THE 2023 STATE OF
The meteoric growth of podcasts in the US is remarkable. 144 million Americans listen to podcasts each month. That number is expected to increase to 164 million by 2024 (Statista).
Healthcare brands have taken note, with more and more businesses turning to podcasts as an effective marketing tool to reach, engage, and inspire their target audiences. The trend is well-founded, as health is tied with sports for the 4th most popular podcast genre, with overall listenership up a whopping 44% since 2019 (Inside Radio).
The rise of podcasts can be attributed to several key factors: The convenience of absorbing audio, immersive storytelling, diversity of content, and niche community-building aspects. With 55% of listeners turning to podcasts for learning and 30% to hear expert opinions (Pew Research Center), podcasting has been ripe with opportunities for a complex industry like healthcare.
Despite the growth of healthcare podcasts, many succumb to “pod fade,” a phenomenon where shows abruptly discontinue after six months or so (Cureus). While it may have gotten easier to produce a podcast, it has gotten much more challenging to produce a podcast that is successful. The dated approach of “record, publish, repeat” is a recipe for failure.
For the modern podcast to succeed, it needs to be more strategic, innovative, and offer a more engaging experience for listeners, which goes beyond streaming platforms.
The good news is that there’s plenty of room for opportunity in the healthcare podcast space. We reviewed over 200 active healthcare podcasts to compile actionable insights that can inform the strategies of new and existing shows alike.
In this research report you’ll discover:
💡 Industry Insights:
Gain comprehensive insights into over 200 healthcare podcasts spanning across 10 subject verticals. Discover the strategies and practices that contribute to the success of the highest-performing healthcare podcasts
💡 Market Opportunities:
Uncover entry gaps for new shows within the healthcare podcast landscape and explore opportunities to optimize your current podcast.
💡 Competitive Edge:
Learn how healthcare brands can leverage a podcast to edge out competition, boost share of voice, increase customer engagement and brand awareness.
The Research Process
We analyzed the top 10 health podcasts on Apple Podcasts to uncover valuable insights into the trends and strategies that contribute to their success. Additionally, we conducted an extensive study of 200 healthcare podcasts, spanning 10 subject verticals. By cross-referencing our findings with those of the top 10 health podcasts, we uncovered valuable insights, including entry points for new podcasters, optimization opportunities for existing shows, growth strategies, and more.
Top 10 Healthcare Podcasts Sample Group:
This sample group is comprised of the 10 shows that maintained a minimum appearance of 14 consistent days in Apple Podcast’s top 10 chart for “health” podcasts during May 2023.
All Healthcare Podcasts Sample Group:
Podcast streaming platforms lack a specific category for “healthcare,” often grouping it under the broader “health” category. To create our All Healthcare Podcasts sample group, we established a definition for "healthcare podcasts" based on 10 specific subject areas (Fig. 1). Next, we conducted a search on Apple Podcasts and selected the first 20 shows that met our criteria for data integrity from each of the 10 subject areas.
Our All Healthcare Podcasts group excludes any shows that appear in our Top 10 Podcasts group. Both sample groups were researched and analyzed independently of each other.
Our research focused solely on shows that were active as of May 2023. We defined “active” as having published at least one episode in the preceding 90 days.
To conduct our research, we reviewed the following assets for every show (where available): social media channels, websites, blogs, newsletters, video offerings, SEO profiles, and more.
Healthcare Podcast Subject Verticals
Fig. 1 - Healthcare Podcast Subject Verticals
1. Podcasts Boost Share-of-Voice
Healthcare brands with podcasts see an average of 48% more share-of-voice than competitor brands that do not have a podcast.
2. Video Cannot Be Ignored
57% of healthcare podcasts distribute episodes in both audio and video.
Brands that share podcast content on YouTube see an average of 915% more views than competitor brands that do not share podcast content on YouTube.
3. More Touchpoints Are Needed
90% of the Top 10 Healthcare Podcasts offer a newsletter, 80% have an active blog, and 80% are active on three or more social media channels.
However, the rest of the healthcare podcast landscape is slacking a bit, with only 43% offering a newsletter, 50% publishing blog content and 63% are active on 3 or more social channels.
4. Weekly Cadence Wins
100% of top healthcare podcasts are releasing a minimum of one episode per week. 68% of all healthcare podcasts release a new episode per week.
5. SEO Drives Visibility
There is no specific category for “healthcare” on all major podcast platforms. In order to compete for discoverability, podcasts need to prioritize SEO principles in their show content.
6. Sponsorships Are Underused
Only 15% of all healthcare podcasts have partnered with third-party sponsors or advertisers.
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Out of the 200 healthcare podcasts we examined, 59% were brand-owned, meaning they belong to a business, not a casual independent podcaster.
A key observation from our research is that branded podcasts had a clear advantage in terms of online visibility compared to competitor brands without a podcast. On average, healthcare brands that owned a podcast enjoyed an impressive 48% higher share-of-voice in online conversations and an average of 25% more organic web traffic share than competitors without a podcast.
This result clearly shows that healthcare brands investing in podcasting as part of their marketing efforts are reaping the rewards of increased visibility and engagement. By leveraging podcasts, these companies are effectively capturing and maintaining the attention of their target audience, leading to a larger share of the overall conversation within the online healthcare community.
100% of brands with healthcare podcasts feature their shows on their website. By regularly publishing and creating content, healthcare brands with podcasts are creating more opportunities for discoverability via search engine keywords.
By creating engaging and informative podcast content, healthcare businesses can amplify their brand awareness, increase website traffic and ultimately gain a competitive edge in the market.
VIDEO CANNOT BE IGNORED
90% of top 10 healthcare podcasts release their episodes in both video and audio formats. Additionally, 57% of all healthcare podcasts publish episodes in both video and audio formats.
This suggests that most healthcare podcasts, regardless of their popularity, recognize the value of offering content in multiple formats to reach a broader audience.
46% of podcast listeners prefer listening to podcasts with video, while 42% prefer audio-only (Morning Consult). These findings suggest that there is still a substantial demand for audio-only content, but the preference for video content is gradually increasing.
The prioritization of video in podcasting has grown more urgent since YouTube began rolling out features to support and promote podcast content on its platform. YouTube has emerged as the most popular streaming platform for podcasts, with 57.8% of podcast listeners preferring it over other platforms (Voices).
Healthcare brands that share podcast content on YouTube see an average of 915% more total channel-wide video views than competitor brands that do not share podcast content on YouTube.
Healthcare podcasts have recognized the importance of expanding their content offerings beyond audio to engage with their audience more effectively. By offering newsletters and blog content, these podcasts are providing additional avenues for listeners to engage and stay connected.
90% of top 10 healthcare podcasts offer a newsletter and 80% regularly publish blog content. This is a missed opportunity for the rest of the healthcare podcast landscape, as only 43% of all healthcare podcasts offer a newsletter and 50% publish blog content. By failing to provide supplementary content, these podcasts may be limiting their potential for growth and connection with their audience.
80% of top 10 healthcare podcasts are active on 3 or more social media channels. All healthcare podcasts are making social media a priority as well, with 63% being active on 3 or more social channels. YouTube and LinkedIn are the two channels most commonly used by healthcare podcasts, with 87% of all shows sharing content to at least one of these two platforms.
Our findings emphasize the criticality for healthcare podcasts to expand their content offerings and embrace multiple channels, including newsletters, blogs, and social media platforms. By doing so, they can generate deeper engagement, attract a larger audience, and ultimately position themselves for growth and success in a highly competitive landscape.
WEEKLY CADENCE WINS
Our research found that all of the top 10 healthcare podcasts prioritize weekly episode releases, with 100% of them releasing at least 1 new episode per week. 40% of these shows release more than 1 episode per week.
This underscores that top healthcare podcasts recognize the importance of keeping their content fresh and engaging. By releasing new episodes consistently, podcasts can attract and retain listeners, establish themselves as reliable sources of information, and stay relevant within the industry. Maintaining a regular cadence also demonstrates a dedication to audience engagement and helps to build a loyal following over time.
On the other hand, 68% of all healthcare podcasts release a new episode per week. While this percentage is lower compared to the top podcasts, it still reflects a significant portion of all healthcare podcasts that understand the value of maintaining a regular cadence. These podcasts are striving to meet the expectations set by the top performers and demonstrate their commitment to providing consistent content.
On average, podcast listeners tune into 8 different shows each week (Buzzsprout). With the significant majority of healthcare podcasts publishing at a weekly cadence, new shows should aim to follow suit. Publishing at a weekly cadence can help podcasts stand out and grow more effectively. Publishing weekly can help attract and retain listeners, improve discoverability, and ultimately thrive in a competitive podcasting landscape.
SEO DRIVES VISIBILITY
There is no specific category for “healthcare” available on the major podcast platforms. Instead, healthcare is generally lumped under the broader category of “health.”
Given the lack of a dedicated category for “healthcare,” it is essential for healthcare podcasters to leverage SEO principles to compete for discoverability. Applying SEO techniques allows these podcasts to differentiate themselves, target the right audience, and increase visibility in search results.
By optimizing their show content and incorporating keywords that are contextually relevant to their show’s scope, healthcare podcasters can improve their chances of reaching a wider audience by improving their positions in podcast platform search results.
🔎 Conducting keyword research to identify relevant topics and terms for your target audience.
🔎 Write informative and engaging podcast descriptions that incorporate keywords naturally.
🔎 Optimize episode content and metadata with keywords in titles, descriptions, and tags.
🔎 Creating and formatting episode transcriptions for indexing and better keyword visibility.
🔎 Using research to constantly improve your show’s performance and listener retention.
🔎 Generating reviews and ratings to boost credibility and visibility.
SPONSORSHIPS ARE UNDERUSED
Only 15% all healthcare podcasts are partnering with third-party sponsors and/or advertisers.
This is a staggering missed opportunity for both podcasters and potential sponsors alike.
According to a new report by the IAB and PwC, podcasting ad revenue in the U.S.
experienced an impressive 26% year-over-year growth in 2022, reaching $1.8 billion.
This surge outpaced the growth of the overall digital advertising market, which saw an 11% YoY increase.
The growth of podcast advertising highlights how effective podcasts are at influencing their listeners. According to Acast, 95% of US podcast listeners have either bought a product or researched a brand that they discovered on a podcast.
For sponsors, healthcare podcasts offer a targeted and engaged audience interested in health-related topics. The growing popularity of podcasts and their ability to attract and influence listeners from all niches make them an ideal platform for sponsors to promote their products or services. Sponsors can go beyond traditional pre-roll advertising and explore creative ways to collaborate with podcasts, such as creating a sponsored mini- series around relevant topics.
For healthcare podcasters, sponsorships can provide a valuable revenue stream and potential for growth. By partnering with sponsors, podcasts can generate income, invest in expanding their show’s offerings, and broaden their overall reach. Additionally, sponsorships can enhance the credibility of a podcast, attracting more listeners and increasing audience engagement.