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Why podcasting is perfect for advertising in times of uncertainty

Many industries have been thrown into disarray by the pandemic, with the advertising sector included; but the thriving interest in podcasts means there’s room for smart, targeted ad campaigns, says Joe Copeman, global SVP sales at Acast

Why podcasting is perfect for advertising in times of uncertainty

It’s a general consensus that 2020 has been a tough year for most people, and the month of December may be the most difficult period of it all. We’re approaching a time of year when the challenges of working within the constraints of the pandemic are really going to hit home, particularly around Christmas time. 

But it’s not all doom and gloom, and consumers are spending money — albeit on different things than they did six or seven months ago. There are still ways to connect with people through smart, targeted ad campaigns, and understanding how and where to meet their changing needs.

Throughout the pandemic, podcasting has maintained its position as one of the best ways for advertisers to reach both niche and mainstream audiences, in an audio environment of unrivalled trust and intimacy. The world’s biggest brands have turned to podcasts, and they're now investing in long-term campaigns to secure the most in demand content in 2021.

Here’s why.

Resilience
The pandemic has seemed to have had a positive impact on podcasting: with listening figures growing exponentially, thanks to people listening to their favourite shows or discovering podcasts for the very first time. Acast is the largest global podcast company and has a network of more than 20,000 shows covering every podcast player, app and platform there is.

With brands pulling ads from other channels amid lockdown, there’s been an increase in ad spend significantly throughout the year for podcasting — a sign that advertisers are confident podcasts are consistently delivering ROI. For instance, Amazon and Spotify have made remarkable investments in podcasting despite the global economic uncertainty.

Trust
Podcast consumers don’t tend to be casual listeners. They’re likely to listen to every single piece of content their favourite podcast puts out, and they feel like they know the host on a very intimate, personal level — after all, the majority of podcast listening is done via headphones, which in itself produces a sense of closeness.  

And that creation of an intimate community has never been more important this year, with podcasts offering the escapism and entertainment people are craving in these trying times. Listeners are taking comfort in the unique companionship that podcasts offer, at a time and place of their choosing. In turn, that means podcasters are connecting with listeners in a deeper way than ever before, and advertisers have the opportunity to do the same.

Scale
For advertisers looking for brand awareness and to get a brand in front of as many people as possible, podcasting can reach a range of people due to the variety of shows produced. Or if advertisers have a niche product that will appeal strongly to a smaller, more specific group, they’re covered, too.

If advertisers, agencies or brand marketers work with the right partners, the audience they desire can be reached anywhere and everywhere, across every single podcast player and platform there is, within their targeted genre, interest, or even emotion.

Podcasts are accessible, free, and people listen to them whenever and wherever they want. Acast was developed to empower more storytellers to find the audiences they deserve — and that applies to our advertisers, too.

Effectiveness
Research by MIDAS* has shown that 92 per cent of people listen to podcasts alone. That gives brands an opportunity for a unique, one-to-one conversation with its preferred consumer, and cuts through the noise and the fight for their attention. 

There’s no TV ad breaks in podcasting, where there’s competition for attention with a handful of other brands (not to mention the temptation of sticking the kettle on). There’s also not an entire Instagram feed of content where there’s continuous effort just to be seen for a split second on a user’s device. 

Advertisers are buying trust and intimacy with podcasts, at a time when consumers are having a hard year, especially with popular platforms over-indulging on personalisation or user-generated content. Thus, helping brands to align with a podcast means establishing a stronger word-of-mouth strategy you can buy and voice of confidence from the consumer’s favourite show.

Acast’s surveys have shown that a whopping 76 per cent of podcast listeners have taken action after hearing podcast advertising, while a recent Kantar study ranked the ad equity of podcast advertising second only to “influencer-based branded content”, which is something podcasts can also offer.

Podcast companies, including Acast, have pioneered better measurement and reporting for the advertising industry on a global scale. These companies can reveal exactly how long someone listened to an ad for, or whether the listener skipped it entirely. Counting impressions is adhered strictly to IAB guidelines to maintain accuracy.

Acast has just launched keyword targeting, allowing advertisers to identify the exact words and phrases deemed most relevant for a campaign, and Acast can also build a podcast campaign based on contextual relevance. This will bring a new level of context to ad targeting in podcasts as contextualised ads have been proven to deliver 42 per cent higher engagement, and more than twice the ad recall.

Flexibility
Podcasting’s success with advertisers isn’t down to scale and effectiveness alone, it’s about speed and flexibility as well. 

A podcast’s ad campaign can be comfortably turned around in 24 hours, which helps with any useful last minute messaging or adjustments, especially allowing pandemic-relevant content to be aligned with frequent governmental guidance.

Multiple creatives can be made, and Acast can chop and change at very little cost. Sponsor reads delivered by influential, respected names can be recorded in a tone in keeping with consumer confidence and sentiment. There are limited media channels offering this service whilst delivering in a high-trust, high-reach environment.

With Christmas just around the corner, now is the time to take notice of the power of podcasting.

For more information about the global reach of Acast and its network, please discover more here 

Joe Copeman is global SVP sales at Acast.

*The Spring Report

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