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Tuning Out To Tune In

Bailey Eshbach

Podcasting is everywhere. And the genres are endless. True crime, news, comedy, educational, stories, sports, health. It’s how people get their news, learn curated facts they may not have sought out on their own, listen to stories from strangers, dive into their obsession with true crime, and have their favorite comedians tell jokes whenever they want it. This is a media consumed mainly through smartphones, which means it’s available whenever and wherever the user wants it. And these audiences are filled with demographics marketers desire to reach most. Millennials, the most sought after demographic, are so selective about the information they consume that ignoring a visual ad is almost second nature. This form of audio has changed the game and it’s only going to continue to grow in scope and quality as more users adopt it.

While podcast listeners may be in the minority of the US population with 25% being active listeners, those listeners are subscribing to more than one show. 21% of listeners tune in to four or five shows a week, while 31% listen to six or more a week. So we know the listeners are there –and they’re loyal. The audience is mostly comprised of repeat and committed listeners. 80% of listeners tune in to most or all episodes that a show offers. Listeners often binge podcasts much like they do on streaming services. This creates a level of trust and connection that the listener might feel with the host.

So here’s a perfect place to meet consumers where they are. Most podcast advertisements are scripts written for the host of the show to read, rather than a pre-recorded ad read from the company itself. “We’re hearing a lot about the influential power of the host-read ad,” said Lauren Fisher, principal analyst at eMarketer. “Some listeners look at hosts very similarly to influencers, and brand and performance advertisers are eager to take advantage of that.” Many brands often prefer host-read ads to provide an added boost or endorsement to the advertisement. Such ads are also more contextually relevant, given that they’re read by the same voice rather than simply swapped out for an entirely different audio experience.
eMarketer, Amy He, July 12, 2019.

With a loyal fan base and projected spread in the years to come, companies saw podcasts as a diamond in the rough when it comes to advertising platforms. Not yet saturated with ad after ad, the podcasts offer a unique delivery by being read and performed by different hosts to better appeal to their own audiences. And in those audiences, 69% of listeners agree that podcast ads made them aware and more interested in new products or services.
Podcast Insights, 2020 Podcast Stats & Facts, Ross Winn, March 7, 2020.

While podcast advertising is a new platform in the game, advertisers are catching on quick. By 2021, expenditures are forecasted to surpass half a billion dollars. The growing advertising investments are probably a response to the potential customer exposure posed by this medium, as podcasts reach more and more listeners in the United States each year.

Statista, Podcast Advertising Spending from 2010 to 2020, A. Guttmann, August 9, 2019.

This unique platform instantly gains the trust of listeners in an intimate way. People listen in their cars, while exercising, at home, and during work. This unique versatility creates a constant access to any show. As long as the specific show is there, your advertisement will be there as well. Podcast listener or not, it’s worth looking into the platform as a new way to advertise for your brand.