In the ocean of an ever changing Internet, no content medium can keep afloat forever. Vagaries of the web have long since favored blogs and websites as sources of information and entertainment, but all of that might change sooner than expected.
More and more content consumers are shifting their attention to listening to podcasts. Figures are there to confirm it. Podcast advertising revenues are projected to surpass $1 billion by 2021 and podcast listeners in the US have surpassed a quarter of the population and that number is continuing to grow year over year. A recent survey by Edison Research and Triton Digital showed that a fifth (21%) of podcast listeners said they listened to four to five podcasts a week, and even more (31%) said they listened to six or more podcasts a week.
How Branded Content Fits Into Podcasting
Will podcasts become the new belle of the ball? Current trends seem to point towards the affirmative. Just like other forms of internet media, they require little regarding equipment. As more podcast listeners tune in — either to get a laugh from analyses of pop culture or to find out about the difficulties of running a startup — podcasts are getting closer to achieving mainstream status.
Many great brands have already seen the podcast potential. The Internet is so filled to the brim with blogs and vlogs that audio media is a much-needed breath of fresh air. While branded content is a form of advertising, when it comes to the world of podcasts, the accent remains on ‘content’ and content marketing.
Brands like Basecamp (The Distance), General Electric (The Message), McDonalds (The Sauce), Sephora (Lipstories), Microsoft (Conversation in Culture), Slack (Slack Variety Pack), Shopify (Shopify Masters) and eBay (Open for Business) have already taken steps in that direction to increase customer engagement and brand awareness. The podcast format is far removed from the radio ad jingles of old, so there’s really no room for commercials.
Instead, branded podcasts focus on relaying info that is both useful and entertaining. This new symbiosis brings innovation to story-telling, but the stories must revolve around the brand’s identity and the message to work.
To gain a foothold in the new wild west of Internet media, podcasters must also adhere to a few rules to not only attract listeners but also to keep them. Uniqueness and consistency are key factors here, along with paying attention to listeners’ preferences and how they relate to branded content.
How To Gauge Content Effectiveness
As podcasts became a more and more popular medium, measurement tools were caught in a game of catch-up. For far too long, podcast analytics have offered little feedback to creatives; records of someone downloading an episode don’t say much about the listener’s behavior.
With the addition of branded podcasting, podcast analytics become crucial in gauging audience preferences. Creators want to be able to know exactly what works and what doesn’t to improve their podcast episodes and podcast content to increase their fan base. To do that, they need their questions answered. They must know how many people tune in, when they tune out, and even when and where they choose to listen.
Companies like Backtracks have recently made great progress in providing creatives with proper podcast analytics. They can provide both playback and download data to creatives, which lets podcasters know exactly what segments and show structures are more popular with their audiences and enable them to tinker away and optimize their podcast series. Accurate metrics are important for content creators, but they also play a part in attracting more advertisers, like ZipRecruiter — those same advertisers who avoided taking leaps of faith in a format without previous measurement standards. Backtracks also works across platforms and hosting providers, including Apple Podcasts, Google Podcasts, Spotify, and Lisbyn, to enable greater control of data for the creator and consistency in analytics regardless of movement across hosts.
Podcasters who choose Backtracks benefit from an array of services, from the most advanced podcast analytics in real-time, to the feature-rich Player technology that allows brands to seamlessly reach their listeners across platforms, social media channels, domains, and more under their terms and branding guidelines.