While podcasting has been around for over a decade, many people, including marketers, are just now discovering its power for the first time. Experiencing a renaissance of sorts, certain podcast programs are starting to get mainstream attention. Perhaps the most notable of all recent podcasts is Serial from NPR’s This American Life. (We at Team Imbue happen to be huge fans of this podcast and have discussed it at length over our lunch table. How are we supposed to feel about Adnan!?)
As podcasting continues to garner praise for its educational and entertainment value, we decided to take a look at why the medium is becoming so popular and how marketers can leverage its returning power.
What is a podcast?
Originally called an “audio blog”, a podcast is simply a form of digital media that is similar to radio broadcasting, consisting of an audio file that is either listened to through streaming online or downloaded and then listened to, often on a mobile device. Typically, a podcast will have one or more permanent hosts and stick to a general theme or series of topics. There is a large variety available and once a user subscribes to a podcast, they are able to listen on demand.
Why is podcasting becoming more popular?
In the beginning, podcasts were difficult to listen to, let alone produce. But with the advance in technology, creating and consuming podcasts has never been easier, especially since the mainstream introduction of mobile devices. With this in mind, most app stores offer apps that allow users to simply subscribe, download, and listen to podcasts they find interesting. Plus, for the most part, podcasts are free to listen to. Overall accessibility has improved dramatically.
A Good Commuting Companion
Unlike other mediums, which call for a certain level of dedicated attention, podcasts allow for a level of multitasking that many find appealing. Since 44% of radio listening happens in the car, it is no surprise that many people are listening to podcasts during their daily commute. Podcasts provide enough entertainment to be valued, but not so much that it distracts from driving. Plus, as cars become more and more connected through in-car Wi-Fi and cellular connections, the ability to play audio from a smartphone is only becoming easier.
When podcasting first began, overall technical quality was relatively poor, and certainly not at the level it is today. These days, podcasts are professionally created and have improved drastically in quality from both a content and technical standpoint. With improved technology, a company or individual is able to produce a high-quality sound with minimal investment in equipment and spend more of their effort focusing on content.
Affordable and Unique
When it comes to marketing, quality content sets a company apart from the competition. Podcasts are yet another way for companies to create quality content to educate and entertain their audiences. They are relatively inexpensive to produce, especially compared to video advertising, and they allow for a new level of engagement. Plus, with only 3% of marketers using podcasting, it also offers a unique way to connect with audiences for many companies.
Monetization through Advertising
Podcasters have started monetizing their shows by way of paid and integrated on-air ads. As companies are discovering success in advertising through this medium, it is becoming a powerful tool for lead generation and brand awareness. More and more companies are investing in advertisements on this digital media platform, which has a circular effect and helps support the industry of podcasting.
What is the future of podcasting?
Podcasting isn’t going anywhere anytime soon. While it is still a smaller industry than radio, TV, and online publishing, it is rising in popularity and we suspect it will continue to do so. Last year, Apple reported that podcast subscriptions through iTunes reached 1 billion. For an industry that began as a hobby for some, it is quickly becoming popular and profitable for many.
For more information on whether podcasting is right for your marketing strategy, please contact us.