The Power In Podcasts

Elke Farnworth
November 23, 2020

In a world where video content is dominating and the context of it is largely millennials dancing in the middle of shopping centres, there's no surprise that the audience’s appetite for podcasts is at an all-time high. While I'll admit I love a good video for a low down, there's something about listening to podcasts to pass time that hits the neurons differently. Perhaps another legacy of the covid contribution to our evolving culture.

The powerhouse audio is now actively competing for the media dollars for both big and small advertisers…and reeling them in. So, it got me thinking, is there a stronger effect via the voice when the average person’s eyes are exposed to 5,000 ads per day?

I dug and I found. As it turns out I'm not the only one interested in how the spoken voice engages our brain differently. Jack Gallant, a computational and cognitive neuroscientist from UC Berkeley explains a study he was involved in where they did an MRI whilst playing podcasts to the applicants, imaging scientifically visible effects on the brain. They evidently found that when listening to audio content, the brain is processing more vigorously than was previously assumed. I can justify this in my personal experience as I've concluded that it's almost impossible to write this journal while listening to Rory Sutherland tell me about 'The Surprising Power of Ideas That Don't Make Sense.' I find myself pausing and having to replay; a constant tug of war between what I'm physically doing and what my brain’s absorbing, challenging my multi-tasking.

Our brains need to work extremely hard to take an audio input and turn into a whole sensory experience, which is why podcasts can be so absorbing and sometimes exhausting. They keep your brain in heightened concentration. Recognising this and the impact on what it does to listeners is revolutionary for us advertisers. It's an old medium but a new trend and a simple mention can influence your audience sometimes even more impressionably than a visual piece of content.

Podcast Marketing 101

The marketing industry has been quick to identify and react to these changes in audience behaviours, helping clients to create snippets of audio ads to fully branded podcasts. The growth in podcasting is providing earning potential as this platform for advertising is significant. Recognising the popularity of podcasting, a number of large media companies have recently entered the marketplace.

There's one key reason that brands are paying more money for podcast advertising: it works, especially as the effectiveness of traditional advertising medium has declined in recent years. Depending on the nature of the product or service, podcasting stands head and shoulders above some conventional display advertising.

Podcasts tend to be highly engaging mediums for delivering messages. Given the audio nature of podcasts, their captive audience tends to listen to every word, providing an ideal audience for advertisers who are broadcasting their brands. People listen to podcasts which interest them, exposing the brands which hosts endorse. With an existing trusting relationship this, in turn, amplifies any given information and messaging about your product or service, if you can get the content on point for a Podcast advertisement segment.

Consider the podcasts you frequently listen to. Usually the the host will talk about their sponsors in one or two places:

1) 15-second pre-roll: typically around 15-seconds long and are placed before the "meat" of the show's content. Prior to the host actually diving into the podcast content, they'll talk about the advertiser's product or service.

2) 60 second mid roll: placed around the middle of the show, usually around the halfway mark, the host will talk about the advertiser's content.

Once you've defined the audience, as well as why they’re listening, you can use this new medium to actively grow awareness around your product or service. In addition the information and recommendations is an impactful way of growing your reputation as a credible source.

Start by finding or creating podcasts that appeal to your defined audience, understand the nature of the intended audience and then tailor the ad to suit your brands conversion goals.

Final Thoughts

As advertisers, it's our job to not only ride the wave of new trends in the industry but to spot the break before anyone else. While the rise in audio consumption is still relatively new, now is the time to start considering exploring new ways of communicating with customers. Whether it's creating a podcast for your brand or advertising bite-size snippets of an existing podcast in line with your brand, it will go a long way because this is only the beginning of podcast revolution in marketing. Listen to this space.