PODCASTS & THE EVOLUTION OF AUDIO ADVERTISING
They’ve been around since the early 2000s, but in the past couple of years, podcasts really started resonate with listeners and the advertisers looking to reach their much-desired audiences.
Though the technology that carries sound from a studio to your ears is vastly different, podcasts have tapped into many things that traditional radio has been able to do successfully for years — notably, talent reads.
What’s that, you ask?
A talent read is a paid advertisement done live on the air (or pre-recorded to sound live) that presents a message in a more conversational way than a highly produced commercial. And, if you’re looking to tie your brand to a celebrity, a podcast talent read can be far more economical.
An example: Comedian Adam Carolla. If you contact his talent agency and inquire about hiring him to be a spokesman for your product, it could cost a vast fortune.
But there’s an alternative.
Adam hosts several podcasts, the topics of which vary to anything and everything on his flagship show, to automotive endeavors on another, and even home improvement on another. There are multiple options, multiple prices, and with all of them, you can have Adam do a talent read, opening up a potentially whole new list of potential customers, on any of his podcasts. Going down this route still connects your brand to the celebrity and brings with it all of the perks of a third-party endorsement from someone the listeners admire.
Unlike their terrestrial radio predecessors, podcasting has allowed talent reads to evolve and become evergreen. That means that these spots will be heard as part of the podcast, even when it is accessed at a later date from the archives. This is a distinct advantage over radio, where, once you’ve heard the ad, it’s gone forever.
Podcasting is here to stay and, should there be any question to its relevance, note that President Obama was a special guest on Marc Maron’s WTF Podcast in 2015. Now that we are down to the wire for the upcoming election, I’ve noticed agency-produced spots for Hillary Clinton are appearing in the pre-roll (before the podcast starts) and post-roll (after the podcast ends) of select podcasts. Her camp realizes it would be a huge mistake to not tap into podcast audiences, as they continue to grow.
What’s more, the audiences aren’t just getting bigger, they’re being filled with desirable customers. Podcasts, in many instances, attract more affluent listeners with more disposable income. In a study done earlier this year by Nielsen Scarborough, they identified that podcast listeners are evenly split between males and females, with about 70 percent of them falling in the coveted 18-44 demographic. The study also found podcast listeners to be 44 percent more likely to have graduated college, and 33 percent more likely to be employed in a white-collar occupation. The most enticing thing, for many advertisers, is that the study found podcast listeners in this study to have an average household income of $83,700, exceeding the national average by about $12,000.
The ‘Old School’ is listening.
Even companies that have rich histories in terrestrial radio are now entering the podcasting ring, furthering its legitimacy. IHeartMedia (formerly Clear Channel Radio) announced this fall that it will be teaming up with Advertising Age to launch a podcast focused on the marketing community. IHeart is savvy enough to realize that much like streaming radio, podcasting is another permutation of audio advertising, and a very profitable one.
Podcasting is an excellent vehicle to associate your brand with another reputable brand, like NPR or WNYC, or certain hosts who are popular on multiple media platforms (Adam Carolla, Joe Rogan, Steve Austin, Alec Baldwin, etc.), while reaching a more educated, affluent consumer with more disposable income.