 and 8.00, and in the evening after 21.00.


Sporte News and Information maintain a constant trend throughout the day, with a substantial difference linked mostly to the peaks that they record: Sport, in fact, is most listened to around 7.00 and 17.00, while news-related podcasts record three peaks, one around 8.00 am, one around 6.00 pm and finally one more pronounced at around 9.00 pm: a countertrend compared to what is usually expected, namely that listening to the news is the prerogative of the first morning.


In light of this, it is not incorrect to say that the listening behavior of news podcasts is similar to that of TV, which records the peak of spectators in the various newscasts during the evening.


Regarding the History category, the attention of the listeners is concentrated in the early hours of the day, around 7.00 am, where we find a first peak.


After that, the interest gradually declines during the course of the day, except for a final recovery, between 9.00 pm and 10.00 pm, similar in size to the morning peak, to then enter the night band where the natural lowering of the you listen.


The second US category is that of Culture, which the Americans prefer to “consume” in the morning: listening grows in fact after 6.00 in the morning with a clear peak at 8.00, which is slowly diminishing after 9.00.


The Top 5 Categories in Europe

The data of Europe photograph a completely different situation: in the first place in the most listened to categories there are all the podcasts related to the theme  Business followed by Culture , Psychology , History and, finally, Education .


The obvious datum in common with the USA concerns essentially the most listened time slot, transversal to all the categories, that is the 7.00 of the morning. Before school, before work, at a time when many find themselves already in the car in long lines or doing some morning fitness.


The Business category has a constant trend in the chart examined by Voxnest, with a second peak detected after 16.00. The same happens in general, albeit in a slightly minor form, also for the Culture and Psychology categories.


The case of Storia is different, where Europeans prove to be more attentive listeners between 16.00 and 18.00. Podcasts related to the Education category, however, are heard most often between 12.00 and 13.00 and between 16.00 and 17.00, as well as around 8.00.


Basically, both the USA and Europe prefer timetables linked above all to moving from home to the office or to school, confirming a rather deep-rooted tendency to listen to podcasts mainly by car or public transport, but also in gym or while facing the morning appointment with running.


The analysis of Voxnest’s data allows podcasters, publishers, as well as advertisers, to draw a fairly realistic picture of the type of listener and his preferences , which may have repercussions on the podcasting business, on the monetization for podcasters of own audio content and on advertising campaign planning.


The complexity of categorization

Going back to the Culture category, it is a container of almost endless topics, it contains a wide range of contents. And it is here that an important issue emerges, concerning the entire podcasting market: how to categorize the content of a podcast .


The data take into account the fact that the categories analyzed are rather wide (like the one related to Culture), and that is why it would be necessary to rethink the categorization methods, a hot topic in the podcasting industry, so much so that Apple recently announced that by the end of this summer, some categories of its podcast section will be rethought and added.


If on the one hand, it denotes trust and freedom, leaving podcasters the choice to register under a specific category, on the other it is very useful and necessary to refine the tools able to support podcasters in this choice, to simplify the process and help them to making the most of the content they propose, so they can be traced more easily and maybe even in more than one category.


«The ideal to solve this problem? It could be an artificial intelligence that can help the podcaster in choosing to belong to one category or another, “says Maffeo. ” That of podcasting is a market in continuous evolution and like all” new things “it needs constant adjustments, and shared reflections on the progress of the market and the medium “.



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