Shifts in Podcasting Amid COVID-19, featuring Cynthia Johnson from Bell + Ivy

  • By Emily French
  • in
  • on April 21, 2020

Digital transformation is largely the reason why there are so many unique enclaves and communities today. Just a brief time ago, audiences were limited to just 20 channels on cable and now we’re living in a world where audiences have well over 900,000 podcasts to choose from. Whether you’re a fan of true crime, Tiger King, or knitting, there’s a podcast for you. And prior to the COVID-19 pandemic, podcast advertising was seeing a huge come-up, with listenership increasing by 16% (104 million listeners) in 2019. This surge in listeners came with an uptick in advertisers utilizing the channel in their marketing efforts — IAB found that 75% of media buyers last year made podcast ad buys, up from 63% in 2018. 

It’s clear why brands and agencies love the medium. Demographic research shows that 45% of podcast listeners have an HHI of $75,000+ and 85% have attended college, a highly sought-after audience segment that can oftentimes be difficult to reach. And, developing creativity is a quick and simple process requiring very little or no production — in most cases, it’s as simple as writing a script. 

Marketers can get extremely granular in their messaging when tailoring the script to fit the podcast, and Spotify has paved the way for targeting capabilities. Their newest offering, Streaming Ad Insertion (SAI), allows for advertisers to target listeners based on their age, gender, location and listening history. This comes along with improved tracking capabilities with metrics including reach, frequency, impressions, and various audience insights. 

This calls to question: can podcasting mirror the success of radio prior to digital disruption? Our Advisory Board member, Cynthia Johnson from Bell + Ivy weighs in. “I think that data is only as useful as the people who read it. If brands focus on reaching people where they are and consider their mindset, then yes. Radio had the luxury of knowing that at 8am most people are in their cars heading to work. They could speak to their audience. Brands trying this with Spotify will have to look at various data sets to understand the consumer’s behavior at any given time, as well as their location. If that can be done, then yes, it will be very disruptive.”

With advertising budgets shrinking and consumer behavior evolving, podcasting is also being disrupted amidst the COVID-19 pandemic. To start, audiences’ interests have changed. True crime, a growing genre in the podcast world, has seen a 30% drop whereas podcasts related to health, like “This Week in Virology” is seeing upwards of a 900% increase in listenership. 

In the “new normal”, what was once on the fringe has now become the mainstream. 

Podtrac recently reported that downloads have fallen 10% since the beginning of March, while unique listeners fell by 20%. This shift doesn’t come as a surprise as work commutes have come to a full stop, and with a dramatic increase in people being home-bound, media channels like cable saw an unprecedented uplift in ratings amid COVID-19 news coverage.

When we asked Cynthia for her thoughts on where podcasting will be going in the future, she answered, “Podcasts will become more diverse in its purpose and use. Companies will create internal content teams that create internal podcasts and content for employees (we are already seeing this), and marketers will have to start looking at the many places they can find voices to support these podcasts. Influencers on podcasts only do well when the host is known to the audience.”

Podcasts for internal communications is definitely something we can expect to see more of. Many companies have developed podcasts exclusively to share with their internal teams, like Matt Zelesko, the Chief Technology Officer of Comcast Cable. On the podcast Z Time, Matt talks industry predictions, interviews thought leaders and shares career insights as exclusive content for his team members. 

millennium-live-podcast

In times like this, it’s so easy for employees to feel disconnected from the workplace, and in many cases, company vision and strategy has become foggy. Creating a format where companies’ leaders can metaphorically sit down and have an informal conversation with their employees is invaluable during this time, and we can expect others to follow suit.

Fun Fact: Cynthia’s favorite podcast right now is Xander Schultz’ “What We Don’t Know”

Need a second opinion on digital marketing, personal branding, or PR strategy? Go here to check out what Bell + Ivy is doing. 

Leave a Reply

PUBLISHED BY Emily French

View all posts by Emily French

Related Posts

Technology

Bill Murphy Keynotes Upcoming Data and Technology Virtual Assembly!

It’s almost time for our Digital Enterprise CIO and Data Transformation Virtual Assembly, and we have some very exciting news to share. Bill Murphy, Former Senior Managing Director and CTO at Blackstone, is set to kick off the event as our Featured Keynote Speaker! Bill Murphy is a true technology expert who led Blackstone’s Innovations […]

Marketing , Retail , Technology

You’ve Uncovered the Weak Spots in Your Omnichannel Approach: Now What?

The COVD-19 crisis fundamentally changed the ways companies interact with their customers. Over a very short period of time, the traditional channels organizations used to communicate and transact with customers before the pandemic evaporated or changed dramatically. Any channels that relied on direct face-to-face interactions became at least temporarily unavailable. From in-store shopping to in-home […]

Marketing

Denise Lee Yohn Asks, “Who Owns Culture?”

As originally published by Denise Lee Yohn on Linkedin. A couple of people have recently posed to me the question, “Who owns culture in an organization?” On the one hand, it seems that everyone owns the culture – meaning, everyone plays a role in manifesting it. But on the other hand, the adage “if everyone is […]

Digital

Digital Workplace Transformation: Understanding and Improving Employee Experience

If you’re responsible for creating a digital workplace experience that supports the long-term success of both the business and the workforce, then you deserve a medal – that’s no easy task. To help take a little of the stress and uncertainty off your plate, Workgrid has put together a guide that details: The digital workplace challenges companies […]

Lovin’ Digital Diary?

Premium content to our readers interested in all things business.

Check Us Out!

Millennium Membership offers Fortune 1000 C-Level executives, leading public sector/government officials, and thought leaders across a variety of disciplines unique and exclusive opportunities to meet their peers, understand industry developments, and receive introductions to new technology and service advancements to help grow their career and overall company value.

About Millenium Alliance Next

About Digital Diary

Created to provide premium content to our readers interested in all things business.

Launched in 2017, Digital Diary was created to provide premium content to our readers interested in all things business. With our blogs catered to deliver the top news stories, trends, and interviews from across all industries.

Read all story Next

Interested in Millennium Membership?
Find out if you qualify here.

arrow