Audio content, such as podcasts and audiobooks, is perfect for marketers to get into. Our guide explains why.
Audio content feels very old school: radio has been around for donkey’s years, and so it’s easy to see why advertisers view it as an antique in its repertoire. Yet, it’s making a massive comeback that sees smart brands making early investments to get ahead.
Audio holds a place dear in many people’s hearts; it’s a form of content which can mould itself to your lifestyle. Books, TV, videos, all require your full attention in order to consume them; by contrast, audiobooks, podcasts and music can accompany you on your commute, house cleaning mission or even whilst you work.
Audio’s versatility makes it a marketer’s dream. And that means there’s an opportunity for your business. It’s just about making the most of the resources out there.
As audio content explodes once again, now is the best time to get your brand involved. Here’s what the audio market currently looks like, what’s set to come and how to get amongst the action.
Battle of the brands
Audio giants Spotify have invested heavily in the podcast industry spending $600 million between February 2019 and 2020. Rivals Amazon are set to get involved too claiming they have a strategic advantage due to Alexa’s voice tech being able to help users discover personalised content.
Publishers are also jumping on the bandwagon and expanding their podcast offerings, as well as other audio content. This month, the BBC, Apple News+ and the Washington Post have all rolled out ways to listen to their written articles. The New York Times has bought text-to-audio app, Audm, as part of its read-aloud strategy which will see users be able to listen to its longer, feature-length stories.
Even brands who you wouldn’t expect to create audio content are doing so: Kraft Heinz has launched ‘Table Stakes’, a series covering their food through behind-the-scenes stories; Ford’s eight-part podcast delves into the history of its Bronco sport-utility vehicle.
The audio content world is seeing more and more real estate pop up, but this neighbourhood doesn’t just have room for skyscrapers – there’s call for SMBs too. As with all marketing, it’s important to be aware of what the big brands are doing with their budgets, but also work out how to make it work for you.
If you’re looking to make room for audio content in your strategy, but feel like it needs a stronger sense of direction, it’s worth a look at bringing a digital marketing agency on board. Whilst branded audio content is a hot topic, it’ll be easier to find a market for your content with the help of experts who know what they’re doing.
Audio content continues to thrive
The coronavirus has rocketed audio to new heights. With more people spending time at home, it’s not just video streaming which has soared; the global podcast market is set to reach $1.1 billion this year. This figure would mean podcasts alone see an annual growth of 30% which is huge for media.
New data from Nielsen shows that 23% of remote workers listen every day to “spoken word” audio content, and 30% listen at least once a week. With working from home set to become the norm, things such as podcasts slot easily into people’s lives. There’s also a lot of advertising potential in this shift; one strength of radio has always been that it’s difficult to escape the ads. This is reflected in the fact Omnicom Media Group plans to spend $20 million on podcast advertising over the second half of this year through Spotify.
If you think you’d like a piece of this (with a slightly lower budget than $20 mill) the advertising specialists you need can be found on Marketplace.
Looking at the figures further, it looks as though this trend is set to continue as audio has been steadily on the rise since 2016: digital audio ad revenues topped $1.6 billion in 2017, increasing 39% from the previous year.
Furthermore, Spotify has reported that 21% of its monthly active users engage with podcasts, and that consumption was up over 100% in its last quarter. It also stated that its podcast ad-revenue is one of its strongest growth areas.
In short, hold tight, audio content is coming at us fast.
What’s different about audio content?
If video advertising is taking your audience to a party, showing off all the bells and whistles, audio content is a candlelit dinner: intimate, cosy, intriguing. Audio offers a unique atmosphere which cocoons its users’ senses; it makes for a deeper connection between brands and their followers.
Plus, it’s a format which makes for easy consumption in comparison to text and video. It is also one which can be consumed passively enabling users to spend more time on them; the average length of a podcast sits at 43 minutes. If you choose to create your own, you allow yourself a huge amount of time to create a relationship with your listeners, something which video just can’t compete with.
How to start a podcast
If you’re sold on creating a podcast, here’s some good news. Surprisingly, podcasts are super easy to create. You just need a microphone. Recordings can be made through everyday software such as Skype, Google Meet and Discord – things we’ve all become familiar with throughout lockdown. And, with home smart speaker usage up, you access a direct line into the heart of people’s homes.
Deciding a topic for your podcast is crucial: chatting about your products for an hour isn’t going to get any listens past the family members you force into it. Weekly audio content about industry topics, or things of interest to your customers on the other hand, would go down a treat.
You should think of podcasts as a different way to offer content to your users and adopt a similar approach to ‘advertising’ as you would to blogging – subtle and relevant, rather than shoehorned in. Furthermore, podcasts don’t have to be really long. Short, 5 minute episodes may be an ideal way for you to get started and test the waters. It’s also not a huge commitment for anyone wanting to try things out, and provides a more accessible way for busy people to catch up on your content.
In terms of getting your podcast out there, there’s some great free audio editing tools out there such as Audacity. Then, just upload your podcast to a host platform such as Soundcloud and from there post it to Apple Music, Spotify etc.
If you’re not after a DIY approach, or you’d like help distributing your podcast, consider outsourcing things to a digital agency to make things super easy.
The opportunities for marketers
The audio content market is booming, and there’s no better time to weave it into your marketing strategy. It doesn’t even have to be a huge part, just by getting involved you’ll show your customers that you’re an industry leader. Better yet, an audio content strategy makes it easier for your audience to fit you into their schedule.
Remember: you don’t have to tackle it alone. There’s plenty of help out there, should you need it.
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