Liam Daly, group sales lead, Acast AUNZ
One of my first questions to clients is almost always: “What podcast are you listening to at the moment?” While the answers are mixed, overwhelmingly people reply that they’re listening to a huge variety.
What’s even better is when clients talk about their favourite podcasts with such authority and passion. They really connect with the content they listen to, and it’s great to be in a medium that incites such enthusiasm.
Podcasting is booming, and has cemented the role it plays in everyday life for so many Australians. For me, that means tuning into The Squiz first thing in the morning for my daily news fix, How I Work on the bus to work for productivity tips and tricks, and winding down in the evening to either That Peter Crouch Podcast or Top Flight Time Machine.
We’ve all witnessed the phenomenal growth of the podcast industry over the past few years, particularly during 2020. I think there was some concern over whether or not the audience would stick around when the world started to open back up, but it’s clear that podcasting is here to stay — and so are the engaged listeners.
There’s huge social currency in podcasting. People are now recommending podcasts to each other the way they do books, movies, TV and more, so it’s no surprise that podcasting in Australia is growing so quickly. Podcasts now reach nine million Australians (37% of the population), which is a 54% year-on-year increase in listening.
Released in April, the latest Infinite Dial Australia report from Edison Research was fielded in the first quarter of 2021 and reflects the current state of streaming audio, following the disruptions from the Covid-19 global pandemic.
It found that Aussies are choosing to listen to podcasts more than ever, and that’s naturally affecting the time people spend listening to other audio channels. 59% of people are listening to podcasts in their car — traditionally a stronghold for radio — while 24% listen at the gym or while they work out, which has previously been music streaming territory.
In January of this year, we also conducted the biggest podcast-specific research piece in Australia to date, at a time that covered the audio behaviours of Aussies through various state-based lockdowns and subsequently when these restrictions were lifted. The Acast Sounds Smart Report took a deep dive into the Australian podcast landscape and the people listening, while we also sought to understand how valuable that audience is for advertisers.
The answer, in short, is that it’s extremely valuable. This got me thinking: why aren’t more advertisers tuning in, when the proof really is in the podcast?
The media industry is going through a battle for consumers' attention, but you can rest assured in podcasting that you’re not having to fight for it in the same way.
According to our study, the majority of people (88%) actively reduce distractions before they start listening to a podcast — and that includes the ads. Unlike on many other mediums, podcast ads require no additional input from users like scrolling, clicking, or even moving your eyes — factors that cause friction and render ads less effective.
Listeners’ trust in the host or show they’re consuming is another benefit. Host-read ads, for example, speak to listeners in the same voice and manner they’re hearing throughout an episode. They provide a seamless shift from editorial to commercial and back.
And it’s clear this recipe is successful, not just in terms of attention and engagement but also in driving consumers to take action. We found that brand awareness improved for 77% of people after they heard a podcast ad, while 25% looked for more information and 24% noticed the brand next time they were in store.
When I asked Alastair Coysh, Planning Director at OMD about his experience with podcast advertising, he said: “The power of in-ear audio, and the lean-in experience, lends itself to being a premium ad platform for brands. As the scale has taken off, there is a great balance between leveraging talent and host integration with scale and reach across key verticals. It now formulates a solid component to our audio strategy and has a clear role for our clients.
“Planning podcasts will remain important for our clients — there is a clear benefit in the platform that separates it out from broader audio and even audio streaming. The growth of the market only seeks to enhance its appeal.”
It’s never been easier to get into podcast advertising. Don’t just follow the hype, follow the listeners. Like the smart advertisers are.