Frank's Take

Boosting Mid-Market Media Buys Through Uncommon Sense

“Listen Up!” Podcasts Are a Medium Worth Tuning Into!

Laptop and notebook on wooden table with microphone set up for podcast

Here we are, it’s the second quarter of 2021, and big news about podcasts continues to come out. Sony Music Entertainment recently acquired British audio and TV producer, Somethin’ Else to expand their global podcast division and increase their in-house creative production capabilities. Facebook is introducing their own podcast product and allowing their users to house their podcasts directly on their Facebook pages. And who could forget the big news from the end of 2020 when Amazon bought Wondery, to attempt to compete with Spotify in the podcast market.

Podcasts have been in existence since the early 2000’s but it wasn’t until a few years ago that the advertising industry started to figure out that these episodic audio files could be a new medium to advertise on. In 2020, U.S. podcast advertising revenue was more than $843 million dollars, which is a significant increase from where it was just five years ago at only $105 million. According to Statista, this medium is projected to more than double the 2020 advertising spend in just a couple of short years.

Their popularity has been growing, and of course like OTT and streaming services, the pandemic helped to put a spotlight on just how great podcasts are. But I could have told you podcast usage was going to increase and that advertising opportunities in this medium were more than just a fluke.

More than half a dozen years ago, my agency started to investigate and become as knowledgeable on podcasts, the advertising opportunities and what they would offer to our regional clientele.  We even attended a weeklong podcasting summit a few years back to ensure that we were staying on top of the new marketing opportunities that were coming from this auditory medium.

Over the last five years, the number of companies that have a leg in the podcast race has certainly grown. You probably know the big players like; iHeart, Spotify, and Apple but it’s more important to know the companies involved in the advertising. These are companies that have the information on targeting and offer tracking capabilities. Look to services like AudioGo and PodKatz to utilize their network advertising reach. They offer targeting capabilities like, geo and demo as well as impression reporting similar to digital advertising.

It’s also important to know the different ways podcasts lend themselves to advertising. There are audio ads, like pre, mid, and post-roll, host reads (that can be done live or prerecorded), custom segments which offer the opportunity to highlight a brand or product, or hosts endorsements.

For my clients, I always start with listing their overall objectives and goals, their time frame and what investment level they can make to achieve their goals. Podcast advertising choices vary significantly in price and availability, but in the end, if it falls into the mix, it’s about choosing the best options that will get the best return on their investment.

But keep in mind, like with any advertising, there isn’t a one size fits all or a magic pill. Podcast advertising has increased in its opportunities and choices, but it works best when paired with additional mediums to create a well-rounded advertising program.

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