Podcasts are having a moment. If you’ve not listened to one – or even heard of them – then you’ve been living under a rock. The number of weekly podcast listeners has doubled in five years – that’s across all age groups, as well. A recent batch of research showed that there are currently around 18.5 million podcast episodes available to download and 6 million adults are tuning in each day.
With the continuing growth in popularity and the diversity on offer, it’s no surprise brands are turning to podcasts as a marketing tool. Although podcasts may offer a slightly lower reach than more traditional forms of marketing, today’s current savvy consumer is more aware than ever of advertising, and it’s a subtler, less obvious way of raising a brand’s image.
You often find that brands will sponsor podcasts in order to generate exposure through a high-profile or popular host – such as Clarins with the hugely popular pop culture podcast, The High Low, or DFS with The Great Indoors – but brands are starting to try their hand at launching and hosting their own podcasts too. These new types of podcast include content tailored towards the general interests of the current consumer, with the end goal of attracting a new demographic of customer.
Many brands are already way ahead of the curve, having launched their own podcasts well before they became trendy; Bang & Olufsen in 2016 with its Music Matters platform and Chanel with 3.55 in 2017 are just two examples. British national newspaper, The Telegraph, has also run a regular podcast, Fashion Unzipped, since late 2017, which provides a behind-the-scenes look at the paper’s biggest stories, giving its audience a new way to consume the title’s content.
However, in the last few years more and more brands have been following suit. Gucci launched its podcast last May (2018) and Maison Margeila a month later. Goop, Gwyneth Paltrow’s wellness brand, also launched a podcast in 2018. Earlier this year, online fashion retailer, Pretty Little Thing, revealed its ‘Behind the Scenes’ programme which interviews a series of celebrities and prolific figures that are in tune with their customer base – such as Maya Jama and Sophie and Cinzia. Just a few weeks ago, Twitter announced that it was launching a podcast called “Character Count”. Each episode will involve talking to the people behind some of Twitter’s most effective advertising campaigns. The overall goal, says Twitter, is to offer insight into which brands are effectively using the platform as a key marketing tool.
These are big-budget brands, but the content of each podcast is relatively similar and straightforward, usually featuring interviews with prolific individuals associated with each brand. This is not only a format which translates well across many sectors and industries, but it also isn’t expensive to produce. It’s a tried and tested formula for magazines, television shows and the like, and is great for engagement.
In addition to this, it means podcasts can be relatively cheap for brands to invest in. One company we spoke to offers 25 episodes, editing, recording and production for £2,500. That’s just £250 an episode, which is far less than companies may fork out on other mediums of advertising and is a great way for brands to tell their story to a small but engaged audience, in a similar way as using micro-influencers. You can see why many brands are so keen to get on board and have a slice of the pie.
Podcasts may not be a sure-fire way of shifting lots of products or increasing followers on Instagram, but, done well, they can be an intelligent and thoughtful means of reaching the direct consumer.
Regardless of your interests, it’s more than likely that you can find a podcast you’ll enjoy, from current affairs and lifestyle (The High Low, Slow Burn), interviews with celebrities and public figures (Table Manners), crime (Serial) to interiors and design (The Great Indoors), film and TV (Empire), comedy (Off Menu with Ed Gamble and James Acaster, My Dad Wrote a Porno). You name it, it probably exists.
On the hunt for a new podcast? Have a read of our podcast recommendations