I believe that podcasts are going to be a significant part of digital advertising within the next three years, not because they’re anything new because podcasts certainly aren’t anything new, but because I believe that the podcast audience is arguably one of the most engaged set of users that we are able to target with ads.
In our industry, it’s very easy to find ad inventory but it’s very challenging to get a high level of user engagement. Podcasts have become increasingly popular since shows like Serial Podcast have been released, so more users are aware of podcasts as a form of media for entertainment.
An end-to-end enjoyable customer experience.
While more users are listening to them, there is also an increase in people creating audio content. When you put this alongside factors such as the development of headphone technology, introducing Bluetooth headphones with better sound quality, users are having a far more enjoyable experience when they’re listening to podcasts too.
So it’s hardly surprising that audio is the No.1 thing we’re using our mobile phones for and of that, 10% is listening to podcasts. While this isn’t a huge amount, what’s really interesting is the users who listen to podcasts spend 42% of their time on mobile listening to them, that’s almost half. I believe this shows the level of engagement and commitment that users have to this form of media.
So, where is the opportunity for us?
Firstly, think about the huge range of podcasts available. It doesn’t matter how niche your business is – whether you’re selling running apparel or investment products – there will be a podcast to suit and therefore, an audience.
Secondly, you’ve got really engaging, non-obtrusive ad formats on podcasts that typically fit nicely within the flow of the show thanks to a designated ad slot. Or you might even have the host reading out the ad themselves which creates more of an influencer-led activity rather than a standard piece of ad inventory.
In terms of what the opportunity is for us, I think it’s really exciting you’ve got a highly engaged user base which is spending 42% of their time listening to podcasts on their phone. You’ve then got a huge range of content that will match pretty much any business that your client might have and finally, you’ve got a hugely immersive and engaging ad, which is more than just a standard ad placement. It’s basically an influencer campaign.
What more could a digital advertiser want?
February 2020 Edit
It is clear that releasing a podcast can be a very lucrative avenue, with some companies able to make 8-figure revenue streams from these shows (Vox Media / Barstool Sports*); however, a lot of publishers are finding it not to be so easy.
Many publishers have reduced the frequency of shows or completely paused them. They are finding it’s not enough to simply plug in a mic to interview someone. Users expect high quality from the podcasts they listen to; and as there is a huge range of podcasts available it’s getting harder to keep people engaged.
Many of our clients are creating podcast content, or even have an established show. It now seems that if the overall quality is not up to standard they could lose engagement and any advertising revenue gained from them.
As mentioned above, users are expecting high quality from podcasts which means that the ads we serve through this medium have to be high quality as well. This includes both the quality of the audio itself and the quality of our targeting.
I’ve seen this trend before with YouTube, where it is the ‘latest cool thing’ and everyone wants to be in that spot. This includes clients, as they naturally want to get involved in platforms and media getting popular engagement; but many people will do this without considering the internal resource required in order to gain the maximum impact. We might not often have briefs on platform management, but we can give estimates of ad impact or content quality, for example.
Want to learn more?
Here are some suggested links to find out more about advertising during podcasts:
Travis’s podcast recommendations:
- Digiday Podcast: https://digiday.com/podcasts/
- The Weeks podcast: https://www.theweek.co.uk/the-week-unwrapped
- Nation Geographic’s podcast: https://www.nationalgeographic.com/podcasts/overheard/