Listen Up – Podcasts As an Avenue for Healthcare Communication

It’s no question that there has been an explosion of interest in podcasts in recent years, with a podcast for virtually any topic imaginable (espionage, baking, mythology and comedy don’t even scratch the surface of the spectrum of content out there). While podcasts are commonplace today, some may be surprised to know they’ve been around for almost two decades. What once was considered a medium that was hardly considered “mainstream,” has now become a staple in many individuals’ routines and is a prime way people consume content. Whether a person’s podcast of choice is a daily episode highlighting breaking news, a longer-form podcast that dissects true crime cases or a series about reality TV secrets and celebrity gossip, there is a podcast niche for everyone’s acquired taste.

Who is listening to podcasts today?

– Approximately eighty million Americans (age 12+) are now weekly podcast listeners in 2021, a 17% increase from 2020

– Weekly podcast listeners in the U.S. averaged listening to more than 5 podcast shows in the last week, highlighting the wide range of content individuals listen to

– In 2021, 50% of monthly podcast listeners are between the ages of 12-34, reinforcing podcasts as a “new way” for the younger generation to digest information

Where is there space for healthcare brands? 

Podcasts have continued to grow in popularity as well as the diversity of their audiences, creating an opportunity for healthcare brands to utilize this ever-growing medium to reach their brand objectives. For brands considering podcasts as a part of the communication plans, consider these key points:

Hone in on your target audience

Are you looking to target the younger generation or older population? Does your target demographic have any hobbies or interests that can be targeted through a specific show? In today’s age, there is virtually a podcast for every topic imaginable. By identifying an avenue that aligns with your brands’ objectives, you can reach those people in a unique way.

Determine what information you want to share

If your focus is sharing patient stories for an unbranded campaign, consider offering a patient spokesperson to share their story with an established podcast. If your objective is thought leadership, engage a company spokesperson to be a guest host or participate in an interview-style podcast episode. A paid advertisement or sponsorship could also be a way to share your message and potentially reach millions of daily listeners. No matter the audience you are trying to reach, podcasts can be an effective way to publish deep-dive, long-form content.

Keep an eye out for trends

Trends are extremely important, especially for Gen Z, and can cause a podcast or series to increase in popularity in what seems like overnight. By staying up to date on the latest trends, there is an opportunity to make the bridge between a younger audience and your brand, while controlling the narrative you share. One recent trend that has seen an update in popularity are ‘microcasts’, which are shorter episodes, usually no longer than 10 minutes, that share quick content and are usually published more frequently.

Consider your budget

Not only are podcasts effective in targeting audiences and sharing longer content, they tend to be more cost efficient than videos. Since they are audio only, they eliminate many other costs associated with video production.

Things to keep in mind

While there are many positives to podcast content and advertising, there may be limitations when it comes to measuring the effectiveness of the tactic. For example, some individuals may not listen to a podcast all the way through, and many podcast apps allow listeners to skip certain advertisements included in an episode. Additionally, it can be difficult to measure the exact audience of listeners. To combat some of these limitations, additional tactics can be used to support the podcast (e.g., highlighting on social media or having the guest share the podcast with their fans) which can help combat some of these roadblocks.

It remains important to recognize the opportunity for healthcare marketing in the podcast landscape and determine where there is a space to reach consumers through a different avenue.

Tell us: How do you see podcasts fitting into the overall strategy of your brand?



i Edison Research and Triton Digital. The Infinite Dial 2021. Retrieved from