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  • Writer's pictureRanieri & Co.

2022 Podcast Trends To Be Aware Of

2021 was the biggest year ever for podcasts, with the number of distinct podcast users aged 15-44 on Spotify growing by +34% YoY.

2022 is set to hit even higher levels of penetration and success, as the industry gets bigger and bolder. We look at seven emerging trends for the industry this year and what this means for advertisers and brand partnerships.

1. 360 and Immersive Soundscape in Podcast Ads

As audio technology gets more sophisticated, more options to develop stand-out audio experiences emerge. Immersive audio experiences can be found in the cinema, computer games, Interactive VR and 360° video, and even amusement park rides. Now it has been adopted with YouTube and Facebook 360 video and for podcasts.

As podcasts are an audio-only, screenless experience, the impact of immersive soundscapes is more powerful.

One example is Tourism New Zealand’s 360 audio ad. The aim was to take Australian audiences simply imagining their dream trip to New Zealand, and move them into planning, booking, and making it a reality. This one in particular was produced by Creative Fix, you can listen to it here (stick your headphones in for full effect!) We predict that more and more brands will embrace this technology to stand out from the pack, and for heightened brand recall.

2. Live Audio on Social Platforms

Clubhouse launched last year, forging the way for other live audio apps to develop and blossom and putting a spotlight on the social/interactive potential of audio.

As social platforms such as Facebook, Instagram and Twitter innovate to stay relevant and useful to their users, they are turning to audio to diversify their offerings. Following the introduction of Twitter Spaces last year (the ability to have live audio conversations),

Facebook are rolling out a “Soundbites” platform which will feature short form audio, in snackable format (under 5 mins.) This will be an interesting way for creators and users to record and broadcast personal anecdotes, jokes, tips etc - and potentially a new space for brands to advertise.

This style of audio format indicates a wider podcast industry trend - shorter form audio content. Whilst a long-form immersive experience is one of the drawcards of podcasts, short form audio will allow us to squeeze in even more listening time into our busy lives and has appeal for those with a shorter attention span. It will be exciting to see how the social giants compete to lead the movement.

3. Podcast Hosts as Influencers/Marketing Tools

The host of a podcast is often its main major selling point. Some are hosted by established celebrities (like Russell Brand’s Under The Skin) and some turn the relatively unknown hosts into celebrities/influencers, as the podcast becomes popular. The intimate relationship that forms between listener and host means that hosts are in a unique position to provide trusted product/service recommendations. Host-read podcast ads achieve 72% brand recall, compared with 62% for non-host-read ads. Additionally, host-read ads on podcasts produce an average of 50% increase in purchase and recommendation intent among listeners when compared against non-host-read ads.(Neilson)

Furthermore, social media influencers are beginning to capitalise on the extra engagement that podcasts offer and are extending their offering to the audio world by launching podcasts. Examples of this locally include The Uninspired Unemployed.

4. TV Streaming turns to Audio?

With the content crunch, Netflix, Stan and other media streaming services will face over the coming years, they will need new ideas that have a proven concept to broaden their engaged audience and offer an edge over competitors.

Our Sales Manager Zach Kangelaris predicts “The format of these podcasts lends itself nicely and easily adapts to the small screen in particular as episodic content is the nature of what podcasts are built on.” Imagine watching an episode of Succession in the evening, then seamlessly being prompted to listen to the podcast that discusses the episode on your way to work the next day. Audiences love to go deeper on their favorite shows and podcasts offer a unique and immersive way to do this.

5. More Branded Content

Although many brands have had great success with podcast advertising, the medium is still relatively under-utilised, compared to the ad spend given to social media, radio and outdoor media. As podcast listenership grows, more brands will dip their toe into the industry. As a knock-on effect, we’re getting more and more requests for branded content on podcasts. With more financial support, podcast quality can grow and experiment, resulting in even more brands wanting in on the action. Provided this is done well, it's win-win-win for the listener, podcast producer and brand.

78% of podcast listeners have said that they don’t mind hearing ads on their stream, providing a warm and receptive audience and a less jarring ad experience than a banner ad.

6. More Aussie-made Content

The Aussie podcast scene is going from strength to strength, with local talent such as Shameless, co-hosted by Melbourne journos Zara McDonald and Michelle Andrews, frequently drawing impressive listening figures and conversation online.

The Infinite Dial study from Edison Research revealed that the average time spent listening to online audio was over 12 hours per week for Australians. This kind of demand and industry growth points to more and more radio stars making the move to podcasting (such as the Byron Cooke Show) and the general quality and quantity of Aussie podcasts gaining traction in 2022.

Responding to this trend, we are proud to announce that Ranieri and Co. will be releasing two original, locally produced podcasts this year. Co-founder Nick Randall explains: “Both feature amazing up and coming talent and both have expert story tellers at the helm as EP's.”

The first is Motherlode, a historical investigative podcast about early computer hacking in Australia and its evolution during the past three decades. Episodes 1, 2, 3 & 4 are out now on most places you listen to podcasts.

Coming very soon, The Long Haul is a brand new podcast from Ranieri & Co. and Headline Productions Australia that goes beyond the bright lights and cheering crowds, into the culture of elite sport in Australia. Hear more about it from Creative Director Simon Portus and Executive Producer Liz Keen.

2022 is predicted to be huge for podcasts, with the industry hitting $1 billion in net worth. Contact us anytime to learn more, it’s easier than ever to harness the power of this highly effective medium.


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