Radio is dying, they say. No one wants to listen to a story when they can watch it instead.
Yet here we are, eagerly anticipating the next true crime episode, highly-produced storytelling like “This American Life,” or audio wisdom bombs from Gary Vaynerchuk.
The truth is, Americans are hungry for stories and other compelling audio. In fact, more than 30% of all adults in the U.S. now listen to podcasts at least monthly, representing more than 90 million people. And though traditional, ad-soaked radio may be dying a slow death, podcasts provide the thought-provoking content listeners crave—even when they come from the same brands vying for ad space in other channels.
The best part? People aren’t just listening to these branded messages, they’re retaining them, too.
Branded Podcasts Cut Through the Clutter
New research from BBC Global News’ branded content division shows that podcasts are breaking barriers when it comes to reaching “ad-avoiders” by serving them content they actually want to receive.
In fact, the BBC study’s sample was comprised of traditional “unreachables,” but their engagement and retention of brand mentions in podcasts beat out TV benchmarks by at least 22%.
How can it be that company-sponsored podcasts are actually an effective way to engage this hard-to-reach demographic? Simple. Podcasts have become the epitome of thought leadership.
Because they feature genuine, thought-provoking content in an intimate and conversational environment (instead of short, attack-style bursts of advertising), podcasts create an elevated state of engagement for brand mentions.
Want to know something even more intriguing? Not only are traditional non-listeners more engaged than ever, they’re recalling this content with unprecedented engagement and accuracy. The study found that:
- The impact of branded messages increases when the listener is engaged in other tasks.
Listeners’ ears are always “on,” creating a great multi-tasking opportunity when they’re doing chores (61%), driving (55%), exercising, or conducting some other monotonous activity. This is true for a whopping 94% of all podcast listeners, who prefer to tune in while their hands and body are on autopilot.
The study showed that keeping the brain occupied with an activity enhances the ability for brand messages to achieve cut-through. In addition to staying busy, the state of activity means that podcast content is perceived through “low-involvement processing,” burning less cognitive fuel and prompting the listener to engage with the content even longer.
- Brand messages stand out from the content.
On average, brand mentions in podcasts deliver 16% higher engagement and 12% higher memory encoding than surrounding content. Across the board, this means higher brand awareness (89%), brand consideration (57%), favorability (24%), and even purchase intent (14%) for those who regularly produce podcasts. (Congrats, marketers!)
For example, BBC found that when the word “innovative” had been mentioned 12 times throughout a podcast, listeners were more likely to call the sponsoring brand innovative as well.
Further, a recent Nielsen study reported that podcast advertising delivers 4.4 times better brand recall than other digital mediums—even when pitted against visually-striking display ads and videos.
Branded Podcasting: the Future of Content Marketing
Top brands are already hopping on the podcast gravy train, not only as a way to build brand engagement but to connect with consumers on a deeper level. More than simply cranking out 30-minute episodes listeners can sniff out as “canned content” in an instant, brands are going deeper to spark interest and start meaningful conversations.
Here are some great examples of brands leveraging this medium well:
- McDonald’s The Sauce, a play on the infamous Serial podcast with a satirical spin from Onion Labs
- GE and Panoply’s science [fiction] series, The Message
- ZipRecruiter’s Rise and Grind, hosted by Shark Tank investor Daymond John
- Tinder’s DTR, featuring relationship advice, pick-up lines, and hilarious dating stories
- Casper’s In Your Dreams with Chris Gethard, offering dream analysis and other sleep talk
While some may think podcast production is too pricey and time-consuming, it’s only a fraction of what marketers pay for prime time television spots and other expensive media. And with valuable podcast metrics, it’s easier than ever to glean helpful customer data and prove ROI.
At Casted, we’re your sidekicks for getting more bang for your podcasting buck, making it easier than ever to create engaging content, repurpose valuable content for greater marketing longevity, and glean meaningful metrics. Our platform helps you cut through the monotony of the traditional marketing mix to reach eager markets with powerful, long-lasting content that brings your brand to life.