Podcasting: Edison Research Shows Significant Popularity Increase

Recent research by the Edison Research Group shows that the popularity of Podcasting is growing steadily, and may offer significant exposure and public relations opportunities for companies. Until a few years ago, the perception used to be that podcasts were the bottom rung of the broadcasting ladder, reserved for wanna-be hopefuls who weren’t considered good enough to be included on mainstream media.

However, the advent of the broadband internet changed the way people consumed digital media.  As podcast producers began to improve production quality, the medium slowly grew in credibility.

In more recent times, the increasing use of social media and smartphones has also contributed to the rise in popularity of the podcasting medium. Recent Edison Research indicates that podcasting popularity continues to climb, and finds that 50% of respondents age 12 and older listened to some online radio in the last week, a rise from 44% last year. With 57% of Americans using online radio monthly, the conversion of monthly to weekly users is now 88%.

Why Podcasting?

Podcasts are on-demand digital audio broadcasts produced to allow an audience to listen to information on the go. Despite being easily portable and providing opportunities to reach out to a highly-engaged audience, many business owners overlook the medium as a viable marketing channel.

Statistics indicate that people who subscribe to podcast networks or outlets are more likely to use a smartphone as their primary podcast player.  In 2014, the majority of podcasts were accessed via a computer, which tended to restrict consumption opportunities. However, by 2016, a staggering 64% of podcasts were listened to on a smartphone or tablet.

The ability to stream a podcast via a smartphone while driving to work or sitting on the train provides a level of convenience many people prefer. It also provides an easy way to stay up-to-date with information without the need to be in front of a computer.

The same research also revealed that the primary audience for podcasts are people aged between 18 and 54, with a slightly larger percentage of males than females. People who consume podcasts on a weekly basis are also more likely to listen to an average of five podcasts in each week.

To further highlight just how integral podcasting can be for any publisher, a report released by Edison Research revealed that 27 million Americans listened to at least one podcast each week in 2016.

Advantages of Podcasts for Marketing

Any business owner or magazine publisher who may have shied away from podcasting in the past should reconsider their aversion to the format. Adding podcasting to your marketing arsenal offers the potential to expand your audience reach and build brand credibility in many ways.

Monetization: Brendan Monaghan, general manager of Slate says “CPMs in podcasting rival, if not exceed, video, so it’s a great place to be from a monetization standpoint.” A growing number of business owners will pay advertising fees to have their marketing message featured on a favorite podcast.

Target Audience: People who subscribe to podcasts tend to trust the announcer’s recommendations. Having your marketing message broadcast as an ad through a popular podcast could mean gaining access to an engaged audience that may otherwise have been out of reach.

Affordable: Advertising on a show with a large subscriber base offers a relatively inexpensive marketing opportunity to reach a targeted market, especially compared with traditional marketing costs associated with radio or TV advertising.

Brand recognition: There are also opportunities on the other side of the marketing coin. It’s possible to build recognition as an authority in any field through the use of podcast interviews that can be broadcast on news outlets or industry bloggers.

Hidden marketing messages: It’s possible to disguise what may be a promotional copy as part of a genuine conversation throughout a podcast interview. For those marketers who don’t want advertising to appear like a blatant promotional copy, the opportunity exists to include hidden marketing conversations that still get the message across.

Easy distribution:  Podcasts are easy to distribute to a broad audience. There are plenty of distribution websites on the internet that allows you to distribute your podcasts, including iTunes, Spotify, and Podcast.net.

While it’s apparent that podcast listening has grown significantly in the past decade, it still hasn’t peaked yet. Harnessing the power of podcasting increases a business’s brand exposure, and also offers the opportunity to generate a legion of loyal followers.

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