Audio is the hot new entertainment of today
The old rebooted wireless is kind of making a comeback, with podcasting and audible book listenership growing significantly.
The numbers attest to the rising popularity. Serial rocketed the medium to new heights last year, with record breaking numbers. The programme is up to 5 million listeners (the type of numbers that rival popular TV programming) and to date, is the most successful podcast in history. Rebecca Greenfield, from Fastcompany.com, states that more people have downloaded Serial than have watched Girls, Mad Men, or Louie.
Apple reported that podcast subscriptions through iTunes reached 1 billion in 2014. And Buzzfeed will soon start their own podcasting show.
What’s driving the growth?
There are two main reasons.
The first is the quality of content available. Whether it’s bodybuilding, business or ancient history – there is a smorgasbord of beautifully made content available.
The second driver behind podcasting’s popularity is the way the medium itself is used. It’s content how and when we want it – the consumer is in control - not a TV station programming our consumption choices like an appointment. The primary way of listening is via headphones connected to a smart handheld device. And there never was any "appointment listening," because podcasts are designed to be consumed whenever the listener chooses.
Anna Friedman from the Columbia Journalism Review writes:
"Unlike the audience online, which tends to click through and then bounce away quickly, podcasts draw people in for the duration of the episode. They feel a deep, personal connection with the hosts. In an era when other ad rates are plummeting and publications are trying to position themselves as membership organizations, this level of fervent fandom is something that most media outlets would kill for.
The nature of podcast consumption is passive. We’re all busy. But so many hours of a week are in downtime. On the treadmill, on a plane, in the car driving to work. The minutes add up to hours – and you can maximise this downtime by upsizing your expertise and knowledge."
Why you need to get on board
If you’re not yet in the pod camp, here are two reasons why you need to pay attention:
- There’s a delicious catalogue of industry thought leadership, practical tips for businesses big and small, and best practice
- There are monetization opportunities for marketers and advertisers (more on this later)
My top 4 marketing podcasts
Marketing moves quickly. Be ahead of the game and increase your expertise without really trying:
- I Love Marketing - Dean Jackson and Joe Polish take on the big marketing ideas with access to some of the sharpest marketing minds in the world.
- Social Media for Small Business – local Australian flavour, hosted by Suzki Dafnis (Community Director and CEO of the Australian Businesswomen's Network) and Brisbane Chief Digital Officer Cat Matson – catmatson.com
- Small Business Big Marketing – small business entrepreneurship is the bread and butter of modern economies. Timbo Reid surveys small business success stories and practical marketing wisdom.
- Social Media Examiner - the big kahuna in social media reporting, host Michael Stelzner was an early adopter of podcasting. America frequently pioneers the latest in social media, and you’ll be among the first to hear it via this podcast.
Why podpower is marketing’s new window of opportunity
Podcast listeners are devoted to the medium, loyal to their hosts and have an intimate following of their favourite shows.
From Fastcompany.com, Rebecca Greenfield explains:
"As moviegoing wanes, cable bundles crumble, and TV ratings wither, those businesses will have to increasingly diversify their revenue models. The experience of podcasters may offer many useful lessons. Podcasting is built on the very assumptions that older media have been forced into making, due to technological advances that have ruined their historic pursuit of a mass audience gathered at a single, scheduled time."
Knowing that podcasts are a particularly intimate experience, creators have tried to cement deep relationships with their audiences, primarily by offering truly distinctive programming.
From Columbia Journalism Review, “podcast consumers, according to Edison Research, listen to an average of six episodes per week. Once they find a podcast they like, they tend to be devoted. The medium feels intimate. Unlike the audience online, which tends to click through and then bounce away quickly, podcasts draw people in for the duration of the episode. They feel a deep, personal connection with the hosts.”
This deep engagement and relationship between listener and host is having a huge payoff for advetisers. Through ‘live reads’ by the podcast’s host, one survey of 300,000 podcast listeners found that 63% bought something a host had promoted on a show.
Podcast ads are selling for $20-$45 (USD) per thousand listeners—a number known, in ad-sales parlance as CPM. That’s far more than either radio, network tv, or web ads, which tend to have CPMs in the $1-$20 range. There’s a Catch-22 with these high podcast CPMs, though. Right now most podcast audiences are (relatively) small and devoted.
Top 50 PR, Marketing & Social Media Podcasters to Follow
Top 5 other podcasts
- Tim Ferriss - http://fourhourworkweek.com/podcast/
- Radiolab - http://www.radiolab.org/series/podcasts/
- Ted Radio Hour - http://www.npr.org/podcasts/510298/ted-radio-hour
- Freakonomics Radio - http://freakonomics.com/category/freakonomics-radio/podcasts/
- Serial - http://serialpodcast.org/