When it comes to podcast listening, fresh data shows two hours outperform the rest of the clock. The podcast tech company Voxnest analyzed data from the five biggest podcast genres—religion, culture, sports, history and news and information—and concluded that in the U.S. the 7-8am and 9-10pm hours were consistently the top performers. “The data patterns spell it out clearly,” it says in a new report. “Regardless of location, podcasts are a part of consumers’ morning commutes and nightly routines. Listeners are opting to take a portion of time that used to be filled with silence and are choosing to instead learn or be entertained.”
Voxnest says that while listeners may be less engaged during the blurry-eyed morning commute hour, the reverse is true in the evenings when people are more open to a “deep and connected” listening experience. “Podcasters should be aware of the potential differences in listening times,” it notes, suggesting release of shows with weightier subject matters may be better suited for later in the day.
The analysis delivers what may be some surprising results to many podcasters. Even though the New York Times morning news podcast The Daily is the industry’s top-rated show, according to Podtrac, the Voxnest number-crunching shows mornings aren’t the biggest daypart for news and information shows. Instead, it reports the single most popular listening time in the genre is 9pm with that hour accounting for 5.9% of downloads or listens. And the most popular daypart for news and information podcasts is 5-8pm when 16.5% of listening happens. “It’s clear to see that listeners are consuming their news in the evening,” the report says. “This information could come as a surprise to some publishers, so it is important to note that listeners are searching for a ‘wrap-up’ of their day and that they’re engaged with this category while at home.”
In the sports genre, Voxnest says lots of people like to wake up to the scores with 6-8am the most popular window of hours for the format. And the 7am hour is the most popular for sports podcast consumption. But that doesn’t mean it’s all about mornings for sports. The second biggest hour is 5pm during the afternoon commute. “It’s no surprise that after work hours are some of the most popular listening times for sports podcasts; when listeners are free of work and responsibility, they can dedicate time to their passion,” it concludes.
The analysis also shows that early-mornings and late-evenings do best for religious-focused podcasts. Voxnest says that makes sense since those two dayparts are traditionally when spiritual people look to pray or connect with God.
In the history genre, Voxnest says the most popular listening time is 10pm. “Late night learning seems to be the name of the game with this category,” the report says. The most popular window of hours for history podcasts is from 7-9pm when 15.2% of downloads and listens are logged. A second spike of popularity occurs between the hours of 9-11pm when 14.4% of downloads and listens occur. “Consumers are tuning in at the very end of their day to discover historic stories,” says Voxnest in its analysis.
The report also highlights the challenges that broad genre classifications like culture pose. “It’s a problem because if advertisers are unable to understand what a particular podcast is about, how can publishers sell it,” Voxnest ponders, concluding, “In short, it means a lot more work on the part of the publisher.”
Read the full report HERE.