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Podcasts, an untapped millennial marketing opportunity

April 19 2016

Sara Frey

When we hear about millennials and smartphones, we hear a lot about video and social media. Audio, on the other hand, is repeatedly left out of the conversation even though 64 percent of young adults listen to music or podcasts on their mobile devices.1
In fact, millennials spend an average of 11 hours each week listening to audio, and they tend to do it when they’re on the way to making a purchase.2 Which means that the audio millennials are listening to is incredibly important for marketers looking to engage them.

These marketers should look to podcasts, a largely untapped marketing opportunity despite how popular they are with millennials. According to recent studies, 35 percent of millennials regularly listen to at least one podcast a week, and 20 percent listen to at least six.3,4 In an industry in which listenership has increased more than 200 percent in the last 10 years, these numbers will only continue to rise.5

A prime opportunity

Although the number of podcast subscriptions exceeds the one billion mark, podcast advertising is still a burgeoning market.6 Surprisingly, brands are only expected to spend about $35 million on podcasts this year compared to the $18 billion slated for radio and $67 billion for TV.7 That’s a huge difference that could translate into a huge opportunity for advertisers willing to take a chance on podcasts.

With ads going for between $15 and $45 CPM, podcast advertising isn’t cheap. But it is effective. A recent survey of more than 300,000 podcast listeners found that 63 percent had bought something they heard advertised on a podcast.8 And that is why advertisers like MailChimp, SquareSpace, and Casper choose to invest in this media.
Being a part of a beloved podcast can position your brand in a way that no other channel can. In terms of loyalty and targeting, podcasts have a lot going for them.

A trusting audience

Once a listener chooses the podcasts they want to subscribe to, they become incredibly loyal to both the podcast and the host. In hearing the personal opinions and stories often shared in this type of format, listeners become attached and begin to see hosts as trusted friends. These hosts are known for being open and honest, authentic and influential. Many even refuse to advertise a brand that they themselves don’t support. And since podcasters aren’t limited to the same regulations as public broadcasters, they have more freedom with how they incorporate advertising.

The level of trust between host and listener is already high, but the often-personal approach to writing and delivering each ad makes it more engaging and therefore, more effective.

Psychographic targeting

Because of the strong host-audience connection, it is especially important for marketers to find a host and show that aligns your company and your audience’s values.

With more than 250,000 available podcasts,6 there are plenty that appeal to a wide variety of demographics and psychographics (we’re looking at you, Serial and This American Life). However, the quantity and diversity of programming allows marketers to get hyper-targeted with shows that may appeal to their target persona. Let’s say you’re a concert promoter that has identified a smart, curious, and creative millennial woman who enjoys pop culture as your target persona. If you’re interested in advertising on podcasts, there are a number of directions you could go.

You could start broad by focusing on the demographics with podcasts like Call Your Girlfriend or Ladies who Lunch. Then you could dive a little deeper into the psychographics with a mix of personality-driven shows. The newly announced Forbes Podcasts for “millennial women who embrace the entrepreneurial spirit”9 may appeal to her business sensibilities, while Mystery Show and Who? Weekly may appeal to the side of her that just wants to escape. To connect with her music interests, you might want to check out Song Exploder, Switched on Pop, or All Songs Considered. The creative side? Have a listen to Design Details, Creative Pep Talk, or 99% Invisible.

When you’re able to target your audience from multiple angles, it provides multiple touch points, which can combine to present a strong and united front.

Take advantage

With the popularity amongst millennials, the possibilities of audience targeting, the dedication of subscribers, and the lack of brands currently investing in the medium, podcast advertising could be the opportunity you’ve been looking for.

Don’t miss your moment. Get in the ear of your millennial audience and make an impression. And if you need help picking a podcast, give us a call.