Opinion

Is podcasting the Holy Grail for marketers looking to reach millennials?

Podcast audiences are highly engaged and they aren’t disturbed by the appearance of advertising, and most importantly, the listeners – millennials – are a group advertisers have a hard time engaging – writes Tim Colman of Click2View

The latest podcast stats prove there’s a growing interest in long-form, detailed content. Edison Research has found that 64% of Americans understand the term ‘podcasting’ with 26% of the population listening to podcasts monthly.

This means about 73 million people are tuning in monthly. These figures are obviously of interest to advertisers. The Interactive Advertising Bureau and PwC have estimated podcast advertising revenue will reach US$400 million this year, growing to an impressive US$650 million by 2020.

Those listening are younger, more educated and have more money to spend compared to the remainder of the United States. Basically, the much sought after, but difficult to find, millennial market.

Stats outside of the US are hard to come by but the ones available show the same trend. In Australia, the number of agencies advertising on podcasts tripled in the last year. In Asia, the downloading figures grew by 29% in 2017, up from 18% increase in 2016. Japan and Hong Kong download most of the podcasts in the region with Singapore coming in fifth.

What are people listening to?

If there’s a topic you’re interested in, chances are there’s a podcast delving into the details. Topics covered include (but are not limited to) business, politics, marketing, pop culture, music, true crime, investigative journalism, history and comedy.

Business podcasts appear to be particularly popular when it comes to purchasing. A Nielsen report found consumers were 14% more likely to purchase a product after hearing an ad for it on a business podcast.

Here are some Asia-based business podcasts worth checking out:

Asia Tech Podcast

Originally a single, weekly podcast hosted by Graham Brown focussing on tech innovation in the Asian region. It’s since grown into a network of casts covering start-up stories, business leader profiles, digital trends, tech governance and a series focussing on Indonesia.

Analyse Asia

Hosted by Bernard Leong, the one-on-one interview styled shows focus on business and tech in Asia. The purpose is to show how local businesses innovate in the unique economic environment they operate in.

The Jay Kim Show

Hong Kong entrepreneur Jay Kim talks business, investing and start-ups in the Asia region. He interviews successful entrepreneurs, investors and founders who have a unique take and understanding of the marketplace.

What does this mean for marketers?

Generally, advertising on podcasts is unintrusive and minimal. It’s read by the host and limited to appearing once during the show. There could also be a sponsorship mention during the intro. Regular podcasts listeners will also recognise the same brands popping up. Squarespace, for instance, must have a dedicated podcast strategy.

A podcast’s success is generally measured by the number of downloads. The problem is no one knows what happens after the download. Do listeners get all the way through? Does the appearance of an ad lead them to drop off?

Apple’s recently released ‘podcast analytics’ goes someway to answering these questions. Restricted to just iOS 11 users, various podcasting networks have found 80 to 90% of listeners finish every podcast they start. This is true regardless of the length of the podcast and the appearance of an ad doesn’t lead to any noticeable drop-off.

Basically, what this means is podcast audiences are highly engaged, no matter the subject they’re interested in. They’ll spend time focussing on content and aren’t disturbed by the appearance of advertising. Most importantly they’re a group – millennials – advertisers have a hard time engaging.

That doesn’t mean you can clog up a popular podcast with advertising. Audiences won’t put up with constant interruptions. What you can do is construct the right message to fit in with the flow of the podcast, knowing it’s more than likely to be heard and remembered.

Tim Colman is editorial director at the Singapore-based content marketing agency Click2View – a version of this article was first published here

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