We're all ears. Podcasts are thriving in the age of screen exhaustion.

“We have two ears and one mouth, so we should listen more than we say.” 
― Zeno of Citium

It seems counter-intuitive creating a written blog whilst discussing a form of audio but with my dulcet ‘Black Country’ tones I thought a blog would be more fitting (and beneficial) to the person consuming this content. Plus, a podcast about podcasts seems a little bit convoluted to me. So here we go…

Speed, convenience, and instant gratification. These are 3 phrases that many of us can empathise with. Our daily lives are filled to the brim with a lust for immediacy, often to the detriment of getting a wealth of valuable information. As entertaining and sought after as short-form content is, nothing beats immersing yourself in a long-form conversation. Enter podcasts: of which have been increasing in prominence and popularity. 

Podcasting is not a new trend. No, the term was coined over a decade ago. But with the boom of social media, humans became distracted and dazzled by the wealth of short-form content. Like moths to a flame, this elusive content hooked us. UK adults spend an average of 8 hours 41 minutes a day on screens (more time than they are snuggled up in bed). UK adults are experiencing screen exhaustion and we can confidently empathise why.

Podcasts enable consumers to give their eyes a rest and utilise their ears with an abundance of genuine human voices with interesting dialogue and content.

Furthermore, in the age of technology they are the perfect form of content: being connected without being besieged. One technological trend that is surely a match made in heaven is connected cars, of which are capable of streaming audio from the internet from multiple sources. This is enabling education and entertainment in those long and cumbersome commutes within the UK- whether this is streamed through connected cars or our handy mobile phone companion.

But, are podcasts good for brands?

Podcasts are only lucrative for brands if they have something stimulating to say consistently. Too often, brands put content out there that just gets lost in the ether and have little cut-through in the marketplace.

But for brands that have a story to tell through podcasts the following stats may prove to be fruitful. The chief podcast age demographic in the UK has been researched by Rajar to be 25-34 year olds with a 40% share of the total UK podcast audience. This is closely followed by 35-54 year olds at 29% share. To back up my earlier point- these individuals are the primary commuters so naturally their consumption of podcasts is higher.

Likewise, the cost-to-value ratio for podcasts is low in comparison to other forms of content which will be music to the ears of many Marketers. All they take is a high-quality microphone and a bit of setup/preparation time. But brands need to be careful when creating podcasts, they must not bite off more than they can chew. Meeting audience expectations is vital and they must not sound like an advertisement. Storytelling should be at the core and if this cannot shine through, then perhaps podcasting is not an avenue to explore.

Where brands may benefit from the podcasting trend is becoming a sponsor- however subtlety is paramount. Very many podcasts have sponsors at the start but knowing the audience demographics of the specific podcast is vital to understand if your brand is utilising the correct partner to push your brand. Likewise, an issue that frequently crops up surrounds the difficulty of measurement. Marketers are limited to only getting sight of how many people subscribe or download a show and can't get a definite idea on how many people finish listening to an episode. To tackle this issue, specific promo codes with clear calls to actions can help create a calculable response and measure ROI of key podcasting partnerships.

Podcasts are a unique medium that must strike a balance between technology, promotions, and relevant content. They have been growing in popularity through the advent of screen exhaustion but must provide gratification for today’s 21st century consumer whose expectations for content is rapidly and continuously growing.

Zeno of Citium famously said “We have two ears and one mouth, so we should listen more than we say”: this is a great adage to follow whilst considering and implementing podcasts and/or podcast partnerships. We should listen to podcasts as consumers ourselves but also listen to what type of content people would like to hear to ensure relevancy and to guarantee that we are not contributing to the mounting content landfill.

Sophie Beckley, Planner

Talk to Sophie about how we can help you with your content strategy - 01902 714 957 sophie.beckley@connect-group.com