With podcast advertising revenue expected to cross US$2.4 billion globally, it comes as no surprise that brands have found their space in the medium over the last few years, and 2019 was no different.
According to ‘Audio: Activated’, a study commissioned by StoryWorks, the BBC’s branded content division, individuals who label themselves as ad-avoiders, were 22% more engaged and likely to remember brands mentioned in podcasts compared to TV ads. Specifically, the study found that “the intimate and conversational nature of the podcast environment creates an elevated state of engagement for brand mentions”. Brand awareness saw an overall 89% increase, brand favorability 24% and purchase intent a 14% increase through mentions on podcasts.
Midroll, a podcast advertising network, found that listeners on average make it through approximately 90% of an episode within their network, and a relative few skip ads.
Locally, we found that 70% of respondents listen to an ad message during an episode, of which 15% listeners actually use ads as a way of discovering new brands. In comparison 30% felt negatively about ads in a podcast. The contrast is even more telling for branded shows, with only 6% of listeners saying they would never listen to a branded show.
Among those willing to listen to branded content, 71% said they would listen as long as the content was well-produced, while 21.8% said they would do so only if they identified with the brand in some way. Therefore, the motivation for creating shows and for brands to use them effectively still relies on the same tenets that work for non-branded shows: a strong focus on the content.
Brands should view podcasts as part of a long-term communication strategy. Whether through creating entire shows or advertising and collaborating with existing shows, there is a lot to leverage towards brand awareness and messaging.
Case Study: Goumbook
Goumbook is one of the oldest social enterprises in the UAE and a strong sustainability advocate. As the organization gears-up towards its ten-year anniversary in 2020, the team wanted to look beyond blogs, events and activities to increase their reach and create a wider awareness for sustainable businesses and initiatives in the region.
Founder and Managing Director of Goumbook, Tatiana Antonelli Abella, didn’t listen to podcasts herself a couple of years ago. “But when I’d talk to friends or to my team, I found everyone was telling me about shows and specific episodes they were listening to, or sharing information about the topics they were hearing. That's how I saw the impact podcasts can have—and the ability to reach people you’d never reach otherwise,” she noted.
It was with this idea that in April 2019 Goumbook partnered with AMAEYA Creative, the branded podcasts arm of AMAEYA Media, to launch Forward Talks—the region’s first podcast dedicated to sustainability. Since then, the show has aired 25 episodes covering topics from degassing landfills to women empowerment. Building a sustainable future, with HSBC’s Sabrin Rehman is among the show’s most popular episodes, grossing over 1,500 downloads.
According to Abella, the podcast has also become a great way to connect with the community. “Many listeners have contacted us to reach guests we’ve featured on the show. It’s been a great way to know we’re actually making a difference.”