In an earlier article, we tried to point out the benefits of podcasts as a way to keep you up to date and entertained. From a consumer standpoint there is no way of denying that, as most of the casts are convenient, free of charge and super-easy to acquire. However, podcasts can be interesting for your company as well – as a platform to advertise your products and services or to tell a story about yourself, your company and your ideas.
While the medium cannot deliver the huge range of consumers that big websites, TV-shows or magazines have, it holds a very special, well-defined group of peers with many benefits. A major trait here is the loyalty of the listeners. Research shows, that pretty much all of the podcast listeners will consume 100% of the available episodes and they will do this relatively close to the respective release date. The website whypodcasts.org calls podcast listeners “the doggies of the audience world. Loyal, supportive, always happy to see you and would save your life if you were drowning.”
This loyalty results in a special friendship-like relationship with the podcaster, although one-sided, of course. During only a couple of episodes, the listener has gathered a variety of information about the podcaster and can use it to create a virtual entity in his mind – the illusion of ‘really knowing’ someone, you have never met. The fact that the listener keeps on listening to the cast underlines that he seems to like that made-up persona and every new episode adds up to this relationship. As a result, listeners will trust the podcasters recommendations and are more likely to make a purchase based on advertisement in their favourite show.
In addition, the audience has a relatively good knowledge of the podcasts subject. If you are representing a tech company for instance, chances are, the listeners of a tech-podcast know your company and its products already. You will be able to advertise more precisely, more in depth – maybe comparable to a trade fair. As is the norm to most of online marketing, the modern tracking tools will give a company a better idea of the advertisements success – more transparent than in the offline world, no doubt.
While most podcasters publish their audio snippets via a personal blog site, they are normally inclined to serve other media channels as well. Social media plays a big role in podcasting, as it is the preferred way of staying in touch with the listener community. Some bigger formats send out newsletters and even have local listener get-together-events. As a company, one can benefit from these channels as well – when done properly, with almost no monetary effort.
Many providers of online media have realised the potential of podcasts. Spotify just recently added the podcast-feature to their mobile app and hosts some exclusive shows like ‘Fest und Flauschig’ - Germanys biggest podcast in terms of listeners. Most of the Youtube-apps on your phone have a ‘sound only’ feature for people who listen to their favourite show on the world’s biggest video platform. The smartphone has become the number one podcasting device, which enables the audience to listen to the show everywhere all the time.
Podcasts – although the technology behind it is more than a decade old - are still a growing market. Especially here in Germany the development is finally showing momentum and as mentioned above, the highly interesting demographic of listeners holds many possibilities for impactful and budget-friendly multi-channel advertisement.
However, let us not stop there: Major brands in the US seem to increase their involvement with the audio medium far beyond regular ads. The on-going boom of podcasts in America has brought the opportunity for companies to start creating their own content and take a next step in customer engagement. GE, eBay and Netflix – just to name a few - are teaming up with established podcasters to tell the stories that help build a new relationship to their potential customers.
As of today, we see a handful of outstanding examples of how branded podcasts can be done properly, by telling good stories, keeping the advertising decent and engaging with the audience. The future will show if this will become a major trend in B2C interaction as surely not every company has an interesting story to tell. Thus, branded podcasts will add another worthy layer to company marketing and will enrich the already blooming landscapes of audio entertainment out there.
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