Creativity is fueling podcast advertising in Australia

Acast AUNZ creative and strategy lead Tom Roach
By Acast AUNZ creative and strategy lead Tom Roach | 9 November 2021
Tom Roach

Since I started at Acast last year, we’ve been searching for creative mavericks — brands with the creative ambition to take advantage of the blank canvas that podcast advertising offers. And, in 2021, we’ve started to unearth them.

Podcast advertising is having its creative moment in Australia.

In its short history, the best podcast ads have tended to be host reads, where the well-known, trusted voices of the show speak about a product or service in their own unique style. And there’s a reason host-read ads are still seen as the bee’s knees: They work. Really well.

In our 2021 Sounds Smart Report, which took a deep dive into the Australian podcast landscape, we found that Aussies are hugely receptive to ads within this environment. Listeners say they’re more aware of brands they’ve heard advertised on podcasts (77%), they take action after hearing an ad (25%), and they’re more likely to recognise a brand in future (24%).

According to Nielsen’s Podcasting Today report, host-read ads drive a brand recall rate of 71%, and I’ve written previously about the effectiveness of podcast advertising.

Put simply, host reads are great. But, as many brands are discovering, there’s so much more you can do with podcasts — and, from branded podcasts to Sponsored Stories, the best podcast ads are fueled by creativity.

Branded podcasts make their mark

In October, Acast launched two new branded podcasts in Australia: Rule Benders with Samsung Galaxy, and Make it Count with Bendigo Bank.

Rule Benders is a six-episode branded podcast campaign that features conversations with extraordinary Australians who have bent the rules, defied convention, and redefined what is possible, and forms part of the wider marketing campaign for Samsung's latest foldable smartphone range.

Make it Count with Bendigo Bank is hosted by Kate and Mandy from Too Peas in a Podcast, who chat to the experts and break down family finances for parents. Kate and Mandy discuss everything from pocket money to growing pains, and share practical ways to ensure families are looked after now and in the future.

Hayley Walton, head of brand marketing, mobile division, Samsung Electronics Australia, said: “Our first branded podcast series will help engage audiences on a deeper level and help them to connect with Samsung in a way we’ve not achieved before.”

Unlike regular ads and sponsorships, branded podcasts allow brands to start their own conversations, and develop a space where they can build connections with new audiences. And those audiences are highly engaged: According to our Sounds Smart research, 78% of Australian listeners say they dedicate their full attention to podcast content.

These newly launched shows are more proof that brands are starting to realise the power of podcasting, but it’s a far from saturated space — especially in Australia. There are countless opportunities for brands of all shapes and sizes to step up and create podcasts that connect with consumers.

Acast’s Sponsored Stories

Sponsored Stories is an Acast Creative execution that allows brands — and podcasters — to be more flexible and adventurous when it comes to advertising. The focus is on longer-form storytelling, taking traditional sponsorship reads further and giving brands a greater share of voice within ad breaks.

A recent campaign that truly realised the creative potential of Sponsored Stories was Belong’s “A Love Song to the Internet”. Belong partnered with those lovely creators from Too Peas, Kate and Mandy (we like to keep them busy), and the results really do speak for themselves.

It’s not too often ads are publicly praised by their target audience, but Kate and Mandy’s Facebook community was abuzz. Here are a couple of comments from listeners:

“You’ve made a clever choice partnering with Kate and Mandy! They are so authentic and great women doing important work.”

“I love that ad! Was humming along to it, went to Shazam it and then realised what it was. So very catchy!”

Kelly Schulz, head of brand, communications and culture at Belong, added: “A Love Song to the Internet is about celebrating the joyful and unexpected wormholes of the internet, and there’s no better place for it than within podcasts. The podcasts we chose to partner with share our values of belonging and inclusion, but also don’t take themselves too seriously. The feedback and discussion among engaged listeners proved that a long format ad is welcomed if it has entertainment value and hits the right notes.”

Podcasting has long been seen as a creative medium in its own right, but advertisers are catching on — and podcast campaigns are no longer seen as a “nice to have” on their media plans.

We’re continually exploring what more we can do for our clients in podcasting — it’s a creative challenge that gets us out of bed in the morning. What can I say? We love the smell of podcasting in the morning.

The beauty is that our clients have joined this journey with us this year, pushing the boundaries when it comes to impactful podcast ideas and campaigns. We couldn’t be prouder of the work we’ve done together, and I know there’s much more to come.

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