For everything there is a season, as the saying goes and media/technology is not immune to various seasons of change. While the first half of the 20th Century was a time of rapid change and entrepreneurship in regards to what we now call legacy media (print, radio, broadcast TV), so far the first half of the 21st Century is not disappointing either when it comes to new and emerging technologies.
There is a phenomenon in mass media theory called convergence which is the blending of a legacy media with an emerging media. We’ve seen it time and again with newspapers and magazines going digital, TV shows and movies streaming online, etc. When one thinks of radio convergence, usually the first thought is of music streaming services, but another form of emerging media is breathing new life into the old format of talk radio – or as you may call it, the podcast.
PODCASTS: IS ANYBODY OUT THERE?
And while podcasting might be considered a new media and not an emerging media, its popularity is on the upswing and its marketing potential is yet to be fully realized. According to AdWeek.com, “21% of Americans age 12 or older say they have listened to a podcast in the past month. That’s a 17% increase in the last year and a 75% increase since 2013.” AdWeek also notes that recent college grads are more likely to start a podcast than a blog.
Podcast users also tend to skew younger, be highly educated, and more engaged on social media. Not to mention that nearly 70% of podcast downloads were on mobile devices. As noted by the blog Maximize Social Business:
Podcast listeners also spend more time online in general than the rest of the U.S. population. Plus, podcast listeners tend to favor the Internet over any other form of media such as TV, radio, or newspapers. This means that whatever marketing you’re doing on these more traditional forms of media is likely not reaching these younger podcast listeners.
So why aren’t brands/businesses jumping on the podcast wagon? One of the main reasons is that while podcast audiences are growing, overall it’s a very small share of the market.
Another problem according to the Pew Research Center is that there is a lack of reliable metrics for measuring audience size. “The main way a podcast’s audience is generally measured is through downloads. Download data, however, is limited in that the statistics do not identify if the podcast downloaded was actually listened to, either in part or in its entirety, or how many different people may have listened to the podcast.”
TO POD OR NOT TO POD, THAT IS THE QUESTION
While the above stated drawbacks for measuring market share might sound like a call to abandon the podcasting ship, don’t be so quick. The fact that podcasting has a small audience share overall means that the landscape is not yet cluttered. Not only that, those tuning in seem to be the ever elusive, highly sought after, highly prized Millennial audience. A blog post from WeEditBlogs.com points out that:
Of 300,000 podcast listeners, 63% bought something that a host had promoted on their show. Of that same group, 71% said they had visited a sponsor’s website, while 62% said they would consider paying for the advertised product or service.
Another benefit of podcasting is that it can lend a more personal voice to your brand and help drive consumer conversations if the content is authentic and of value. Also, unlike reading through a blog (the irony is not lost on me as I sit here and type this blog post) podcasts allow listeners to multitask. They can listen whenever and wherever they choose – in the car, at the gym, cooking supper, etc.
For those interested in learning more about Podcasting, Kissmetrics.com has a great blog post that talks about the pros and cons of using a podcast for your business, and it includes some great “how to” tips.
Hope you enjoyed reading this week’s post. Now, I’m going to go download the last installment of Serial.