By Matthew Rouse, Podcast Lead, Octave Audio
Podcasts have exploded in popularity over the past few years, gaining a second wave of success after the hugely popular investigative journalism podcast Serial thrust the medium into the mainstream back in 2014.
They now provide a one-stop shop for content around any interest you can think of and, with 21 million people now regularly listening to podcasts in the UK, offering a huge opportunity for brands to reach audiences they may not have previously been able to.
Historically, if you wanted to fall down a rabbit hole of super niche things, you would mostly start your journey with Google, but now podcasts can aid that journey of discovery. Because why should you do the keyboard bashing yourself when you can sit back and listen to a bonafide expert educate you on everything from video game music, to fountain pen design?
Podcasts present brands with the means to tap into these curious audiences, meeting them at the moment they’re most engaged. Audiences have actively sought out this content, made a specific choice to listen to it and are therefore more attentive to what’s being said. And, because of this, it shouldn’t come as a shock that people listening to podcasts have higher levels of attention than those listening to radio or music streaming services.
A podcast for all
At the recent IAB Podcast Upfronts event, the medium was categorised as something that is no longer “emerging” and the audiences available to brands span all ages, races, nationalities and genders, across a range of verticals that includes things like comedy, true crime, sports and society and culture. The sheer number of interests that are served and conversations that take place is quite simply incredible.
For instance, research has found that people listening to comedy podcasts are 65% more likely to go to a restaurant once every two weeks, while true crime listeners are 108% more likely to have five or more subscription services.
Meanwhile, sports listeners are 75% more likely to buy or sell a house in the next 12 months and society & culture listeners are 86% more likely to book a long-haul trip in the next three months.
These are highly valuable ears that offer many advertisers, big or small, the opportunity to reach different audiences within a screenless space. Placing advertising messages within an environment where the listener has specifically chosen to be lets brands reach listeners within a contextual space at the very heart of a conversation, something that not only drives engagement but promotes higher recall as well.
Equally, due to the number of podcasts out there, brands and agencies have to be cautious about how they reach their target audience in a brand safe manner. This is why the tools that are used to target listeners contextually can also be deployed to ensure that ads are not placed within content that might be deemed controversial.
Be ‘in the room’ with the listener
The good news for advertisers is that messages placed within podcasts are proven to be more memorable than other mediums. This can be attributed to the fact that a huge number of consumers listen to them alone and through headphones, often whilst commuting, studying, working or exercising. Podcast listeners often feel like they’re in the room, taking part in the moment – bringing the user experience down to an intimate, one-to-one level, where a real connection can be made, which is an extremely valuable place for a brand to be.
For advertisers already tapping into commercial radio or streaming audio, it makes perfect sense to add podcasts to the mix to strike that deeper connection with a message that is proven to be more memorable. For others, it can provide an effective entry point to successfully reach audiences.
At this point in time, what other medium can deliver those brand messages directly into the ears of curious, engaged listeners at a moment when they are most receptive?