The runaway success of the podcast, Serial, has created huge buzz for the entire medium. Brands are eager to get their message in front of this highly-engaged and growing audience. But is podcasting really poised for a mainstream breakout? Does it even make sense for your business? Let’s take a closer look.
Marketing gurus have predicted huge growth for podcasting for years. However, most of that attention was focused on podcasts as a content marketing channel. While podcasts offer a lower bar to entry than video content, they still demand a big commitment and a lot of planning.
It takes time and effort to produce your own podcast, both in terms of content creation and audience acquisition. Underestimating the amount of work involved may be why most podcasts end after fewer than seven episodes. It may also be why many businesses have shifted towards viewing podcasts as an advertising medium, instead of a marketing channel. Instead of producing their own podcasts, brands are sponsoring podcasts whose listeners fit their target audience.
Especially for technology startups, podcasting presents an appealing ad platform. It delivers more precise metrics and more tailored content than traditional or satellite radio. Sponsoring a podcast whose subject matter closely aligns with your brand’s core values, industry or audience interests allows you to embed your brand in a passionate community.
In a highly-fractured attention economy, podcasting also delivers something of real qualitative value. According to some experts, podcasting offers the “most intense user engagement of any medium.” Their audiences may be smaller, but they’re giving the content much more focused attention. Compare the typical podcast listener experience with a website, which presents users with multiple headlines, teasers, comments, images and ads — all at once. Long-form audio gives users a break from the fast-cycling attention shifts of text content.
What does that mean for advertisers? Potentially, a big boost in actual lift for brand awareness.
And the small audience size may soon be less of a consideration. Breakout hit podcasts like Serial have achieved audiences of 5 million or more, a reach comparable to that of cable television.
As podcasting continues to grow, it will continue to present marketers with opportunities to tap into a more focused, engaged audience. Is the time right for your brand to add podcasting to the mix? Maybe. Let us know if you’d like to chat about exploring this new ground.