The number of branded podcasts has continued to expand, and the numbers may be primed to grow even more quickly in the months to come. Newly-released data from an Advertiser Perceptions survey of marketers finds that interest in branded podcasts has continued to grow during the past several years, especially at the ad agencies.
Six in ten ad agencies surveyed in October said they are interested in the opportunities associated with branded podcasts. It is the second year in a row that agency attention to the format has grown, with the number of ad agencies expressing interest growing eight points during the past two years.
Among marketers, 48% said they too are interested in creating a branded podcast. That figure is down from 2020 and 2019 levels, however. Lauren Vetrano, Director of Content Marketing at Cumulus Media, said that was likely due to the COVID pandemic tightening creative budgets. “There’s still a lot of discussion among these groups about branded podcasts,” she said.
The survey — which was commissioned by the Cumulus Media-Westwood One Audio Active Group — shows that especially at the agency level there are more discussions being had about branded podcasts. Nearly half (48%) of ad agency staffers surveyed said they have discussed the option either internally or with their clients. That compares to fewer than a third who said that in 2020.
Advertising Perceptions found that there is also more than just talk about branded podcasts. Plenty of advertisers and marketers are taking the next step and producing their own series. The survey data shows 38% of ad agencies report their clients have used a branded podcast for advertising or marketing purposes. That is a 40% year-to-year increase.
Among marketers, 42% said they have turned to a branded podcast to get their message out, a 55% year-to-year increase. Even factoring in the pandemic dip seen in 2020, the usage rates among both ad agencies and marketers are higher than in 2019.
Branded podcasts is growing among agencies, with the survey data showing 29% of ad agencies and 23% of marketers reporting they are currently using a branded podcast. “Both sides said this is something that they are taking advantage of,” said Vetrano.
But a sizable number say they are looking to join the podcaster ranks. Advertising Perceptions says nearly a third (31%) of ad agencies and a quarter (26%) of marketers said they expect to create a branded podcast in the next six months.
“The future of branded podcasts is really bright,” Vetrano said.
Amplifi Media CEO Steve Goldstein, who works with marketers creating branded podcasts, says unlike in podcasting’s earlier days, brands need to focus more on the content they are creating and marketing the shows produced.
“This is the toughest category in all of podcasts. That’s because people are pretty much allergic to ads,” said Goldstein. “So it’s really incumbent to the advertiser to be really smart about it. And that’s why this is such a tough category.”
In a vlog post, Goldstein said that content originality is especially important for branded shows, offering a unique point of view. He suggested brands need to “think big” and not simply offer another interview show.
Goldstein said one potential avenue to success is creating a podcast that augments or showcases a brand. It’s a strategy he points out a lot of television networks are deploying to bring more attention to their TV series. Goldstein says other brands can do the same.
Yet the biggest challenge for many marketers may be landing on an idea that fits their brand. “This is where a lot of branded podcasts get stuck. They just want to pile on and put something out to check the box and do what’s hip and new. But if it doesn’t fit the brand, I think it’s going to run into real problems,” said Goldstein. “We think branded podcasts are not right for everybody.”
Sound That Brands created a checklist of nine questions brands should ask themselves to determine if they should create a branded podcast. Read it HERE.