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How Long Should a Podcast Be? - Ideal Podcast Length for 2024

How long should a podcast be? Find out the ideal length for podcasts in 2024 and keep listeners engaged. Get expert tips and advice.
Kendall Breitman
Social Media & Community Expert
Published:
March 3, 2023
Last Updated:
January 15, 2024
10
min
Reviewed by
Ortal Hadad

Choosing the right podcast length can be challenging. Some shows run for a couple of minutes, while others run for an hour or more. 

Unfortunately, there’s no exact science to determine the perfect podcast length. However, in this article, we’ve come up with the best pointers and tips to help you narrow down the ideal podcast duration. 

Read on to find out what these are.

What is the average length of a podcast?

Based on two studies, the average length of a podcast is anywhere between 30 minutes to 42 minutes long. 

In 2018, Dan Mineser published the first study from Pacific Content. He found that the average podcast time is 41 minutes and 31 seconds long.

We published our own research recently. It found that 55% of podcasts are over 30 minutes long. Here are some more stats:

  • 13.6% of podcasts are less than 15 minutes long
  • 31.3% of podcasts are between 15–30 minutes long
  • 32.1% of podcasts are between 30-45 minutes long
  • 18.4% of podcasts are between 45–60 minutes long
  • 4.6% of podcasts are over 60 minutes long

However, statistics are not what you should focus on when determining the average podcast length for your show. Sometimes shorter podcasts perform better, and sometimes longer ones do. 

Later on, we’ll discuss the factors you should consider when choosing the ideal podcast length. But first, let’s look at the benefits of shorter and longer podcasts. 

Is it better to have shorter or longer podcast episodes?

There’s no clear-cut answer to whether shorter podcast episodes are better than longer podcast episodes. 

Generally, listeners favor shorter episodes over longer ones. But that doesn’t mean you should avoid making longer podcasts. For instance, The Daily, a news podcast with over 5 million listeners, runs for just 20 - 25 minutes. 

On the other hand, The Joe Rogan Experience runs between 1-3+ hours and has an average of 11 million listeners per episode. 

Ultimately, a podcast’s success isn’t determined by its length but by its quality. And depending on your podcast topic and audience demographics, your podcast can range from 15 minutes to an hour or more. 

Whether you’re opting for short or long podcast episodes, each has its benefits. Let’s look at them. 

Benefits of shorter podcasts 

  • Increased Productivity: When you produce shorter podcasts, you can publish more every week. 
Tip: On a side note, try out Riverside if you want to increase your general podcasting productivity. The platform has an intuitive interface, and a text-based video editor so you can use your recording's transcript to make fine and precise cuts seamlessly. Editing a podcast with Riverside is as easy as editing a text transcript.
  • More subscribers: Shorter podcasts usually have more listeners. This is because, given everyone’s time constraints, most people would rather listen to a shorter podcast than a longer one. 
  • Time-Saving: Producing shorter podcasts take less time, and you get more time to deal with work/personal activities. 
  • Resource Management: If you’re renting a studio space or equipment for recording, creating shorter podcasts can save you time and money. 
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Benefits of longer podcasts 

  • Become an authority in your niche: Want to establish yourself as an authority in a specific niche or genre? Longer podcast episodes usually achieve this result. 
  • Cover topics more thoroughly: If you’ve excellent storytelling skills, longer podcast episodes allow you to discuss a subject thoroughly. 
  • Increased subscription: Longer podcasts can grow your subscriber lists, especially if you use the conversational, interview, or panel podcast style. People like longer podcasts when several people are involved in the discussion. 
  • Great for commutes: Commutes can be boring. But longer podcasts can be the perfect companions in these cases – giving some much-needed entertainment for the drive. 

People will only listen to you if your content is relevant and interesting. If you can make your podcast engaging for more than 20 - 30 minutes, then go ahead and create longer episodes. But don’t stretch your topic if you don’t have much to say. 

Engaging and fluff-free content is a must. 

How long should your podcast be: What to consider?

If you’re struggling to determine how long you want your podcast to be, here are some factors to consider. 

Topic

The most significant factor affecting your podcast's length is the podcast’s topic or genre. 

The most common podcast topics include:

  • Entertainment
  • Daily News
  • Motivational
  • Business
  • Talk Shows
  • True Crime 

Each topic works better with a different length. For instance, entertainment podcasts typically have longer episodes ranging from 30 to 50 minutes. A popular example is Who? Weekly, a celebrity gossip podcast that runs for approximately 45 minutes per episode. 

On the other hand, if you own a talk show podcast, especially one that features interviews, 45 minutes to 60+ minutes is ideal.  Most episodes of Conan O’Brien Needs A Friend run up to 60+ minutes. 

You should, however, pick a timeframe that makes it easy to cover the topic thoroughly.

Podcast format 

There are various podcast formats including:

  • Interview
  • Conversational/co-hosted
  • Solo
  • Panel style of podcasts

Like with different topics, each format might benefit from different episode lengths. 

An interview, co-hosted, or panel podcast format usually runs between 45 minutes to three hours because of its back-and-forth discussions. 

A solo podcast is usually shorter – 15 to 40 minutes at most. This is because even if you have the gift of the gab, listening to a single person talk for more than 45 minutes can become monotonous. And let’s face it, it can be hard to talk for long on your own. 

That said, feel free to talk more if 15 minutes isn’t enough to cover the topic. You're good to go if you avoid fillers and shy away from unnecessarily going on tangents around the topic. 

Audience 

Knowing details about your target audience can help determine your podcast’s length, 

especially their: 

  • Age 
  • Gender
  • Work schedule
  • Educational background

Commuters might prefer podcasts between 15 and 30 minutes. People who spend more time at home might prefer podcasts that last up to 50 minutes. Kids might only have the attention span for podcasts that are 10 to 15 minutes long. And certain niche audience might prefer longer podcasts over an hour in length.  

But generally, a podcast that runs between 20 to 40 minutes is perfect, especially if you’re new to the podcast game. 

Competitor analysis

Why break your head figuring out the ideal podcast length when your competitor has done it for you? 

Analyzing your competitors, especially those who operate in the same niche as you, is a good idea. 

A bonus benefit is that you can see how your competitors structure their podcasts – analyze what makes them successful – and improve your podcast accordingly. 

Storytelling skill

Certain people have superb storytelling and oratory skills.. Others, not so much. 

If you can expertly weave random topics into beautiful narratives, then you should get away with a 20 to 40-minute podcast. If you struggle with storytelling, don’t worry – take things easy with a 15 to 25 minutes podcast that covers the main points of your topic. 

Only stretch a topic if you can make it engaging and compelling. Over time, as you grow and hone your storytelling skills, you can create longer podcasts.

99% Invisible is a narrative podcast that started with 10-minute episodes but transitioned to 60-minute podcast episodes in future seasons. 

Publishing schedule

The rate at which you post podcasts also determines how long your podcast should be. 

If you intend to post daily content, it is only natural that your podcast episodes are 15 to 20 minutes long. It’ll be much harder to create longer-quality podcasts to release in such a short time frame. You don’t need to stress yourself to make longer ones – you just have to be consistent. 

Podcasts posted weekly, bi-weekly, or monthly can be longer (30 to 90 minutes in length) as you have more time to plan and produce these. 

How long are popular podcast shows?

The most popular podcasts are between 20 to 40 minutes long. Other popular ones last 60 minutes more or so per episode. 

There isn’t a specific rule that dictates how long your podcast should be. An hour-long podcast show can be as successful as one that’s under 20 minutes.

You don’t have to constrain your content to fit into a specific time length. On the other hand, you don’t want to bore your audience by over-extending your topic. 

Tips for choosing your ideal podcast length

Since every podcast is unique, here are some tips to help you figure out the ideal podcast length.

Start Small

As a newbie podcaster, it’s easy to get pressured by popular podcasts that are longer. But just because your favorite podcaster creates 90-minute podcast episodes doesn’t mean you should do the same. 

As a new podcaster, don’t pressure yourself to cross the 40-minute mark. It’s best to start with shorter episodes to grow your audience. You can begin creating longer podcast episodes with time and more followers. 

Understand the Purpose of Your Content

The topic of your podcast will determine its length.

For instance, a podcast targeted at teaching younger kids history must be concise, informative, and engaging. Kids tend to lose attention quickly, so a podcast of 15 to 20 minutes would be ideal. 

You can determine the podcast time for your content by researching podcasts similar to yours and noting their average length. 

Pay Attention to Listeners’ Feedback

Paying attention to listener feedback can help you choose the right podcast length. 

See which of the episodes you’ve published have more downloads – the longer ones or, the shorter ones. Or you can conduct a social media poll and ask your audience what they prefer. 

Craft a Concise Intro and Outro

Avoid lengthy intros and outros. Also, avoid starting with a sales pitch or an unrelated story at the beginning of your podcast, as it eats up valuable time. You don’t want to lose listeners 5 minutes after tuning into your show. 

Consider What Works For You

Take your lifestyle into consideration. 

If you’re busy, you may handle only 15-20 minutes of recording. However, if you have more time to spare, you can attempt to try longer episodes.  

Ultimately, there’s no one-size-fits-all answer to how long a podcast should be. But the tips above can help you hone in on the optimal podcast length. 

FAQs on How Long Podcasts Should Be

Is 10 minutes too short for a podcast?

No, 10 minutes isn’t too short for a podcast. Just make sure that these 10 minutes are as interesting as possible. 

A typical example is the popular Morning Cup of Murder, a short-form daily true crime podcast with over 20 million downloads. Its average podcast episode length ranges from three to 20 minutes. TEDx SHORTS is another example, with episodes that run less than 10 minutes. 

How long should a podcast be in 2024?

For the best results, we recommend that a podcast be 20 to 40 minutes long in 2024. But if you can make the podcast interesting enough, feel free to go beyond this limit. 

How long should a podcast be for beginners?

While there’s no set podcast length, if you’re a beginner to making podcasts, try not to exceed 30 minutes. A shorter podcast can make listeners more likely to hear your podcast to the end. 

Later, as you gain confidence in your ability to engage with the audience, you can host longer podcasts. 

If you want software that can easily record and edit your podcast, as well as trim it to an ideal length, then check out Riverside. It records locally on the computer, rather than over the internet, so even if your connection is unstable, the recording quality won’t be affected. Once the recording is done, it automatically gets transferred to the cloud. 

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