Is Video Transforming the Podcast Industry?
By Olly Hutson
In our 2023 trends forecast, we featured a premonition from industry insiders that video integration will transform the podcast industry. Video podcasts are booming, with industry giants Spotify and YouTube innovating in this space. How will this help the podcast industry reach new audiences and offer more options for how we consume content? How should podcast hosts and advertisers leverage this trend? Isn’t the whole appeal of a podcast that it is screenless? Can you even call a video podcast a “podcast”? How can advertisers utilise both options? Read on and find out!
Video integration has been part of podcasting for a while now. YouTube accidentally became the biggest platform for podcasts due to its ability to upload long-form content, and then decided to take the medium more seriously. In the US, YouTube has a dedicated podcast page, where users can explore new and popular podcast episodes, shows and creators, as well as recommend podcast content. Now video-first consumers are more likely to discover podcasts, i.e. new audiences from other mediums, increasing discoverability. Similarly, in April 2022, Spotify introduced tools to all their creators in the U.S, Canada, New Zealand, Australia and the UK, allowing them to post video podcasts on the platform, enabling audio-first consumers to have the option to also view their favorite podcast hosts.
The benefits of creating video + audio podcasts
“The social media algorithms push the content far better than the podcast apps”, says Joe Marler, rugby player and video podcast host. Your content has a much better chance of reaching a bigger, wider audience when video content is also created, especially short soundbites.
YouTube claims that 80% of the top watched videos feature hosts on video and there are 2x more views for videos that featured hosts on video compared to those that used a static visualization (YouTube).
2. More monetisation options.
Video creators, like their audio counterparts, can reach millions of people on Spotify and leverage exclusive monetization offerings—including Spotify’s Podcast Subscriptions—to turn video Podcasts into a new source of income. YouTube also offers lucrative opportunities such as their partner program and ad revenue options.
3. An opportunity to deepen/diversify your relationship with your audience.
Podcasts are proven to be the most immersive platform, with over 90% of listeners tuning into most or all of the 45m+ episode, screenlessly. However, these listeners often also consume video content and seeing their favorite hosts in the flesh can allow more intimacy with the audience. It also benefits accessibility through body language and lip reading, and allows podcasters to get extra creative with visual storytelling elements.
4. Reach people at different times in their day.
People love to multitask whilst listening to podcasts. 49% of podcast listening happens at home, 22% happens while driving, 11% at work, and 8% while exercising (Buzzsprout). Video is a different consumption moment, happening throughout the day as the consumer scrolls social media or settles in to watch on a laptop or TV via YouTube.
Is adding video missing the point of podcasts?
There are some industry members who see the rise of video podcast integration as a risk to ruining what made the audio format so satisfying. Jake Warren, CEO and founder of podcast company Message Heard, says that splitting audiences across different mediums is commercially risky. Warren stresses that “audio is a special and distinct medium in its own right”, while videography is an entirely different craft.
“I hope we don’t forget the power of audio, just to try to game an algorithm.”
Furthermore, screen fatigue is growing. The most common reasons for a pull back from technology are feeling overwhelmed by sales messages and an overall distrust in social media platforms. Spotify found that one in three respondents said that the reason that they tune into podcasts is because they are screenless. If the major platforms are encouraging podcasters to become videographers, are they cannibalising their skills as broadcasters? Is video shifting the podcast experience fundamentally?
We believe that ultimately, video podcasts give consumers more choice - whether they’re listening on audio-only, watching a video, or even toggling between the two. This is a great thing for the industry, allowing for more personalisation and consumption. Video may not be suited to every podcast and that's ok. Both formats offer great entertainment options in endless scenarios and formats. Imagine starting your day with a run, listening to your favourite podcast on your headphones. You then scroll TikTok on your commute and are greeted with some interesting snippets of other podcasts that you bookmark to listen to at a later date. Your mate shares an IG reel of another podcast that looks interesting. That evening you watch a video podcast on your smart TV. Different experiences that compliment the lean back and lean in appetite for entertainment throughout the day.
How can we leverage both mediums for advertising?
The diversification of podcasts and video also offers more options for advertisers. Will your audience respond more positively to audio ads, in screenless moments? Or will they engage more with a video ad that leaves a lasting impression? Largely, it depends on which medium best fits your objectives and message.
YouTube BrandConnect, is a branded-content platform that connects creators with advertisers, offering video ads read by podcasters. If done correctly, YouTube podcast advertising is effective in getting listeners to spend: YouTube listeners spent an average of $143 on purchases from podcast ads, higher than the industry average of $133 (Forbes). This coupled with audio voice read ads has the possibility for strong brand lift.
52% of podcast listeners proven to trust advertising more if the podcast host endorses the brand (Spotify).
Additionally, YouTube offers Google-only measurement tools like Brand Interest Lift, Influencer Lift, and organic view-through conversion (VTC) rates.
Spotify also offers cross-channel options. They report that standalone format campaigns perform well, but campaigns that combine video with audio see supercharged results. Multiformat campaigns on Spotify can result in a 90% increase in ad recall and 2.2x in brand awareness (Spotify).
So, while both audio and visual formats have their own superpowers, running both formats at once can tell a holistic, impactful story to listeners. Advertisers are already seeing successful results from combining audio visual advertising. Get in touch with us anytime to explore this further.