The Advertiser’s Guide to the Podcast Platforms Landscape

One of the best things about podcasts is that you can listen to them whenever and wherever you want and there is a wide variety of listening platforms to choose from. While there are a large number of platforms that consumers use to download and listen to podcasts - Spotify, YouTube, and Apple Podcasts are far and away the leading options from a user penetration perspective.  

Top 20 Podcast Listening Platforms:

(*2022 Super Listeners Report - % of people who listener to these platforms 5+ hours per week)

YouTube 55%
Spotify 49%
Apple Podcasts 38%
Amazon Music 27%
iHeart Radio 27%
Facebook 27%
Pandora 25%
Instagram 24%
Google Podcasts 22%
Audible 19%
Podcast’s own website 18%
SoundCloud 17%
NPR One 10%
The podcast’s own mobile app 10%
Stitcher 7%
TuneIn 7%
Wondery app 7%
Pocket Casts 6%
Castbox 4%
Luminary 4%


Most podcast platforms or apps are free to download and listen but some require a subscription to enjoy ad free listening.  However, many consumers choose to enjoy the free versions of podcast apps with the ads as an integral part of the experience.  Podcast advertising has achieved a very unique status in the minds of most listeners - with 50% of podcast listeners saying that advertising on a podcast is the best way for a brand to reach them*.

Breaking Down the Top Podcast Platforms for Advertising

When advising Ad Results Media clients on how to build their media plans, we take a “creator-first” approach to selecting shows - especially considering that 87% of podcast listeners say that if their favorite podcast became exclusive to one platform that they would begin using that service*. While there is a wide variety of platforms for consumers to listen to podcasts on - there are vastly more individual podcast shows and hosts.  When we develop our media plans, we are platform neutral and focus on buying the individual shows (direct buys) or target audiences (programmatic) that will generate the greatest measurable impact for our clients.  In addition to ensuring the inventory in our preferred shows is available, we also want to make sure we can deliver the scale that client is looking for and ensure that our overall reach is not limited by platforms.

While we often view the platforms as interchangeable when building out plans, it is important to understand what makes the three leading platforms so successful and monitor how their feature sets are evolving and consumption is trending.

Apple Podcasts

Apple Podcasts is the native iOS app that comes pre-installed on all iPhones.  This service is home to millions of free podcasts as well as some of the top shows like The Daily, Smartless, Serial and This American Life.  

In 2022, 28.4M  US podcast listeners use Apple Podcasts and this number is projected to stay flat through 2026**. 


Spotify is an audio streaming app widely available for download on most devices.  Spotify started primarily as a music streaming service and built up a large catalog of artists.  One of the keys to Spotify’s success has been their algorithm's ability to serve up recommendations for both music and podcasts that are predicted to appeal to each unique user’s preferences.  They are also the exclusive home to some of the largest podcast shows out there including: The Joe Rogan Experience, Call Me Daddy and Armchair Expert.

In 2022, 32.3M  US podcast listeners use Spotify to listen to podcasts and this number is projected increase by 12.5% through 2026**.


YouTube has seen a recent surge in podcast listenership primarily due to the younger audiences who are looking to move from podcast “listening” to podcast “watching”. Video continues to play a much more important role in the podcast consumption experience.  Not only are audiences wanting to watch the conversation between their favorite podcast hosts, but they are also hungry for additional or exclusive video content only available on YouTube.  

According to a recent survey, YouTube has actually become the preferred platform for podcast consumption - 57.8% of the survey’s respondents preferred to listen to shows on the Google-backed video sharing platform***.  However, YouTube only allows Premium members to listen to audio on-the-go with the display locked and on in the background, a disadvantage for a widely used podcast player.

The Longtail

Beyond the top three listening platforms, there is a significant longtail of additional listening options.  This is one of the primary reasons that Ad Results Media is so bullish on the future of programmatic podcast advertising.  We are easily able to scale our audience buys across the full longtail of platforms using programmatic DSPs like AudioHook and AdsWizz.


For any questions about podcast platforms and how to consider them when developing your podcast advertising media plan, please reach out to the experts at Ad Results Media today for a consultation.



*Edison Research Super Listeners Report 2022

**eMarketer, September 2022