This summer, I had found myself in a very systematic, tight schedule in order to get dressed, pack my bag, make a lunch, etc. before work. Every morning my roommates and I would leave at 7:30AM to Cleveland Circle T stop to catch a seat for our commute. On our walk, we would catch up small talk, gossip, and whatever else was going on that week. But as soon as we got to our seats on the T, we kind of slowly stopped talking and put our headphones in. For the first part of my summer, I would listen to some Spotify playlists and jam out to the latest Top Hits. After a while, it got pretty boring. I would listen to the same stuff and trust me, even with time, “Look at What You Made Me Do” doesn’t get better. Taylor….
So, I asked some of my commuter friends for recommendations and to my surprise, they all had started listening to podcasts. I was really caught off guard because I had this stereotype in my head that podcasts are boring and not very entertaining. But I found that the podcasts they were listening to be hilarious, informing, and very enjoyable. Some friends listened to Guys We’ve F****d, others listened to This American Life, and Serial is a fan favorite. When they had told me about their new form of entertainment, I took to researching and what I found may not surprise you, but it definitely surprised me.
According to the Podcastinsights.com, the Nielson Report and Edison Research report broke down how podcasts are taking over the audio industry and the people this form of audio entertainment attracts. Here is a wicked cool infographic that they shared:
Some of the most surprising statistics to me was that 50% of US houses are “podcast fans.” Podcast loyalists subscribe to 5 shows on average per week. 5! And that 51% of podcast listening is done in listeners’ homes, while only 22% are done while driving/in a vehicle. The most impressive statistic to me is definitely that 65% of monthly podcast listeners have only been listening to podcasts for less than 3 years! That is an incredible statistic when thinking of exponential growth!
Because of this growth, I was curious about where I could find these podcasts and how there was a lot of potential for many platforms to compete over this growing market. Of course, there is the Podcast App within Apple Products. But there is a list of others that have gained great popularity and high ratings in user reviews: Overcast, Pocket Casts, Castro, and Spotify.
Diving into a new side to my Spotify interface, I looked into Podcasts that I might be interested in. Conveniently broken down into genres, just like the music, I found it very easy to browse.
I fished through the Lifestyle genre, clicked on a couple, started listening to some but honestly, I turned them off because I found some of the personalities very annoying or frustrating. It really has to be a good fit if you will only be listening to certain voices for good amounts of time ranging from 30 to 60 minute+ episodes. It also has to be a topic that you are genuinely interested by and find beneficial. Frustrated, I kept searching for the podcast that I was hoping to find in order to turn my drab commutes into ~fab~ ones, well as much as morning commutes on the Green Line could be…
I revisited the Browse page and ended up finding a couple different series offered as recaps of different TV shows or movies. So naturally, I searched for a Game of Thrones podcast. Not surprised, I found PLENTY OF OPTIONS, because I’ve heard GOT fans seem to be obsessed. I am not* speaking from personal experience….
After listening to a couple different series, I found the ~one~… BINGE MODE: Game of Thornes. Advertised on Spotify: “Deep-dive into each and every episode of Game of Thrones by binge-watching and listening alongside The Ringer’s experts, Mallory Rubin and Jason Concepcion. Listen as the parse the theories, history, characters, and themes that enrich one of the defining stories of our time.” I immediately subscribed/followed to the podcast and would listen to each episode as soon as it became available, just a couple days after Sunday night’s premiere. I found it entertaining, funny, useful to my GOT obsession, and it really helped me dive deeper into my understanding of the episode. I use their theories and fun facts all the time with my GOT watching friends.
As it enabled my fixation on this incredible series (if I haven’t sold you yet check this out), I started analyzing the podcast itself. Two co-hosts, only a little-bit obnoxious, somewhat funny. Another great aspect of podcast on top of the topic was that we spent the majority, if not 98% of the podcast, talking about the content. Episodes ranging from an hour to almost two hours you’d expect advertisements quite often, but in reality, there were only a few and very short advertisements that weren’t a “stranger’s” voice. It was Mallory’s, the co-host, voice which wasn’t as invasive or annoying. Of course, the podcast has to make money with at least one sponsor, but the messaging was relevant to the podcast, it was calming, and felt like a friend sharing some insight into a product they really like rather than a random advertiser working off of commission!
For example, here is one advertisement: “Binge Mode is brought to you by DirectTV Now. Live stream your favorite channels virtually on any device, plus you can subscribe to HBO and you can start watching Game of Thrones, today.”
Another example, “Alright guys we’re going to take a quick break to hear from one of our sponsors: Blue Apron is the number one fresh ingredient and recipe delivery service in the country….” Jason and Mallory go on to tell us the positive experiences they’ve had and why they love Blue Apron. Again, it seems like a friend is letting you know about these awesome products.
Not only do listeners see value in this form of advertisement, marketers do too. This article from The Atlantic does a great job breaking down the audiences companies hope to attract through podcasts. Podcast listeners are not afraid of trying something new, and they are tech-savvy. Therefore, companies like DirectTV Now, Blue Apron, etc. that are selling services or products ideally purchased or used on the internet or go find an incredibly, targeted audience on podcasts. Then marketers can tailor the ad to the specific topic, as you can see with DirectTV Now with talking directly to GOT fans about subscribing to HBO.
Another consequence of these non-invasive ads, is that users build connections with brands. The Atlantic offers this awesome quote that really drives this point home:
As you can see, there are plenty of different reasons why companies should consider advertising podcasts, but there are also plenty of reasons users should start using podcasts as a way of entertainment. This continually rising new audio form is taking storm and seems like a win-win for both users and marketers.
*Okay clearly, I am obsessed.