The quiet, unstoppable rise of podcasts

Published August 30, 2019
Last Updated September 4, 2019
Taranpreet Sangha

From fashion brands to news outlets; more and more businesses are jumping on the podcast bandwagon. In the last few years there has been an explosive growth of podcast listening and branded podcast advertising, with thousands of businesses and individuals using them to get their message out to millions of people.

According to journalist Joshua Dudley, podcasts are ‘non-music-only audio recorded’, which are saved digitally and can be ‘listened to anytime’ – whether this is on a web browser or through a mobile app, such as Spotify or Apple. In simple terms, it is a pre-recorded audio show that can be listened to when you want, where you want, and how you want once downloaded.

With six million of us listening to them every week and with over 700,000 active podcasts and more than 29 million episodes, it is no surprise that podcasts are growing in popularity and are replacing traditional methods of communicating content, such as articles and essays.

Although they predate Facebook, YouTube and Twitter, and the current RSS feed format, podcasts have always been the quiet younger sibling of the technological era. However, after slowly building following and as more people tune into them to listen to their favourite audiobook or entertainment content, podcasts (especially branded podcasts) are now everywhere.

Why are branded podcasts popular?

With people from all ages across the world listening to them – podcasts have certainly made their mark on the public. As we lead busier lives, podcasts have become a convenient and free way for people to consume content and for brands to advertise products. Whether you’re commuting to work, in your bedroom cleaning, or sunbathing on the beach, podcasts can be listened to everywhere, becoming a seamless part of your routine.

Podcasts have grown in popularity as they are a cost-effective and accessible way to make content more informative and entertaining. Most shows can be recorded on inexpensive equipment (mainly with a good quality microphone and headphones), making it easy for any company to start its own.

We all hate advertisements and annoying popups! With an average of four minutes of advertising an hour verses 16 for television, there is less reason to block ads in podcasts or leave to do something else as they are less intrusive and distracting.

Most importantly, podcasts showcase how a company can bring value to the listeners life by painting a personal and intimate picture of their brand. Creating a good relationship helps in building trust as it encourages listeners to be associated with the brand. This can then lead to more sales and improved conversion as people are more likely to buy something from someone they trust and feel connected to!

Why will they continue to grow?

In this busy world, as podcasts become the most binge-able way to consume content they will continue to grow! By 2021, podcast listening will quadruple – up to 13.6% of audio listening from 3% now, according to the BBC’s Head of Research for Radio and Education, Alison Winter.

As technology continually develops and with devices having advanced broadband connections, podcasts will become even quicker to obtain. For example, with the growth of smart cars, they will be more accessible and easier to download, and might even replace the traditional AM/FM radio.

The rise in voice activated apps could further lead to podcasts becoming an integral part of our daily lives. Research has shown that listeners are more likely to own a smart speaker, therefore the growth in Alexa, Google and Siri voice recognition will lead to a massive growth in audio content.

Moreover, apps such as Apple Podcast, will allow the same show to be accessed from multiple devices and listened to any time. The new Apple watchOS5, which will have a louder speaker, will bring Apple’s app to the watch for the first time, making it more satisfying to listen to them.

Helping to reach new audiences and generate revenue, branded podcasts present a phenomenal opportunity for businesses wanting to advertise. In 2018, podcast adverts in the US generated 402 million in revenue, with the potential to hit $659 million in 2020. According to research, many listeners even find these ads memorable and motivating.

As ad measurements for podcasts improves and as brands like Google and Tinder continue to increase their ad format, potential advertisers will be inspired to invest in the platform, further helping it to grow.

The industry is now expected to boom with Spotify’s acquisition of podcasting companies Gimlet Media and Anchor. These game-changing investments indicate how this music-streaming giant wants to make podcasting a considerable pillar of its platform. With plans to spend a further $500m on podcast acquisitions in the near future, it’s not messing around in its aims to become the leading platform for podcast creators.

Top branded podcasts

Now that we have discussed podcasts, below are examples of some of the best ones around!

What makes these examples all successful is that the content is engaging, informative and relevant. Most importantly, they focus on developing a relationship with the listener, rather than trying to sell products.

Behind Closed Doors (Pretty Little Thing)

  • This online fashion retailer has taken a targeted approach to its content, tailoring interests to its core audience (young women).
  • Discusses relevant issues and includes interviews with high profile influencers and celebrities.
  • Allows the brand to expand on its style and form more personal relationships with listeners.

Open for Business (eBay)

  • Targeted at entrepreneurs (and anyone looking to succeed), this podcast features insight and advice from small business owners and industry experts, showing how to start your own company.
  • Successful as it reinforces eBay’s branding image and hints at its origins as a start-up business.
  • Combines humour and intelligence and told in a journalistic/interview style.

The Discovery Adventures (Land Rover)

  • Inspired by figures that indicate how the car is a unique environment as it allows for quality time together, offering the ideal opportunity for a shared family experience without distraction.
  • This family-friendly binaural podcast series is hugely successful as it uses the immersive experience of 3D sound to encourage adventure and interest in the Great British landscape.
  • Taking listeners on a journey around the UK and telling authentic stories based on specific destinations; this podcast blends car adventures with educational sections, allowing the company to spread its brand-ethos to fans of all ages.

With the marriage of technology and consumer culture, the possibilities for podcasts are endless!

Tell us your thoughts on podcasts by tweeting or contacting us!

 



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