Wondering why everyone has been talking about podcasts lately? It’s because they’re the next big thing.
Podcasts are becoming the place where people go for information, to be entertained, and to unwind. If you’re interested in how you can leverage podcasts for your brand, keep reading.
Podcasts have dramatically increased in popularity over the past couple of years. There are over 700,000 active podcasts, 29 million episodes, available in over 100 different languages. Ad revenue for podcasts is also expected to rise to $659 million this year. That represents a 1,000% growth from $69 million in 2015. What’s causing the increase in listeners?
Digital audio content is becoming more widely available across different apps and devices. Convenience also plays a huge role in the rise of podcasts as users can listen to a podcast while freely accomplishing other tasks. Tanya Chopp, Marketing Manager at Voices.com says, “Audiences are affluent, well-educated, and committed to the content. They are also more likely to have in-home assistants such as Alexa and Google Home, allowing them to access the content they love while they get ready for work, cook, clean, and/or unwind.”
With users like these aggregating in one corner of the digital sphere, it’s a no-brainer that brands are jumping at the opportunity to advertise to them. In this post, we’ll cover the importance of podcasts in digital marketing and why podcasts are so important for branding.
Why Brands Should Prioritize Podcasts This Year
Audio content is unique from other forms of content because users can consume it while continuing with other tasks. Users can tune in during a car ride, while working out, completing chores, or even listen during their commute in the mornings and evenings. The convenience users experience when listening to podcasts is one of the major reasons why brands should start prioritizing them this year.
1. Podcasts are increasing in popularity.
More media companies and businesses are focusing on creating interesting and diverse audio content their audiences will enjoy. The uptick in production is just one contributing factor as to why audio content is becoming even more popular. The range of podcasts is huge and, essentially, there’s a podcast for everyone.
2. Users love the convenience.
Another huge reason brands should consider podcast marketing is because of how convenient this content type is to users. They’re able to multitask when consuming audio content.
3. Anytime, anywhere availability.
Podcasts are widely available on various digital audio platforms and across different devices. From phones and computers to tablets and smart speakers, users can listen to them anytime, anywhere.
4. The age demographic of listeners.
Podcast listeners are typically affluent, employed professionals, in the prime of the earning years. Approximately 28% of podcast listeners are between the ages of 25-34. This demographic of users makes for a very attractive audience base for B2B and B2C brands alike and shows the importance of podcasts in digital marketing.
5. Opportunity to be first in a specific niche.
Podcasting and podcast advertisements are still so new to the digital space that there are still many “firsts” happening. The first podcast about women’s money habits, the first murder-mystery podcast, the first podcast about incarceration experiences. Interested to know what makes a podcast engaging? One strong factor is being the first one of its kind. Your company could be one of the first in this space and make a huge impact on how your industry approaches podcasts in the future.
6. Targeted audience time.
Much like television shows and YouTube videos, podcast usage varies greatly depending on what users are interested in. If you’re looking for a bit of extra facetime with your target audience, aligning yourself with specific podcasts could increase your visibility with them.
7. Acquisition of new customers.
As with all advertisements, being visible in a space you weren’t previously focusing on means you could nurture leads and acquire new customers. Your brand could be placed in front of lookalike audiences, potentially turning them into loyal lifetime consumers of your brand’s products and services.
8. Podcasts are flexible.
Podcast content is very much like video content in the sense that it’s flexible. You can choose an overarching theme for your podcasts and switch things up in individual episodes. You can do a short series on topics of interest or do something completely different. Consider the type of content that would be interesting for your consumers and the frequency they would like to tune in. Whether that means uploading a new episode every day, every week, or even every month is up to you.
9. Creating a podcast is inexpensive.
Recording equipment is relatively cheap these days. You can buy microphones for less than $50 and cut audio on free platforms and apps. Similar to social media, you don’t need to fork over thousands of dollars to create quality content.
10. You have an opportunity to build new followers.
Another great thing about podcasting is the chance to reach new followers. Having another place where users can engage with your brand means your brand is more approachable. With podcasts, you can build relationships over long periods of time, much like a television series where users become invested for the long haul. Instead of capturing their attention for short 30-second ad bursts, you can keep their attention for hours every day.
With all these benefits to podcasting, the only real question is why wouldn’t you take the opportunity to create one for yourself or to advertise?
Digital Audio Ad Examples
Some of the most popular podcasts earn millions in revenue. Over 2.2 million people listen to This American Life on over 500 public radio stations in the U.S., with an additional 3.6 million people downloading the show as a podcast. In 2019, This American Life earned approximately $2.6 million in revenue.
For advertisers looking to get a slice of this pie, one way to get in front of this audience is to sponsor content. There are traditional audio advertisements, the ones that are produced by brands and then promoted by platforms, and then there are host-read advertisements. These are better for the podcast world because they feel native to the content and aren’t as disruptive to the listener.
One great example of a host-read advertisement is Capital One’s #BankingReimagined campaign on This American Life. The ad appears at the very beginning of the content, lasts less than 22 seconds, and doesn’t disrupt any of the storytelling.
Host-Read Advertising: The Chanel Ads
Another great example of a host-read advertisement is the legendary fashion house retailer Chanel and their ad with Refinery29’s Unstyled podcast. Unstyled is a great example of how podcast content mirrors a brand’s themes and it’s one of the reasons Chanel chose to advertise with them. Similar to Capital One and This American Life, the Chanel ad appears at the beginning of the podcast and lasts less than 18 seconds.
This ad is also read by the podcast host and highlights how Chanel was built by a woman who created it on her terms. At the end of the ad, they prompt users to “discover her story at insidechanel.com.” Both of these advertisements are host-read ads and are integrated into the program by the host.
Some podcast marketing best practices to take away from these two advertisements would be to keep your pitch short, include important branding elements, and emphasize a call to action. These are all actionable tips you can use when crafting your podcast advertising and marketing strategy.
Tips for Diving In to Audio Content Marketing
Something important to consider is how crucial tone is to audio marketing. Different tones and different tones of voice communicate different things. This is why it’s important to consider what voice and what tone of voice will represent your brand the best.
Secondly, you should decide what topics and subject matter your audio content will cover. Think about the different kinds of subjects that would educate or entertain your users.
Thirdly, create a keyword strategy. Keywords for voice should vary from your written strategy. Voice optimization keywords do not include long-tail terms and are more condensed. It’s important to consider smart speakers and how their crawlers will read your content when creating a keyword strategy for audio.
Smart speakers have become more widely available at affordable prices. Globally, smart speakers are projected to eclipse tablets by 2021. And currently, according to Podcast Trends Report 2019, 33.2% of participants reported listening to a podcast on their smart speaker. This means marketers interested in using smart speakers for marketing must get well acquainted with voice search optimization techniques to maximize their ROI.
When selecting podcasts to advertise on, consider how they’re using voice search optimization techniques to reach their target audience. If their keywords also reach your target user base, that’s how you know it’s a good match.
Podcasts are an exciting new space to be in for 2021. Much like a new social media platform, audio content is blowing up and the demand for more content is a hunger that can’t currently be satiated. Your business should take advantage of the growing space by creating content and advertising before your competition does. Reach out to a digital marketing agency for help if you get stuck or need help getting started.
As a quick summation, here are the key takeaways for why you need to start prioritizing podcasts this year:
- Podcasts are increasing in popularity, with ad revenue growth increasing 1,000% from 2015.
- They’re convenient for users to enjoy because they’re able to multitask while consuming this content.
- Podcasts are also widely available on a range of platforms and devices.
- The age demographic of listeners with podcasts is ideal for B2B and B2C brands.
- Podcasting is so new that there are still “firsts” happening. Make a lasting impression in this space with a unique podcast idea for your industry.
- Users consume podcasts based on interest. This is a great opportunity to get direct facetime (or rather, eartime) with your target audience.
- By advertising to lookalike audiences, your business could potentially garner new lifetime customers.
- Podcast content is much like video content in the sense that it’s a very flexible medium to operate within.
- Podcast production is very inexpensive.
- You can build committed followers with podcasts because you’re controlling the story for multiple episodes over time. This stands in contrast with short 30 ad bursts.