15/09/2019

Podcast Fever: Why are listeners tuning in more frequently than ever?

How do you tell if podcasts are today’s go-to medium for brands and businesses? When cats have their own– a whole 30 minutes of them just purring. No joke.

As of current, there are about 700,000 (not just of cats) active podcasts, with some 29 million episodes altogether! This is an increase from 550,000 and 18.5 million, respectively just last year. Local English newspaper, The Straits Times, reported that it’s home podcast together with The Business Times saw a growth of 300% in downloads since its first launch back in March 2018. The article also highlighted local Malay-language podcast, OKLETSGO, whose listeners tripled in a matter of six months! Talk about an evident rise.

Podcasts, or also known as audio blogging, have been around for more than a decade. The concept sees two or more individuals discussing specific topics, sharing their thoughts and opinions. Coupled with influencers and YouTube content creators, the likes of Gary Vee, Casey Neistat, Alisha Marie and Remi Ashten adding podcast onto their credentials, brands have also begun flocking the platform. 

They say businesses go where the demand calls, so why are consumers more into podcasts these days? And is the platform worth considering for your brand?

YOU CAN LISTEN TO WHAT YOU WANT ANYTIME, ANYWHERE 

With podcasts being available on our phones, cue Spotify and iTunes, seeking information and entertainment has never been more convenient. It is like the Netflix of audio. And the fact that it only requires listening, this makes information easier to consume than when you have to read and interpret text yourself. 

Or even when compared to watching videos for that matter. With videos, there is always the need to fix the eyes on the screen. Have you ever turned on a YouTube video and multi-task with something else? There is just that urge of needing to glance at the screen to see what is the next scene because deep down you are concerned that you will miss something exciting. 

The format of having a conversation on podcast enables topics to be thoroughly discussed for the listener, creating a deeper engagement between the receiver and the content. Brands are collaborating with podcasts for their ad campaigns because it is one of the ways to really connect with the audience. 

Sephora released a new range of 40-shades long-lasting lipstick back in 2017. They collaborated with Girlboss Radio on a podcast campaign and featured conversations with inspiring women.

Back in the day when podcasts were not popular, people most likely have their favourite DJ or radio station, especially for a particular segment. Unlike radio though, the content on podcasts are more niche, specifically in different categories. So why would we not listen to content that actually interest us? With podcasts, listeners are able to pick and choose topics of their interests without having to follow a particular schedule. Even that itself is a valid enough reason why people are getting on the medium – merely living from being given that freedom of choice, at their preferred timing. 

HELLO, ALEXA

The convenience of listening to a podcast continues with the proliferation of voice search. You wake up in the morning and Alexa greets you with the morning news. You get in your car and a word call gets Siri busy finding the episode of the podcast where you last left. 

This format suits the current busy lifestyle of many who are constantly on the go. Getting educated or entertained has never been this convenient – whether we are in the midst of commuting, getting ready for the day, or even handling a crying toddler – the hands-free sharing of information that is readily available with digital assistants makes it all the more irresistible as we continue to be reliant on technology. 

PART OF A COMMUNITY

In our article on brands finding a spot in the digital space, we highlighted the view of marketing expert, Bianca Bass on how consumers are ‘no longer looking at products, but better versions of themselves’. That usually means being able to resonate with a brand or one that they would not mind being associated with. The kind of participation that comes with believing in a brand normally leads to the formation of a community – something that brands are currently more aware of and recommended to achieve for the benefit of the business’ progress.

With podcast being a platform of niche conversations, its content almost seems personalised for the listener. When they subscribe to the podcast series, they are technically subscribed to a like-minded community of listeners. 

Content creator, Aida Azlin, is known for her free motivational weekly newsletters subscribed by over 60,000 women all over the world, as well as her YouTube videos of which some had gone viral. When she launched her podcast, In Good Company earlier this year, as part of a bigger and more exclusive content package called AA Plus, it came with a minimal monthly fee. 

The subscription for AA Plus was only open to the first few hundred. Despite the monthly fee, Aida Azlin continues to receive requests from women of their interest to subscribe to the program even after registrations were closed. This is when you know the community with a brand is solid.

One of the ways that led to the building of the community is the existence of an official Facebook page that provides her subscribers with a platform to share their reflection from the content that was shared. It of course, in return, becomes a room for discussion, thus strengthening the bond of the community.

TO PODCAST OR NOT TO PODCAST

The attraction to podcasts for creators and why they are conveniently meeting demands of listeners is because it does not cost much to produce a podcast. Literally anyone could come up with one. All that you would most likely need is an audio recorder and a place to upload. And considering the “informal” style of podcast, many who have started were initially inspired by conversations they have with their friends.

Podcast works best when you know what you are searching for – be it the content, personality or brand – because then you will know where to begin. Your SEO is important in this regard.

An example of a video recorded podcast. Source: YouTube (DOPStv)


That said, despite the rising popularity of podcasts, data still shows that audio is still poor in comparison to video when it comes to digital advertising. The revenue for audio is measured in hundreds of millions, compared to video that is in the billions. One of the ways businesses deal with this is by recording their podcast session and using the clips as promotional materials, or simply as an additional perspective to the podcast with the entire video.

It is also important to note that since podcasts require listening, the host has to be of someone with an expressive tone of voice. There is nothing like the ‘ultimate snore-fest’ when listening to a monotonous voice talking about the latest Hollywood gossip, for example. 

Are you itching to consider podcast for your brand? Drop us a line at talktous@wearebeknown, and we’ll help you to analyse if your brand’s position could use the presence of a podcast. Alternatively, sign up for our newsletter at wearebeknown.com for the latest digital insights!

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