As the number of social media users increases year over year, so do the advertising dollars poured into those platforms. Ad revenue on social eclipsed $51 billion in 2018, and it shows. You can’t open Facebook, Instagram or Twitter without being hit in the face with an ad or two or ten. To make matters worse for users, every action you consciously or subconsciously take leads to another batch of sponsored content. And round and round we go.
Meanwhile, as advertising budgets shift to accommodate our full-fledged addiction to social media, a different avenue for marketing is not-so-quietly growing in prominence – podcasts.
Podcast advertising is not a new or groundbreaking concept (nor am I suggesting it should take precedence over social). I am, however, encouraging brands and marketers to at least include it as part of the overall marketing mix. Here’s why:
- Podcast listeners actually listen and they listen good.
- Host-read ads serve as influencer marketing.
- Podcasts reach an otherwise unreachable audience.
Podcast listeners actually listen and they listen good.
A sample comprising just my friends (n=8) indicates that 100% of all consumers listen to podcasts. But seriously, a HUGE percentage of people listen to podcasts, and they listen on a frequent basis. Eighty percent of podcast listeners tune in for all or most of each episode AND they listen to an average of seven shows per week. Better still, ad recall for podcasts is pretty dang high:*
- 80% of listeners can name at least one brand advertised in an episode
- 67% were able to name a specific product feature or promotion
- 51% were more likely to buy from the target brand
Host-read ads serve as influencer marketing.
Influencer marketing took off when brands recognized that consumers trust someone they consider a “peer” more than they do a big brand. As a result, Instagram influencers began cashing big checks for publishing photos of themselves “using” a brand’s product. Podcast ads are the exact same thing, except they take the form of 15, 30 or 60 second audio clips from a lovable host.
Listeners trust hosts. It’s that simple. And it extends beyond the banter about sports, politics, crime or whatever topics they cover on their show. Host-read ads carry an added significance that consumers may not get from a photo or video ad on Instagram. Best case scenario, a host adds their own flare to your script in the form of humor and anecdote. Next best: they read it word-for-word but you still benefit from the message being delivered from a trusted source.
Podcasts reach an otherwise unreachable audience.
As the prevalence of digital and social advertising grows, so does the percentage of people using ad blockers. However, relative to other formats, podcast ads are most difficult to evade. While Apple and others have created ways to jump ahead, podcast advertisements are woven into each episode (often host-read), forcing users to listen in or chance missing part of the show by skipping ahead – not a risk most are willing to take. Podcasts allow brands to reach an otherwise unreachable audience.
Advertising is never a perfect science and no single channel is worth shifting the entire budget toward. But for marketers reexamining your mix of content, now is a good time to get on board the podcast train. Before we know it, the podcast landscape could start looking like that of Instagram and Facebook: cluttered.