Busting Podcast Industry Myths
As a relatively young, booming industry, there have been some misconceptions and assumptions developed about the podcasting industry. We look at commonly believed myths, from “you can’t measure podcast advertising” (you can) to “people have a short attention span” (they don’t.) Is there any point in creating a new podcast, or is the market over-saturated? Is making a podcast basically free? Have celebrities ruined it for everyone? With Australians aged 12+ spending over 12 hours per week listening to online audio (The Infinite Dial 21), there’s never been a better time to get to the truth of the podcasting world.
MYTH #1 : You can’t measure Podcast ads
This statement isn’t just a myth, it’s a proven barrier, with over 30% of media agencies saying that the “lack of measurement and effectiveness measures'' affects their investment into podcasts (Radio Today.) It is fair to say that historically, as the industry found its feet, there has been a lack of data in podcast advertising, which has been a major issue for the industry. However, with the creation of companies like Podsights & Chartable, podcast ad measurement has never been so robust and will only continue to mature.
It is now possible to gain rich data into podcast advertising including (but not limited to) impressions/downloads, attribution pixel tracking, brand lift, CAC (cost of acquiring a customer) and offline outcomes. Not only is this data available, it is revealing great success and potential in podcast advertising. For example, Neilson has revealed that the top 10% of brand lift campaigns tend to have nearly three-quarters of their impressions tied to audio. (Inside Radio.)
MYTH #2 : There are so many podcasts these days, there’s no point making new ones
Whilst it is certainly true that there are a LOT of podcasts out there (over 2million shows with over 78 million episodes and growing daily), with a wide variety of topics, this does not mean that there are no more compelling stories to be told. This year, we launched two original podcast series - Motherlode (a historical exploration of computer hacking in Melbourne leading up to Julian Assange) and The Long Haul (looking into the culture of elite sport in Australia).
We learned a lot bringing these podcasts to life, one of the key points being that
as long as the story is a 'new' great story or a completely different take/viewpoint on an existing great story, people will want to listen.
Similar to the film and TV industry, brilliant content will continue to develop with a limitless capacity, tailored to different audiences and moments in time. We can’t wait to listen to fantastic podcasts that haven’t even been thought of yet.
MYTH #3 : People have a short attention span these days
A study by Microsoft concluded that the human attention span has dropped to eight seconds – shrinking nearly 25% in just a few years. Whilst the content economy is highly saturated, especially on social media, content that is highly relevant or entertaining will always hold its audience. We may not want to watch a 30 second ad, but we’re happy to binge a TV show for 4 hours - as long as it's entertaining! 93% of podcast listeners stay tuned for “all, or the majority” of each episode, displaying the medium’s ability to hold attention. (Infinite Dial 21)
A short attention span is often linked to screen fatigue, with Australians spending more of their waking time looking at a screen than eating, commuting, exercising and getting ready for the day combined. This is one of the reasons why podcasts are so popular. Spotify found that one in three respondents said that the reason that they tune into podcasts is because they are screenless.
MYTH #4 : Podcasting is free
Whilst it’s certainly possible to create a podcast using tools that you already have (ie your phone and computer), creating a GOOD, successful podcast takes a large investment in time and money.
Local trail blazing podcasts such as The Mind Muscle Project have dedicated a great deal of their personal energy and effort into their show, with over 900 episodes to date. The team have built up their expertise on fitness and wellbeing, chronicling their experiences starting and running businesses in the fitness industry, whilst building relationships with leaders in the space and bringing them into their podcast for awesome interviews. It’s this dedication and expertise that make established podcasts like this one such a lucrative place for advertisers.
MYTH #5: Celebrities are ruining the podcast industry
The likes of the uber-famous such as Harry and Megan, Oprah and Snoop Dogg show that podcasts have broken into the mainstream. Is this a lazy way to bring in big audiences without the work? Are celebrities overshadowing the hard work of the OG podcasters who have been working hard to organically grow their audiences for years?
We believe that celebrities are NOT negatively impacting the podcast industry - quite the opposite in fact. Who better to make compelling content than people trained, experienced and skilled to entertain? Whilst they may have a shortcut to exposure, the big names bring more and more people to the medium, so the little guys are bound to gain more traction too.
MYTH #6 : Branded Podcasts are boring and basically long ads
Branded podcasts have been around for some time, with varying levels of success. Slack pioneered in the genre creating an entertaining branded podcast that focuses on why people do the jobs they do. Work In Progress first launched in October, 2016 and is still a benchmark case study in seamless and powerful contextual and commercial alignment. It explores the daily complexities facing workers, which ties into the company’s key aims and services. The content isn’t geared at sales conversion, but more around building brand personality and adding value. It’s success demonstrates that a branded podcast can be very entertaining and appealing, if done right.
We hope that you now have a clearer picture of the podcast industry without the myths and rumors. As more and more people tune into podcasts, more opportunities for brands to reach their perfect audience emerge. Get in touch with us anytime to explore this further.