With the growth of podcasting in South Africa, it has become a subject of interest to many media novices and experts alike. We are all in the quest for knowledge on podcasting, and specifically, its effectiveness as an advertising medium.
According to data from iono.fm, in South Africa there around 3.5 million monthly audio streams and downloads across 1 000 audio channels from 300+ content providers.
Which leads us to the big question: How to best utilise these media platforms in order develop media strategies that reach these audiences effectively?
What is podcasting?
The simple definition of podcasts are downloadable digital audio files, usually released in a series of episodes that make up a show or collection. A podcatcher is an application you can use to subscribe to podcasts; the podcatcher automatically downloads podcasts as they are posted to a site.
The podcast movement began in the early 2000s when it was first known as audioblogging and has its roots dating back to the 1980s. The term ‘podcast’ was coined from Apple’s iPod and came into being from a mash up of ‘iPod’ and ‘broadcasting’. Podcasting began to catch popular attention in 2004.
A survey by Edison Research estimates that 67 million Americans above the age of 12 listen to podcasts at least monthly. 42 million listen on a weekly basis, which is nearly the entire South African population of adults above the age of 15.
Audioboom states that there is a distinction between Podcast and On-demand audio.
On-demand audio is broad. It refers to any digital audio downloaded by request and not listened to via a live stream. On-demand audio includes full shows/podcasts, segments from shows/podcasts, and standalone audio stories or clips. They can predominately be found on Apps such as Sound Cloud etc.
Podcasts are a subset of on-demand audio. They consist of recurring shows, series or audio content collections.
Audioboom also differentiates between podcasts (on-demand audio) and broadcast (radio)
Time. Radio shows have strict time constraints. Like TV shows, they begin and end at a specific time and include scheduled breaks for ads. Podcasts, however, can be any length and don’t need scheduled breaks.
Audience. To be sustainable, most radio shows need to appeal to a broad audience in order for many listeners to tune in and stay tuned in. Podcasts on the other hand, can be sustained by niche audiences who rally around specific audio content online. Because of this, on-demand audio is often perceived as more experimental.
Is advertising on podcasts effective?
Podcast listening and advertising is still in the introduction phase of the product life cycle although it’s quickly moving to the growth phase. Podcasting is catching on so fast that even other ‘non-radio’ media groups such as Soccer Laduma, eNCA and Tiso Blackstar are also playing in the space fuelling growth in podcast listenership.
The question that advertisers and or marketers pose is advertising on podcasts effective? Well according to a Midroll Media recall study of 11 123 podcast listeners demonstrates that audiences that listen to podcast ads have a robust recall of brand names and product features, resulting in an intent to buy advertised products. Its overall effectiveness will improve as brands explore unchartered territories in terms of creative license.
Podcasts let brands reach consumers with an authentic message as 90% of all respondents from the Midroll Media study say they listened to the target ad, and did not skip or fast-forward through it. Brands benefit from the influence and trusted relationship that exists between presenters and listeners when they run ad campaigns on podcasts. This is demonstrated by high levels of purchase intent after hearing an ad on a podcast. 61% of the Midroll Media study respondents indicated that they have bought a product or service they learned about from a podcast ad.
Podcasting is mostly effective for sponsorships as it aligns the content of the podcast to the advertiser. For instance a podcast around personal finance would be effective for a bank that is running a campaign that educates consumers on how to manage their money.
Who accounts for podcast media placements?
We can see that on-demand audio and podcast listening is on the uptake and like hunters that follow the trail of their hunt so do advertisers. Advertisers follow consumers where ever they go and custodians of advertiser’s media budgets have to understand how to best utilise these media platforms in order develop media strategies that reach these audiences effectively.
With that said from a media strategy perspective, which media type accounts for podcast media placements? Does podcast advertising take above the line (ATL) radio share of the budget or does it take its share from digital media? How about the media plan? Which planner plans the media? Is it the ATL implementation planner or the digital implementation planner? How about reporting and post campaign analysis? Who is responsible for that? How about the metrics? How do we measure performance? Who is accountable?
The other critical aspect is that each media type has its own KPI that measures performance for instance for ATL CPP (Cost Per Point) is the core metric and for Digital Media the core metric to monitor is CPA (Cost Per Acquisition). In essence, ATL Media is fundamentally about reach and awareness across a specific target audience while digital media is fundamentally about performance and optimising campaigns for conversions.
Podcast listening and advertising is yet to peak in South Africa; the trend is only beginning.
Watch the short video on podcasting here:
Nkateko Mongwe is a consumer, media, marketing and digital data analyst, and data strategist by profession. He has been at leading media owner companies in South Africa, accumulating experience in data, research and in-depth understanding of media and marketing strategy, planning, and insights. He is passionate about the quantifiable detail in decision making. Currently he is the Digital Data Analyst at one of the biggest media buying and investment companies in sub Saharan Africa.
- Deloitte Digital Media: Rise of On-demand Content