A lot can change in a year, especially when it comes to marketing trends. If 2018 was the year of video, 2019 will be the year of audio. David Shadpur, CEO Social Native.
Podcasts aren’t new - they actually first arrived on the digital scene back in 2004 - but they have recently seen a resurgence and only continued to grow ever since. And to celebrate International Podcast Day (Monday 30th September), we're sharing our best tips and advice on how to get started with your own brand podcast, and why it could be so important for engaging your audience.
There are now 7.6 million of us listening to them each week - an increase of a quarter in just one year. As more and more of us consume this audio, influencers, celebrities, newspapers, radio and TV shows are among those who are jumping on this platform as a new way of sharing content, reaching a wider audience and, ultimately, growing.
Innovation is key to us here at Zazzle Media. This is why we have spent the last couple of years at Newsrewired and the podcast training that ran alongside it with former BBC producer, Jack Soper. Following ‘An introduction to podcasting’ and an ‘Audio storytelling workshop’ we were inspired and used what we learned to create our own podcast.
So, why are we all suddenly listening to them, creating them and more importantly, why should your brand join the podcast revolution?
In this post I’m going to cover:
The numbers speak for themselves. In 2013, 3.2 million were listening to podcasts every week. By 2018, this had doubled to almost 6 million adults. Podcasts are growing at a rapid rate and don’t appear to be slowing down anytime soon.
Using data from Rajar, ACast and TouchPoints, Ofcom found half of podcast listeners are under 35. It might not come as a surprise to hear that Generation Z has seen the highest increase, with one in five of those aged between 15 and 24 listening to this format.
Ian Macrae, Ofcom’s Director of Market Intelligence, said: “Podcasts are booming in the UK, and broadening people’s listening habits. Every age group is getting involved, but the most explosive growth is among younger adults.”
Podcasts are the perfect way to reach and attract this demographic - who want to listen to audio on their terms. The Financial Times, for example, has created a podcast with the primary aim of attracting a younger audience. In the three months up to November 2018, 60% of the increase in marketing subscriptions came from 22 to 37-year-olds. In creating 12 podcasts it doubled its listeners to a million in less than a year. Two-thirds of those listeners are non-subscribers that can now potentially be converted. Similarly, The Economist has followed in the footsteps of The Guardian and The New York Times, creating a daily podcast and hiring eight new members of staff to work on it.
Interestingly, The Guardian targeted commuters on the London Underground advertising its new daily podcast with an ad that said: ‘Don’t read this poster. Listen to it.’ Sam Jacobs, creative director at Oliver said that they wanted to: “Let tube commuters know that instead of staring at their social media or avoiding eye contact with the person opposite them they could listen in and discover the story behind the headlines.”
Then there is Serial - a podcast that lead the way in the podcast revolution. Even if you haven’t listened to it, you may well have heard of it. This series - so successful that it has been made into a TV programme - is a true crime podcast that won a Peabody Award in 2015 for the telling of a long-form nonfiction story in an innovative way. It also holds the world record for the most episodes downloaded - by June 2017 this number had already reached 175 million.
Podcasts have become such a big deal that they are being recorded in front of a studio audience at festivals and entire events are happening off the back of them.
So, we know they are successful but why are podcasts beneficial?
Agencies are currently embracing podcasts more than brands. While only 66% of brands see digital audio as a key part of their strategy, 86% of ad agencies do.
Global’s DAX, a digital advertising audio platform, found that out of the 85% of advertisers that intend to increase investment in digital audio this year, 75% will be on podcasts specifically.
Brands may well want to create a podcast to speak directly to their audience. Freya Lingerie’s podcast ‘When life gives you melons’ is hosted by Maya Jama and, in its own words, is ‘aimed at women that are looking for the perfect addition to their commute’. Maya is joined by well-known female faces to discuss everything from careers to friendship.
However, it is actually the perfect space for advertising as it can be delivered in a personal way. This often means sponsoring an episode or an entire series and receiving an advertisement at the beginning of the show or during an ad break halfway through.
If you listen to Fearne Cotton’s Happy Place podcast, for example, you’ll hear how she naturally talks about a relevant brand that is sponsoring the podcast at the beginning and promotes them in a way that her audience will relate to.
Speaking to The Drum, Oliver Deane, director of commercial digital at Global, said: “The belief among the advertisers is that podcasts offer a very engaging environment and there is an opportunity to take a trusted voice in the presenter and have them talk about your brand in a credible way.”
And it works too. On Acast, 76% follow up on an ad or message, 37% follow up on a product and 27% on a brand’s website. It was also found that, during 2018, monthly revenue was up 50% from podcasts adverts.
The thought of starting a podcast from scratch can be daunting. But it is actually much easier than you might think. You don’t even need a big budget or a recording studio - you can actually get started on a relatively small budget and the rest can always come later. Prove the concept with the basics and you can expand and get fancier later.
Hopefully you know the benefits and are inspired to start your own podcast now. But, before you do check out our podcasts which can be found on Spotify.
Whether you work in the digital marketing industry and are looking for advice or are a brand that would like to understand what we can do for you, follow us to listen to our existing episodes and keep up to date with new ones.
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