The Rise in Podcast Popularity: How Can Retailers Utilise This Trend?
2nd August 2019
Portraying authenticity and connecting with your existing and target audiences can be a challenge whilst trying to market and advertise your business. However, podcasts are rapidly becoming a means to advertise, create intrigue and advance in your sector in a less predictable and more engaging manner.
What are Podcasts?
Podcasts are digital audio files available online and via audio apps, such as the Apple/Android ‘Podcasts’ app, Spotify, Google Play. They are set up like TV or radio shows, in that they provide different ‘seasons’ and ‘episodes’ focusing on a variety of trends, topics, industries and hobbies and they also often feature special guests and industry experts.
Why do People Listen to Them?
In comparison to 2018, the number of people in the US who have listened to at least one podcast in their lives has increased by 20 million this year, and a further 14 million people now describe themselves as weekly listeners. Some have coined podcasts as the replacement of traditional radio. This may be a little extreme as they are actually very different types of platform, but podcasts have certainly made their mark on the public. They are popular across all age groups, listeners can subscribe to different channels, download specific episodes and listen wherever they want on- or offline. Additionally, they are free!
Where do People Listen to Them?
Wherever is convenient to them! This is a highly important factor in the rise in popularity of podcasts. Podcasts can be downloaded, meaning they can be listened to whether you are on- or offline. Take commuters for example - podcasts are easily accessible to all whether they are taking a journey in the car, on a bike, on the tube or walking.
Where Does Your Business Fit In?
When considering podcasts as a part of your business marketing plan, put simply, there are two key ways you can get involved:
1. Creating a podcast – creating your own podcast to share your own content.
2. Advertising on podcasts – having an existing podcast host speaking about your product or service.
Advertising through Podcasts
Advertising through a host mentioning your product or service within their podcast gives listeners a sense of trust as they feel a connection with the host. Advertising comes across more as a recommendation from a friend as opposed to a Facebook or Instagram ad.
An average podcast is 45 minutes long, and the average podcast ad is 90 seconds, which is much longer than a traditional ad. Significantly, it has been noted that 85% of people who listen to podcasts listen to the end (that includes the ads!). As a business, if you are being mentioned by a podcast host, the ads can be:
- Harder to skip
- Designed to stimulate the minds of listeners, thus, they are more likely to be immersed in and absorb the ads also being played within a podcast
- Much longer than ads on other platforms, such as YouTube or social media
- Less predictable than other ads, as the podcast hosts can adapt content to flow with the ad subject
Creating a Podcast - Benefits for Businesses?
- Podcast market penetration is strongest amongst the 18-34 demographic, which is often difficult for businesses and advertisers to reach.
- They are highly convenient to consumers: there is no difficulty in terms of accessing content, reading a synopsis and pressing play.
- Your listeners are investing more time: in comparison to a Twitter follower looking at something you posted online, the time invested in your brand message and personality is much longer and therefore more valuable.
- Reaching new audiences: If you create interesting content, your audience will expand and spread across highly popular platforms.
- Storytelling and ‘intimacy of audio’: listeners feel a closer connection with podcast hosts than with other forms of audio such as radio and TV.
- Simple to become involved in: Podcasting is an easy way for businesses to express their personality and appeal to people on a personal level, whether that is potential B2B or B2C business prospects or industry experts that want to be a guest and create discussion.
- Suited to all business sizes and types: podcasting is suitable for any business if you have something relevant to share and discuss, much like blogging or using social media.
5 Successful Retail Podcasts
Podcasts need to feel authentic and valuable, rather than just a platform to market and sell. Brands need to choose interviewees, collaborators and topics based on relevancy and content rather than purely popularity. Upholding credibility is vital; a business cannot come across as fake and inauthentic through a podcast, such as with an influencer post selling ‘Flat Tummy Tea’ on Instagram would. There must be genuine authenticity. 5 retail-based podcasts that have executed this uniquely within their sector are:
- Pretty Little Thing: Behind Closed Doors Podcast: As an increasingly popular online retailer, they have appealed to their target audience by bringing special guests such as models, content creators and style icons on to their show and just having a good chat!
- The Retail Exchange Podcast: A dedicated retail podcast series that looks at key issues affecting the world of instore. It is designed to accompany retailers and brands on their journey to retail performance improvement, featuring industry experts.
- Deliciously Ella Podcast: A business that started from a health and wellness blog and has grown drastically, their products are now available in supermarkets and they own a deli in Mayfair. It provides open and honest conversation about health and wellness, whereby the company founder and CEO interview an expert weekly. The meaning and heart behind the business is demonstrated with clarity.
- eCommerce Fuel Podcast: Ecommerce entrepreneur, Andrew Youderian, whom built two successful drop shipping companies, provides tips from ecommerce experts on researching, launching, and growing your online business. Expect accessible and fun conversations with ecommerce entrepreneurs offering actionable advice and funny anecdotes.
- The M&S Podcast: M&S interviews guests to tackle issues facing retailers today in less than 20 minutes. As well as the history of the high street, some episodes delved into the brand’s sustainability plan for 2025. This allowed M&S to show a different side that cares about issues important to the British public, which is something not typically conveyed in its more product-focused marketing and advertising.
Why Podcast Listening Will Continue to Grow
- It is the ideal platform for on-demand, binge consumption of content - which is what most consumers are accustomed to.
- Customised content curation for consumers will always align with people listening to what they want, when they want.
- Ad revenue from podcasts is continually growing.
- Less obvious, therefore less ‘annoying’ ads appearing to listeners: there are no pop-ups, no ‘skip’ buttons and less clutter of ads within the allotted airtime of the podcast.
- More and more brands are getting involved in the world of podcasting, and this will reflect ROI, giving brands more confidence to invest in the platform.
- As podcasts are available on platforms such as Spotify, they are as easily accessible as listening to music: in cars on a commute to work, in the kitchen whilst you clean or through headphones during a gym workout.
- Growth of voice recognition devices such as Alexa, Google and Siri will make accessing podcasts easier.
- The podcasts app is available on Apple Watches, adding further ease and accessibility.
- Highly recognised, market leading, trend-setting brands such as Google, Microsoft, eBay and McDonalds have increased their use of the ad format, as well as some creating their own channels: this has given more brands the confidence to step-out and expand their marketing horizons!
How Can Retailers Utilise the Podcast Trend?
1. Creating a Podcast
Regardless of business size in terms of staff and budget, a podcast is a simple, fun and interactive way to expand your marketing scope. Significant investment isn’t required to start your own podcast: it could be as simple as recording on a tablet or smartphone to begin with. Besides the initial topic of conversation, a lot of the content in podcasts is unscripted, making it a task that can be fitted into a busy working schedule. Lastly, you can use podcasts to portray a personal side to your business, which ultimately helps to build brand reputation and transparency.
2. Advertising on Podcasts
Directly reaching out or using an intermediary to reach out to existing podcasters is a method to get your marketing content showcased to an audience that trusts the hosts who are endorsing your brand. The most effective podcast ads are voiced by the hosts, in their own style. Listeners tend to relate to conversational content perhaps more than a cheesy, loud radio or TV commercial.
It will be exciting to see how the trend in podcasting popularity develops. In the meantime, if you would like any help with your digital marketing strategy, get in touch with SilverDisc.