Asia is catching up fast. While the podcast business models of the US, Europe and Australia are more advanced than Asia, you cannot ignore Asia historical ability to copy outside markets and make them better.
Add to this 2 macro trends that make Asia one of the most exciting podcast markets in the world: 1) Half the world’s population and 2) 2/3 of the world’s middle class will be living in Asia by 2030 (a combined market value of $30 trillion or 2x the size of the US economy today.
As a media play, the podcast numbers in advanced markets like the US add up. 100 million regular listeners, many of which engage at a much deeper level than simply grazing on video or social media content. That’s 100 million listeners potentially consuming 30 minutes up to 3 hours of content.
While Facebook and Google still outrank as advertising options, the developing business case for podcasts shows that this communications channel can offer a lot more than simply building awareness.
Traditional media has long been the domain of white, middle aged males. Podcasting, however, is showing signs of a more accessible and democratized communications channel. Young women as both an audience and podcast producers are growing in number.
Communications trends driven by young females are often harbingers of more global macro trends. Young women were key to the development and adoption of early communication technologies including mobile messaging and social media.
Media, tech and communications players are all keen to own a stake in the next wave of Podcasts. Spotify played its hand with the acquisition of Gimlet and Anchor in 2018. Since then, key players such as Apple have been quick to consolidate their podcast offerings.
While much of market investment has focused on podcasting as a media play, we believe the next wave lies in podcasts as a communications tool to enable brands. This means going beyond offering advertising real estate to impacting the bottom line of the business.
The challenge facing media owners today is competing against Facebook and Google. FB & GOOG own 50+% of the US ad market. So any new media real estate not owned will interest advertisers.
The good news is that media owners often have a strong base of existing content. Podcasts can extend this content (e.g. articles, magazines, videos) and provide engaging “behind the scenes” narratives that will drive interest deeper into the conversation. That’s why podcasts as a way to create new advertising real estate are quick-wins for traditional media players such as newspapers, TV, magazines and radio.
“Most” people will tell you that they “don’t have time to listen to podcasts” yet podcasts aren’t about “most” people. 44% listen to most of the episode – meaning anywhere between 30 minutes and 3 hours. Most people don’t engage with content that’s not 100% relevant to them, but when it is relevant, they go deep.
Understanding where podcasts fit into your communications strategy starts with positioning the podcast in the same way you position meetings – we discuss this in more depth in the Pikkal Podcast Flywheel. The ROI on 1 meeting can be potentially high. The same with 1 podcast listener, someone who is willing to invest hours of their time to connect with you.
When podcast listeners are actively engaged in other tasks while tuning in, the engagement levels in brand moments grow by as high as 85%. The most common activities podcast listeners engage in are house chores (61%), relaxing at home (57%), driving (55%), and commuting (54%).
Listeners create implicit associations with the brand based on words they hear in the podcast. Research findings from neuroscience researches found that when the word “innovation” was mentioned 12 times in the podcast, listeners were found more likely to refer to the brand as “innovative.”
Out of a sample group of ad avoiders, branded podcasts beat TV in engagement (27%), memory (22%), and emotional intensity (23%). With the unique and often “personal” connection between podcast hosts and listeners, it makes sense that even the difficult group of ad avoiders show significant increase in interests and emotional investment.
Brand mentions in branded podcasts have an average of 20% higher engagement level than in traditional radio. The intimate and conversational nature of the podcast environment creates an elevated state of engagement for brand mentions. This also drives brand metrics across the board, helping to generate lifts in awareness (↑89%), brand consideration (↑57%), brand favourability (↑24 per cent), and purchase intent (↑14%).