The podcast industry exploited lockdowns and work-from-home orders - paving the way for a bright future for a sector that once appeared to be limited to celebrities.

How Did Podcasts Get So Popular This Year?

When governments ordered lockdowns, it was inevitable that people started looking for ways to keep connected and podcasting was the bridge.

Most podcasts that became popular focused on physical and mental well-being, personal development and setting future goals.

The convenience of podcasts was displayed as people forced to stay at home could listen in to their favorite speakers.

Podcasting opened opportunities for non-celebrities to share their expertise and ideas about different topics. With many topics to choose from, content became more specific.

Bridging The Audio Gap

Prepandemic, videos were a big thing. The podcast industry's value and earnings were nothing compared with YouTube and others.

Fast forward to the end of 2020, podcasting bridged the gap in the audio segment. Former investment analyst and founder of podcast Meet Cute, Naomi Shah, said that while there was "a gap in audio," scripted content has become valuable.

Meet Cute, for example, has aired 200 episodes since February - with more than a million people having tuned in to the 15-minute rom-com episodes.

Shah said the concept of scripted audio content for podcast audiences "allows you to escape into something." While Disney and Pixar offer similar emotions through fairytale movies, Meet Cute and comparable podcasts bridge the gap.

Young Adults On Podcasts

Young adults are among the biggest audiences. With more time to spare, they have opened many opportunities for podcasters.

In the recent study Super Listeners it was found that Americans aged 18 and older said podcasts were far the best medium for ads to engage this consumer group.

Furthermore, the study found that 54% of Super Listeners audiences who come across an ad through a podcast made them more likely to purchase the product.

The study found around 38% of listeners believes there are "too many" ads in podcasts - indicating the industry should start exploring ways to balance in the use of ads.

Billion-Dollar Industry In 2021?

Earlier this year, Business Insider Intelligence predicted in its podcast industry report that it would grow to a value of $1 billion next year.

According to the report, players expected to rally in 2021 are Apple, Spotify, Anchor, AdvertiseCast and more.

It  said that podcasters should capitalize on attracting young adults because the group tends to be interested in "informed" topics.