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Friday, March 01, 2024

Hop on the Podcast Advertising Bandwagon

As the cache of virtual calls, social media and endless emails flood our schedules amidst the ongoing health crisis, more people are seeking sources of comfort. The solution is simple.

Long-form audio stories are engaging and help listeners better grasp our interconnected, fast-paced world. In all its variety, podcasts offer an escape.

Take The New York Times podcast, The Daily, named the No. 1 podcast of 2019, which has over 2 million listeners, according to the Intelligencer.  

Profitable, timely and intelligent, The Daily seized the opportunity to lead the news podcasting space. Host Michael Barbaro has become a household name, and the Daily team focuses on pairing intimacy with the most important stories of the week. 

Their success has proven worthwhile. A low estimate suggests The Daily makes $50,000 per ad per episode. In July 2020, Podtrac named it the top-ranking podcast.

The meteoric rise in podcast popularity extends beyond The Daily. The Statista recently reported expected podcast advertising revenue growth on an unprecedented scale: over $1 billion U.S. dollars by the end of 2021. In 2018, revenue hit nearly $480 million U.S. dollars, according to Statista. 

As a monetization structure begins to emerge, research your target audience and follow their interests. Who is holding your listeners’ attention? It turns out news ranks the highest in terms of podcast content at 22%, leading comedy at 17% and society/culture at 13%, according to Forbes. 

The trends suggest people are genuinely interested in learning. As a marketing director or business owner, you should ask yourself how your company can flourish in this space. If you work for a climate justice non-profit, list out some facts about the crisis and reel people in through knowledge sharing.

A whole host of other podcast categories exist. True crime, leadership and economics, amongst others are enticing, and all of them offer some novelty in the monotonous quarantine routines of millions of Americans.

Given this new and evolving business model, investing in the digital landscape is a smart move. Spotify saw a 51% increase in global podcast listeners since the start of 2020, according to CNBC. CNBC also reported a 65% increase in ads within podcasts in the first five months of 2020. 

This huge increase prompts the question if people are actually listening to advertisements, and we’ve got some good news: 44% of ‘super listeners’ listened to ads in podcasts, and 37% of ‘super listeners’ said podcasts were the best way to reach them. Establishing a strong connection with even one listener can make a difference, especially if they pass on the word about your product, service or values. 

BBDO Co-Creative Officer Pedro Pérez told NPR, “The new frontier for brands is pivoting from highly emotional messages that every brand did in some way to connect with the consumer now to evolve and find how the consumer is feeling." 

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Stuck at home, people need a mix of convenience and relief, and podcasts offer just that. Regardless of whether your business is advertising on a podcast or starting its own series, you’re heading into a competitive and growing market with opportunities to expand your reach.

When people consciously choose their media consumption, or their podcast episode, it’s possible your advertisement may strike a chord with loyal listeners if they hear the host, a trustworthy source, suggest it. 

A recent report by Edison Research found that over half of podcast consumers say that they are more likely to consider the brands they hear advertised on podcasts. Less than ten percent of people are reportedly less likely to consider them, according to the report. 

Marty Michael, co-founder of podcast network Headgum, has likened it to ‘influencer marketing,’ according to technology news site Built In.

Built In reporter Mae Rice also spoke with podcast analytics platform Backtracks CEO Jonathan Gill, who mentioned the tie between digital privacy and podcasting. 

According to Rice, “he thinks the lack of personalization can actually work in advertisers’ favor, turning podcast ads into trusted product recommendations.”

The benefits of advertising on a podcast are extensive. A 2019 Nielson report found that most radio consumers are part of a captive audience, sitting at home or driving. This behavior is favorable for “advertisers to deliver their message just before the potential point of purchase.” 

The tide is turning to a direct-to-consumer strategy with e-commerce becoming more regular. 

Streaming, for example, is becoming hugely popular. Walt Disney has suffered a tremendous loss in revenue - $4.72 billion - from closing down their parks at the onset of the pandemic. However, the success of Disney+, ESPN+ and Hulu have helped them grow in a new direction.

Hence, it’s all about the consumers - not you. Podcasting is a fresh, exciting medium. It’s also educational and helps people feel a sense of belonging, as was social media in the early 2000s. 

In 2017, The Cut writer Sirenna Bergman wrote, “We’re listening to so many of these things at least in part because everyone else we know is listening to so many of these things.” In short, podcasts meant big business back then, and even more today.

Hop on the podcast train — it’s not too late.

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