Podcasts…they’ve been around since late 2003 (20 years!!!!), named after the now out-of-production Apple iPod. Google defines a ‘podcast’ as ‘a digital audio file available on the internet for downloading to a computer or mobile device, typically available as a series or as episodes.’ People listen to podcasts mostly to learn new things, but also for entertainment, relaxation, education and inspiration. Their popularity stems from the ease of listening, giving the listener the ability to engage their other senses elsewhere while they multitask. I will be referencing statistical data from a Targetspot publication called A Quick Guide to Advertising on Podcasts for this blog. So, let’s pop in those earbuds and push play! 

Over 57% of the U.S. Population say that they have listened to a podcast, while 28% of their daily time spent listening to audio is spent with spoken word audio, the other 72% being music, which adds up collectively to around 4 hours daily…so, just over an hour per day is likely spent with podcasts for millions of people. Spoken words’ share of listening surged by 40% over the last seven years, so even though the iPod is gone, the listening experience it soldiered in carries on and is still growing. And with two-million podcasts to choose from and growing, many creating new episodes every day, the selection is vast.  

Now, you might think this isn’t the kind of platform you’d want to spend advertising dollars on, but let’s take a step back and see what benefits podcast advertising can provide. 

As a brand, you get to reach a perfectly targeted, engaged, niche audience of your choosing, with a host who provides content you know your customers are engaged in and want, all while maintaining control over what media is conveying your message. A podcast isn’t saddled with 5-8 minute commercial breaks like radio, and it gives the audience a means of a personal one-on-one introduction of your product or service, often organically. In fact, you could see it as an endorsement that goes both ways. The audience will hear the host endorsing you, and the audience will also hear you endorsing the host by sponsoring the podcast they listen to on a regular, recurring basis. Consumers are more tolerant of advertising if they know that it is there to support the production of content they like. It’s almost heard as a friend referral, which as we all know, is extremely effective.

So, let’s look at some research results: With 87% of podcast audiences consistently listening all the way to the end of a podcast’s audio content, advertising on a podcast is 4.4 times more likely to be remembered than on any other media. 53% of those U.S. podcast listeners said that after hearing a product advertised in a podcast, they searched for more information online about that product. Additionally, 29% of those who searched, purchased the advertised product or service, either in store or online. And 42% say they’ve discovered new products they otherwise wouldn’t have, had they not heard the podcast sponsorship messaging. Plus, podcasts can offer analytics of downloads, reach and listenership for ad purchasers, which is another plus.

There are three ways to tap into podcast marketing: Advertising, Sponsoring and Creating. Here’s what they mean: 

  • Advertising – your pre-produced commercial spot plays before, during or immediately after the podcast (matching the ‘mood’ of the podcast is vital in your creative. If it sounds intrusive, it will be detrimental)
  • Sponsoring – a ‘live read’ opportunity during the podcast by the host (this is the major format of podcast advertising, and very effective, acts as an endorsement from an ‘influencer’ with all benefits that entails, along with a ‘friend referral’ of sorts, also good)
  • Creating – a brand podcast promotes the brand’s expertise and quality through audio content that is both credible and relevant, allowing you to address fans directly and get a sense of community/brand involvement (high initial investment, plus requires communication channel marketing for awareness, needs constant content ‘feeding’ and funding, but gives direct access and full control of brand message straight from the source)

Is podcast advertising a marketing option you’d like to pursue? CMOco can provide guidance and options that you’ll want to consider. 

Thank you for coming to my podcast…uh, Ted Talk, er, Blog. (Applause!) Talk to you next month!

– Bruce Thiem, CMOco Director of Integrated Media