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How Brands can be Heard over New Waves of Podcast Content

Podcasts have been the talk of the town over the last few years. Michelle Obama launched her own series and controversy has surrounded Joe Rogan’s. Now consumption is higher than ever, with over 19.1m listeners in the UK last year (Statista). With core streaming platforms building out their ad models and opportunities, brands have increasingly invested in the channel and, with increased competition, the fight for attention is on.

Set to be the biggest growth channel this year, with 20% of UK consumers planning to listen more in 2022 (YouGov) Podcast audiences have increased, so advertisers have followed. The total UK ad market grew by 26.4% from 2020 to 2021 (AA/WARC), with Podcast ad spend up 35% to £46m (Statista).

Accelerated in part by a restricted world, the relative ease of Podcast production allows creators to excel and talent to flourish. It’s no surprise that consumption is up: content is better than ever and people are listening more to combat screen fatigue.

While Podcast ads may seem expensive on a CPT basis, attention adjusted rates are much more favourable. Given Nielsen’s finding that host-read ads drive a brand recall rate of 71%, direct in-headphone listening is gaining attention.

Attention is a core precursor to Mental Availability (Karen Nelson-Field) and campaigns with a large impact on mental availability have a stronger impact on all brand metrics (Rob Brittain and Peter Field, 2021).

Measurement has evolved with the channel, moving from DR redemption codes to Brand Uplift studies and attribution possibilities via first party data connections. This measurable effectiveness is being seen by brands and earning Podcasts their place on plans.

But will people become ‘deaf to the ads’ with clutter increasing; and how can brands continue to cut through?

As with all channels, creative is one of the strongest factors in campaign success and ideal for leveraging disproportionate levels of attention. Digital Audio offers a wealth of opportunities beyond sponsored ‘Host Reads’ for relevance.

Dynamic creative messaging, 360 binaural ads and utilising data and context for personalisation of ads are all fantastic tools in the battle to be heard. A Million Ads research shows that dynamically personalised creative delivers on average 52% uplift in Ad Recall, along with a 2.4x increase in Conversions.

New opportunities abound to create great experiences and relevance for listeners, such as Gousto’s ‘That Sounds Delicious’, matching Spotify listener habits with dinner recommendations and Coral’s bespoke series ‘All To Play For’.

Podcasts are here to stay, but attention must be gained. Brands who embrace the medium as a soundboard for creativity will thrive in the space, continuing to cut through when ad fatigue sets in.