Podcasting is a growing phenomenon that doesn’t seem to be slowing down any time soon. With new creators popping up what seems like every day, there is a show for everyone no matter their content preference. Ranging from murder mystery to alien conspiracy theories to your favourite comedian it’s almost harder to choose a podcast to listen to than a new Netflix series to watch. And with all these podcasts you would be hard pressed to find one that hasn’t integrated branding or sponsorship into their show.
Podcasting has reached historic highs with over 1 million active podcasts and 30 million episodes in over 100 different languages. There are now more options than ever for audiences to pick and choose which subject they want to learn about. In Canada alone, podcasts currently reach 37% of those aged 18+ on a monthly basis and 24% listen on a weekly basis. In terms of monthly listeners, Canada is on par with the US and slightly ahead in terms of weekly listening. This rapid growth in listenership has led to an increase in potential marketing value; when it comes to brand deals and advertising podcast ad revenue in the US alone is expected to surpass 1 billion dollars in 2021. This increase in investment has been propelled by audience growth and content, paired with an increase in technology to allow for easier access to this ad space.
In terms of performance, there is no doubt that podcasts offer a unique and specific experience when it comes to audio advertising. But the real power of this medium is the intent it cultivates from the audiences which are tuning in. Podcast listening ranks among the highest when measuring user concentration with 64% of users ranking their degree of concentration as either a 4 or 5 out of 5 (this is the 4th highest, surpassed only by checking the weather, the news, and watching TV shows). This concentration is also paired by a frame of mind that is open to receiving advertising as seen in the below image. Nielsen reports 64% of podcast listeners agree that the ad they were served on a podcast was a good fit with the content. This type of lean in listening presents an opportunity to create a connection with the audience.
A surge in viewership forced the podcasting world to innovate in order to better suit the needs of advertisers. This presented an opportunity for organizations to develop platforms that can allow for easier access to these opportunities. One of the ways this is being done is through programmatic, which allows brands to leverage user data to target an audience that fits with their brand. This has allowed smaller podcasts to enter the world of advertising in creating a way for them to monetize their content without the need to search for a sponsor, and the reverse is true for brands. eMarketer forecasts that programmatic podcast advertising will grow to over $100 million by 2022, occupying around 10% of all ad podcast ad spend. Organizations are also creating podcast networks in order to connect brands with creators, allowing them to produce content for the brands. This content tends to be blended into the podcast itself by having the host promote your brand on air. This would be like an influencer deal on Instagram by presenting your product to the audience through a personality whom they trust.
Navigating this new medium may seem like a daunting task but with audiences so intent on learning and those audiences growing at exponential rates, it is important for the industry to capitalize and make efforts in order to make this process as accessible to brands as possible. The real winners in this are the brands, by leveraging this new stream of advertising you are now able to reach lean in audiences at the peak of their attention. This gives you time to teach potential customers in a way that may not be capable through traditional digital media channels. With brands fighting to tell their story in a way that resonates, why not let the listener have their favourite podcast host tell them?