Google is starting to take podcasting very seriously and brands need to take notice. “Our team’s mission is to help double the amount of podcast listening in the world over the next couple years,” Google Podcasts Product Manager Zack Reneau-Wedeen stated. Google have upgraded podcasts ranking status in search as well, to a “first-class citizen” alongside text, image and video results, so brands should check that their podcast follows Google’s official guidelines sooner than later. Google is also looking at how one device can hand off to the next, for a seamless listening experience, which is called “device interoperability” and will be key to attracting a new audience with the widespread adoption of smart speakers.
If brands are not already looking at podcasts as a truly effective way of reaching and engaging target audiences, they should be. Podcast ad spend is expected to hit $534 million in 2020 (1) with 93% of brands increasing their podcast ad spending from 2016-17(2). Why is this? Firstly, the ads are listened to and they work (85% of listeners do not skip them (3) and 78% don’t mind them as they support the show (4)) The hosts of the shows usually read the ads – tailored to each podcast - adding character and authenticity. Secondly, podcast listeners earn 28% more than the population average (5) and they spend more in popular consumer categories (travel, tech, transport & entertainment) (6) so podcasts are a great way to reach a well-defined group of savvy, affluent and loyal consumers.
If brands are looking to create something of their own to support brand cut-through, or strengthen their thought leadership positioning, then they would also do well to invest in an entertaining and experienced host. Podcasts are about intimate relationships, as they are usually a one-on-one communication. A good host needs to be able to execute the goals and requirements of this ‘branded content’ and be the right fit for whatever style the podcast wants to take. Is it meant to be funny, informative or is it thought-provoking? Look at how Joe Media partnered with LBC’s James O’Brien on their successful interview podcast ‘Unfiltered’ as an example of the right host, for the right type of podcast.
The future of podcasting is bright. There is an audience that has money to spend, and if brands are smart with the types of podcasts they advertise on, or create, it has the potential to be very beneficial. Google’s decision to take podcasting is big news. The choice Google took to improve the searchability, can only be good for podcasts, and searching for information - either text, image or audio - will now be on an even playing field. It’s game-on for podcasts!
p.s Do look out for the launch of our new podcast “The Lansons Podcast” on iTunes and your favourite podcast app!
About the Author: Steven Arnoldi is the Senior Producer at Lansons, the London-based reputation management consultancy.
(1) eMarktere, Sep 2017
(2) audioBoom, 2017
(3) Digital Download “meaningful communications” workshop 2018
(4) Nielsen Digital Media Lab, PODCAST SPONSORSHIP EFFECTIVENESS 2017
(5,6) Acast Dec, 2017