Nearly one in three people listen to a podcast every month. Last year, it was probably only around one in every six people.
Why the sudden uptick in podcast listeners? Around 50 percent of people prefer to listen to their podcasts at home. When the pandemic hit and we all were social distancing, working from home, and quarantining, all of which incited a new excitement towards podcasts. Listeners needed to distract themselves from the unrest while screen fatigue became more present in their daily lives. They wanted to keep a finger on the pulse of global events. And they found a new vigor for self-care. Podcast genres like comedy, true crime, and health & fitness were among the most popular series in 2021 likely for these reasons.
Even though the pandemic may not be restricting our personal or professional lives as much as it did last year or even earlier this year, the growth of podcast listening isn’t expected to slow down anytime soon. The number of people who listen to at least one podcast a month grew from 32 percent in 2019 to 37 percent, and it’s predicted that around 125 million people will become regular podcast listeners next year alone.
As the number of listeners continues to increase at a pretty steady pace, companies are beginning to allocate more of their budgets on audio ad spend. Smart, considering that podcast ad spend was around $758 million last year and is expected to hit $2.4 billion by 2025. If your business isn’t looking to add podcasts to your media strategy, here’s why you should make it a priority for next year.
Find your “super listeners”
Wherever there’s a medium, there will be a large number of people who will consume that particular content. In the podcast sphere, these are your ‘super listeners’ — those who spend an average of five or more hours a week listening to podcasts. Of this group, 10.5 hours was the average.
Super listeners are important for advertisers for a number of reasons. A survey from Edison Research, Podcast One, and Ad Results Media discovered these findings:
- Super listeners are more receptive to ads, with 49 percent agreeing that podcasts are the best way to reach them
- 54 percent reported being more likely to purchase a product or service advertised on a podcast over any other media
- 48 percent said they pay more attention to ads on podcasts than on any other media
There shouldn’t be any doubt as to whether or not your target audience is listening to podcasts; they are. And they are more attentive and engaged than on other platforms. Listeners assign a higher value to their podcast content than other media, so they’re paying more attention to the ads featured during each episode. You have access to a captive and passionate audience sitting right in front of you, so why wouldn’t you want to generate and deliver ads to these podcast listeners?
Businesses that promote their products or services on podcasts generate greater brand awareness and favorability within their industries, and this yields significant results. Research has shown that podcast conversion rates are around seven times higher than traditional website traffic leads. If you aren’t thinking about how to leverage podcast advertising to push your marketing efforts into the future, you’re missing out on an entire demographic of people who would likely support your business.
Put yourself in front of harder-to-reach audiences
Advertising on podcasts doesn’t only give you access to your super listeners, it also makes it possible to reach audiences you might struggle connecting with on other platforms, like television or social media. If your target demographic is millennials and/or Gen Zers, podcasts are one great way to reach them. 49 percent of listeners are between the ages of 12 to 34.
Think of podcasts as an influencer marketing opportunity, which younger generations prefer to most other marketing tactics. Your products or services don’t necessarily have to align with the content of the podcast itself, what matters most are your tone and messaging. Find out what podcasts your audience is listening to and see what series might make the most sense for your outreach. When your company is advertised by hosts these listeners trust, it makes the connection to your brand more steadfast and lucrative.
Create your own branded audio
This might not be the right move for every business, but it’s something to think about as podcast interest grows. When social media platforms become popular, so does business activity on those accounts. Almost every company has a Facebook page, an Instagram account, and even their own TikTok profile. So it’s not that ludicrous to think that companies will soon be making their own branded audio.
General Electric created their own eight-part science fiction podcast called The Message. While their chief creative officer said he doesn’t necessarily consider it to be advertising, it was still an engaging way for them to connect with listeners. Shopify did the same thing, although theirs is more overtly meant to get entrepreneurs to use their platform for the ecommerce needs. Their podcast, Thank God It’s Monday (TGIM), features interviews with entrepreneurs about their own experiences creating and growing their successful businesses.
Celebrities make and engage with podcasts. Amateurs make and engage with podcasts. And companies like Google, Disney, and Amazon make and engage with podcasts. If you’re wondering where your audience is, they’re out there discovering new podcasts to listen to. Whether you create your own or advertise on one, don’t sleep on podcasts. This is why there were 2.2 million podcasts on Spotify at the end of last year. The numbers don’t lie. It’s time to start paying attention.
Written by Brian Berner.
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