This week, 360i hosted its first-ever Podfront Day, an event dedicated to educating employees about the latest and greatest in the podcast and audio landscape. The event brought together marketing experts from several of 360i’s media partners—including iHeartMedia, Spotify, Pandora, Megaphone (formerly Panoply Media), and NPR—for a day of insights, learning, and wide-ranging conversation about the rapidly evolving world of audio marketing.
Podfront Day sessions included presentations on topics like “The Podcast Listener” and “Writing The Creative Playbook for Audio,” a roundtable discussion hosted by Campaign U.S. Editor Lindsay Stein, and interactive breakout sessions for 360i’s integrated media team. Below, we take a look at five key lessons from this week’s event.
1. Your voice actor is just as important, if not MORE important, than your message.
During a presentation covering general audio best practices and vertical-specific learnings in Finance & Travel, Megaphone Head of Sales & Marketing Ken Lagana shared fascinating insights on the importance of choosing the right voice talent. Thanks to years of creative testing supplemented by attribution and brand studies, Megaphone has found that male and female voices communicate different values, and that accents help drive consideration. For example, results from various brand lift studies found that audio marketing featuring male voices resulted in a brand being associated with innovation, while female voices resulted in the brand being associated with trustworthiness. Marketers should consider how they can convey brand values not only through scriptwriting, but also through the implicit associations that listeners form with different types of voices.
2. Yes, the podcast landscape is exploding, but it still has a ways to go.
iHeartMedia SVP of Marketing and Brand Innovation Andy Kelly shared that the podcast space has grown 47% over the past 2 years, but broadcast radio still makes up 84% of all audio activity. This means that podcasts may not be the right channel for everyone, especially marketers looking to drive mass reach. Podcasts index more highly among users earning a HHI 100K+, and also among those who have completed a 4-year college degree or are pursuing a graduate degree. If you’re looking to drive targeted awareness, particularly among a younger, more affluent audience, podcasts are an ideal platform to test.
3. Listeners are HIGHLY attentive.
In a co-presentation delivered by our partners at NPR and Spotify, we learned that podcast listeners are almost always giving their full attention. NPR shared Edison research, which found that that consumers are “not doing anything else, just listening” when they listen to Podcasts. Later, Spotify reported that 3 out of 4 of their users give their favorite shows their full attention. These results are a stark contrast to the rest of the digital landscape, where banner blindness and second-screen attention drive marketers to come up with creative new ways to draw attention and circumvent the gap. Since podcast listeners are highly engaged, marketers should make the most of their audio spot to drive favorability and encourage action.
4. Measurement is getting more advanced.
Long gone are the days when a simple tally of the total number of downloads could serve as the single KPI for podcast marketing. With vanity URLs, promotion codes, and opportunities to retarget podcast listeners on other digital channels, marketers can now understand how their Podcast advertising drives Consideration, Conversion, and Influence. Consider your business objectives and brainstorm with your podcast rep to build a creative solution for measuring your podcast activity, ideally in a way that’s similar to measurement and metrics for the rest of your digital activity.
5. Podcasts provide versatile solutions for telling your brand story.
While most media channels fall into the category of either “contextual alignment” or “data-led targeting,” podcasts are able to straddle both successfully. Through embedded spots, which live on forever, you can tell your brand story not only to the audience that listens today, but also to the audience tuning in six months from now. On the other hand, if you’re looking to drive seasonal relevance or promote various product launches, you may want to select Dynamic Ads that are interchangeable between different placements and times. When deciding which creative format to pursue, always take a step back and evaluate your overall objective to ensure that your campaign up is set up for success.