2017 looks to be a ‘HUGEEE’ year for on-demand audio, and as publishers continue to fight for your loyalty & listenership. We’re likely to see more industry consolidation too, which ultimately should make your choice of discovery easier. The team at TopPodcast.com wanted to take a moment and review, from the perspective of a digital marketer, what we believe are the Top 10 Podcasting Trends we might see over the next six months or so:
1. Mobile is King, making listening at your fingertips
It’s undeniably the predominant way we consume content in a digital world, using our smart phone. This certainly has made podcasting readily available to the masses. Mobile has exponentially enhanced the trajectory of the industry, with Podcast consumption on smartphones reaching over 80%. This means listening is literally at everyone’s fingertips.
2. Consolidation & Speaking in a Unified Voice
With so many confusing choices for audio consumers to stagger through, industry consolidation can only help. Let’s see what the big players do, as far as Spotify, Apple, Pandora, Sirius, etc, in regards to making any big moves in Podcasting. It’s great to see Spotify starting to create custom podcasts too, and iHeart is investing in the platform. No matter what the audio powerhouses do, look for the industry to eventually begin to move in a unified voice, consolidating for the better. I like the idea of #TryPod, as far as 37 publishers coming together to finally promote the industry…TOGETHER! But guess what, we will do that too! #TopPodcast
3. More Reputable Broadcasters from TV & Radio Enter the Podcast Industry
Seeing what broadcasters like Mike Francesa do after his contract ends at WFAN in 2017 bodes well for podcasting. As broadcast influencers continue to jump head first into the industry, they’re going to bring ‘tons’ of newpods with them (first-time listeners). Reputable, established broadcasters want relevancy and the clout of having control…hence, creating their own podcast only makes sense. As existing broadcasters enter the industry, they bring with them powerful social reach. This trend will only enhance podcast listenership, driving revenues, as new broadcasters enter the vast field of podcasting.
4. The Impact of Live Audio & Video
While live audio, via Facebook, provides an opportunity to drive discovery, the question is whether the industry wants to allow Facebook to control delivery. As we know, Facebook often changes algorithms to best impact their selfish revenue streams, so this is a bit of a wild-card. However, YouTube, and repurposing audio continues to be explosive since podcasters & publishers alike can share in the revenue. Any way you slice it, video will impact on-demand audio, especially when it comes to discovery, distribution and revenue.
5. Voice Technology Devices Are “Hear” to Stay
How many of you purchased Alexa over the holiday, or the Amazon Echo? There’s no denying the trajectory of voice command technology, and sooner than later, podcast publishers need to align with this technology. Whether it’s speaking to Siri, listening to a podcast on Amazon Echo when you cook, voice technology is here to stay…or should we say ‘hear’ to stay. And yes, all this voice-activated technology will be available on the dashboard of your car. So, the industry must align with it! And it will enhance discovery, making it less cumbersome to listen.
6. Radio & TV Align On-Demand Strategies With Their Long-Term Vision
Innovation starts with an entrepreneurial spirit, and terrestrial radio companies have found it painfully difficult to embrace change. Watching Spotify, Pandora, and other audio companies drive a digital narrative has been painful for many in the industry. Our prediction is that you’ll finally see Radio put digital innovation at the top of the food chain, giving them a seat at the table, demanding old-school programmers pivot to where consumers are discovering content. We like what we see iHeart doing, especially with the roll-out of their premium app & their focus on a real podcast strategy. It’s nice to see.
In addition, the ‘mainstreaming of podcasting’ is hitting Broadcast Television too. Have microphone, will podcast. Shows like 60 Minutes, Meet the Press, CBS Sunday Morning News, The Rachel Maddow Show, MSNBC’s Morning Joe, and 48 Hours are giving a shot in the arm to the industry. Content can easily be re-purposed, via podcasting. If Radio & TV promote the hell out of the platform, there’s no limit on how successful they will be in capturing an already large audience to explore their on-demand platforms.
7. Programmatic Becomes Real in Podcasting Especially for Evergreen Content
There’s no holding back the advertising trend towards programmatic advertising, dynamically inserting one-to-one targeted ads, regardless of device. Spots will be pre-recorded segments that can easily fit into any podcast listening format. But, despite incremental advances in programmatic solutions, podcast advertising loses its advertising charm, the one-to-one personal engagement with the host. However, programmatic can help solve delivery problems for shows with long-tails….and shows that have evergreen content. There’s no denying the evolution towards programmatic, and the digital world calls for geo-targeted dynamic ads, which will increase revenue for the industry. The fact remains that these ads won’t have the same clout that native ads have through the power of a live endorsed, organic native reads. We hope the podcast industry control access points as not to dilute CPMs or the live-read charm.
8. Experiential Marketing & Live Podcasts Work Together
Brands love creating compelling content, and nothing does a better job than using live experiences to capture and deploy ones brand message, which then can be shared virally via social platforms. Using podcast influencers (podfluencers) makes sense for brands, having ‘live podcasts’ on site. Bringing an ad campaign to life through the extension of traditional advertising syncs up perfectly to podcasting, and the PR & influencer engagement, on-site, adds substantial value that certainly will ignite social sharing.
9. Native Advertising Continues to Grow
Major brands have embraced native advertising strategies, and nothing works better in the podcasting industry than organic, live reads (endorsements). Brands like Mac Weldon, Blue Apron, and Wix view podcasts hosts as brand ambassadors, to deliver messaging to an audience that wants to hear what the podcaster is saying. The growth of native advertising and driving integrating messaging succinctly across multiple platforms will continue to make podcast advertising highly attractive in 2017. We just have to make some major noise within the digital buying community, advancing a narrative must be heard.
10. Custom & Branded Content Strategies
Big brands are getting so comfortable with the concept of podcasts, that they’ve started to literally produce their own. Companies like, Netflix, and Prudential have successfully done it, and Slate and Panoply have teams that work with brands to execute this strategy. GE has one of the more established success stories in this space (yes, a 100-year old company like GE), created an eight-episode sci-fi series called The Message. They’ve continued to shape their brand message with another series called “LifeAfter. When companies like GE see the value of podcasting, you know the herd will start following soon.
If you’d like to learn what podcasting can do for your business, please check out our Podcast Business Center. We’re just getting started!