The podcast boom has also affected the marketing industry. Gradually, this form of communication is also increasingly used by marketers and is rich in interesting topics and formats.
The podcast market is booming and opening up new opportunities for the economy: according to The Interactive Advertising Bureau, the US market alone is expected to generate approximately $700 million in revenue from podcast advertising in 2022. Although the buzz around this new medium is not as big as in America, more and more users are also discovering it in Poland. According to a survey conducted by LoveBrands Group and SW Research, more than 40% of Poles have listened to or regularly listen to podcasts.
The B2C and B2B markets are gradually realizing this potential. More and more businesses are using podcasts as their own secondary channel (corporate podcast or brand podcast). As with editorial content, quality comes first. Companies that manage to offer their audience high-quality content with clear added value can target their target audience in a targeted way using podcast marketing, build long-term customer loyalty and build long-term partnerships.
What is a podcast anyway?
The term “podcast” includes two terms:
- “Pod” (a reference to the (mostly) mobile consumption of podcasts) i
A podcast consists of audio or video files that are available online and subscribed to via a so-called RSS feed. This means that this medium is mainly used for “pull marketing” type communication: the user consciously decides on the choice of content and actively searches for it himself.
Thanks to podcast marketing, companies can achieve the following objectives, among others:
- Qualitative approach to the target group (instead of quantitative)
- Lead generation
- Promote products and services (indirectly)
- Community development and thought leadership
- Generate user engagement
- Long-term customer loyalty
- Share exclusive expertise via audio
- Image building; for example, interviews with partners or customers are also an excellent source of reference.
What are the podcast marketing opportunities?
Anyone who wants to advertise via podcasts has a variety of paid media and proprietary media options.
There are three types of paid advertising in the podcasting market:
- commercial advertising and
- hybrid forms of advertising:
- sponsorship i
- Native advertising.
Podcasts tend to be poor in direct advertising content, which of course is good for your promotional message.
Ad placement (advertisements)
If you want to appear in podcasts in the classic way, you have the option of placing commercials in podcast episodes for a fee. Your ad will appear either:
- PreRoll-Ad, i.e. at the start of the episode,
- PostRoll-Ad at the end of the episode
- either between or in the middle like MidRoll-Ad
Of course, the options for placing ads in podcasts can also be combined. Often, however, only one spot is broadcast in an episode, thanks to which the reaction to the advertisement is greater.
The podcast sponsor is usually mentioned at the beginning or end of an episode, just like in regular television commercials. However, unlike usual advertising, the podcast host usually introduces the sponsor themselves. Thanks to this, the message becomes more authentic and has a positive effect on the image of the advertiser. However, you have to choose the right podcasts carefully, and it’s hard not just because of the wide variety of topics. The specificity of this media segment is that podcasters generally only work with selected partners to present to their listeners only the content and collaborations with which they really identify.
Use native advertising
Native advertising is another way to advertise on someone else’s podcasts. Also in this case, it is the author of the podcast who presents the advertised product or service. However, in the case of native advertising, the advertising message is not in the foreground, but is naturally integrated into the conversation. The advertising message is so vague that it is difficult to distinguish between the two types of content. The goal is to draw attention to the brand and build its image. If implemented correctly, you can also circumvent the problem of recipients ignoring advertising content.
As owned media, podcasts are the toughest discipline in podcast marketing. This is where companies produce their own formats, i.e. business podcasts. Thanks to this, companies are not dependent on external partners. They themselves control all the parameters of the message contained in the podcasts, such as:
- brand presence,
- communication objectives as well
- advertising messages, totally in line with the ideas of the company
Business podcasts can be used in internal and external communication, both in B2C and B2B sectors. The options for designing and producing podcasts are diverse here:
- from the tale to
- interviews with experts or
- podcasts, in the form of round tables on specific topics
The scope of possible activities is wide and can be adapted to the specific needs of the company and the industry.
For example, a business podcast can be part of a time-limited campaign or scheduled as a long-term activity. It is only in the latter case that all the advantages of this medium, such as customer loyalty, can be fully exploited.
If companies are successful in reaching target groups through podcast marketing, they can boost earned media reach. In this form of media, consumers or other multipliers communicate about content on their own initiative. Earned media is hard to control, but mostly reliable. High-quality content, aimed at the right listener, increases the likelihood that potential multipliers will share that content with others. You can also think about guest appearances on external podcasts to multiply your reach.
What are the benefits of business podcasting?
Business podcasts don’t guarantee huge reach or short-term sales growth, but they create a prerequisite for a successful customer journey: they build credibility and trust.
The decisive condition here is a good match between the podcast organizer, the target audience and, if possible, the advertised product or service. If this match is successful, a very good publicity effect can be achieved.
Increase the share of podcasts in the advertising and USP market
The demand for audio content is increasing and streaming services such as Deezer and Spotify are further driving this trend. Therefore, podcasts, as a separate category of marketing channels, are becoming increasingly popular. Streaming service providers even sometimes promote it, thanks to which this medium is increasingly entering the consciousness of consumers. Apple also acknowledges this request and pre-installs the podcasting app on its devices. This creates the basis for the target audience to become more and more involved in this new medium. At the same time, few companies still offer their own podcasts. If a given brand fills this gap (and covers a certain topic), it gains a unique USP (Unique selling proposition) and attracts the attention of potential customers.
Costs / Benefits
Compared to creating video formats, podcasts are relatively easy and inexpensive to produce. Instead of complicated lighting technology and cameras, you usually only need relatively inexpensive hardware, such as a special microphone or audio editing software. In addition, existing content can be supplemented with the audio format. For example, a user might read the tutorial text on a website, then find a podcast below, with an in-depth interview with an expert. However, this should not obscure the fact that content should be planned for the long term. Moreover, high-quality, distortion-free audio recording is a prerequisite for gaining a loyal following.
Flexible application, regularity and length
Thanks to on-demand offers and mobile devices such as smartphones, users today consume content when, where and how they want. As a mobile medium, the business podcast fully meets these requirements. Whether in the shower or on the train, online or offline: podcasts can be listened to anywhere and on almost any device. Hardly any other medium can be used so flexibly and support users so much in their daily lives. Podcasts also allow you to relax your eyes for a few minutes.
As consuming podcasts, as opposed to longer articles or videos, saves time, the user is more likely to listen to even longer episodes. This gives listeners more time to engage, and therefore – a completely different impact on their buying behavior.
Individual message and authenticity
Podcasts are mainly distinguished by the possibility of personalizing the message. The simple sound of a human voice creates a completely different approach to the listener’s content. It can even feel like part of a personal, intimate conversation. This increases the credibility of the message and the likelihood that the target group will identify more strongly with the content, and therefore also with the brand. All of this makes podcasting an exceptionally authentic medium that is also suitable for tackling sensitive or difficult topics.
Reach the right target groups
Since podcasts usually relate to a specific topic area, with this form of advertising companies can target their target groups particularly precisely. If your own podcast is also advertised in other podcasts, the targeting precision increases even further and further increases the reach. It’s no secret that the importance of digital communication tools continues to grow. Podcasts are a new touchpoint in the customer journey, not found in traditional communication channels. Thanks to online channels such as podcasts, you can mainly reach young users who consciously avoid conventional advertising and are highly mobile. In addition, On-Demand offers with podcasts respond to the desire for independent consumption of content and cover a wide variety of topics and formats from which the listener is free to choose the one that suits him best.
The problem: measuring the success of podcasts
Unfortunately, until now, there is no uniform and reliable standard to measure the success of a particular podcast. For example, the number of subscribers and downloads of podcasts are not indicative of the actual number of audience. It is unclear whether the episode was actually heard after being subscribed or downloaded. Moreover, so far only a few studies have been conducted on the subject – in particular, long-term observations and concrete empirical results are lacking. Marketers who bet on podcasts therefore open up new avenues, but they can be rewarded with a bonus for pioneering activities in the still uncompetitive segment of the marketing market.
Tomasz Sadowski, Marketing Expert, HUBMEDIA