The Growing Phenomenon of Podcasting

by Paul McDonald | Jan 15, 2021 | Media

Although podcasting represents only 6% of total “share of ear” listening, it is one of the fastest growing media right now. Media companies are scrambling to create their own podcast divisions and advertisers are taking more notice than ever before. What’s behind this phenomenon?

Part of it, of course, is the current state of our world, with many still dealing with lifestyle adjustments due to the pandemic. But part of it is also due to the very nature of podcasting. Studies are being conducted to understand what makes some podcasts so attractive, while other studies are delving into how best to capitalize on their growing popularity.

In a recent survey, a majority of listeners said podcast listening gave them a break from the “negativity” of other media. News podcasts are very popular, due to the coronavirus and the recent election. They have a different “feel” than television news because they do not encourage the listener to just passively listen. Shows are “narrative” in the sense that they have interviews relying on a strong narrative to explain the news. Other news shows create different “textures” with interviews, man on the street, even dramas or music.

In that same survey, two-thirds of the respondents said that listening to a podcast made them feel less lonely. Another survey, focusing on young adults, found that one of the most engaging elements, according to 71% of Generation Z and 51% of Millennials, is the unscripted nature of the podcast. It has been suggested that it therefore feels more authentic and works to develop a friend-like connection. In fact, 83% of the respondents said they felt like their favorite podcasters were like their friends.

One of the researchers had this comment to make, “Podcasting has become the greatest companion medium because you can listen to a podcast and it can be a friend. Now is a good time to be friends with our listeners and make them feel like they are part of a community, and not an audience.”

There are also many who are conducting research in order to monetize podcasts, including companies like Nielsen, who recently unveiled their Podcast Buying Power Service. Their data show a 20% growth in podcasts year to year since 2014, which is projected to double by 2023, much of the growth due to the 25-44 age group. In the 25-34 age group, nearly 30% listen to podcasts.

According to the Nielsen data, host-read ads drove 71% higher recall, 60% greater intent to seek information about the product advertised, 50% more purchase intent, and 50% higher recommendation intent than other types of ads.

Other studies concur with this data. Another study showed live reads are 2 times more effective at driving response than pre-recorded spots. A study by Edison Research found that those who avoid ads, the “unreachables” as they are often called, seem to like live-read ads and those that feature a personalized discussion of the product. But they also seem willing to listen to pre-recorded ads. Unreachables represent about 12% of the respondents to the survey.

Another study found that dynamically inserted ads did well in certain categories, like sports, retail, and credit cards. Dynamically inserted ads are pre-recorded ads that are placed in the program at the time of its download rather than “baked in,” as the live reads are.

As more data is becoming available, more advertisers are noticing. In a recent survey, 36% of advertisers surveyed said that they believe podcast advertising has become more effective in 2020, while an additional 35% felt they were just as effective as previous years. And that number will only increase in the future.

If you had not thought about podcasting before, now might be a great time to consider starting your podcast. And, if you’ve never considered advertising on a podcast before, now is the time to begin to look at that option in your media mix as well.

Let Infinity Concepts help you with all your podcasting and podcast advertising needs.
CLICK HERE or call us today at 724-733-1200.

Paul McDonald
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