To podcast or not to podcast—that is the question.

With the right people, strategy, and tools, a podcast can be a unique way to connect with prospects and clients. The format blends human connection and branded content, and provides a listen-when-you-want, on-the-go option for reaching your target audience while commuting, exercising, or spending the day out of the office. A podcast can also refresh a tired content or social media strategy.

Now, podcasting may not be right for every business. But if you’re considering starting a podcast, check out the 8 stats below on why you might want to back this dark horse of online marketing.

8 stats on podcasting for content marketing

1. 79% of marketers report their organizations are shifting to branded content. Tweet This!

Why does branded content matter? Well, there’s a lot of content available on the Web. With so many things competing for attention, customers forget where they saw or heard something of value. If your competition is in all the same places you are, why not be the first to take a step forward by creating a podcast?

Want a more passive marketing opportunity? Research popular podcasts and serve as a show sponsor for a relevant show with lots of listeners in your target audience. For a small fee, you are able to get into the ears of listeners whether the show is live or played on-demand, and you get a special shout-out during the program.

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2. Global smartphone use will reach 2 billion by 2015. Tweet This!

Smartphones change content consumption habits dramatically. With more powerful phones available people can access richer online resources including video, radio, and podcasts. More baby boomers are also choosing to move ahead with a smartphone purchase. This means more sets of “ears” in a variety of age ranges with the right tools to listen to a podcast. This also equates to a huge opportunity for companies to do market research on the topics, issues, and challenges relevant to a diverse client age groups.

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3. Only 3% of marketers use podcasting in social media marketing, but 32% have a desire to learn how to use podcasting and 23% have plans to increase podcasting. Tweet This!

Companies already see the untapped value of expanding into podcasting, but here are some specific value points:

  • Podcasts offer a way to build recognition for certain SEO keywords
  • Podcasts appeal to people who like to listen instead of read
  • A podcast is like a TV show that offers a weekly reason for listeners to come back, and allows hosts to break content up into key talking points to expand on throughout the show.
  • It’s very easy to share a link to a podcast on social media, encouraging social shares.

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4. 67% of podcast listeners don’t mind sponsorship messages and occasionally find them useful, compared to 6% of television or commercial radio listeners. Tweet This!

While this may change as podcasting grows in popularity, it’s an interesting behavior shift. If consumers are listening to specific content they find interesting and learn from, they’re more willing to listen to the subtle style of sponsorship promotions—especially if targeted to fill specific customer needs.

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5. Podcast consumers index very highly for social networking behaviors. Tweet This!

This is the “gold mine” niche of online users—tech-aware, social media savvy, and well-connected online. Podcast consumers often become regular listeners on specific podcasts, which means they are more likely to trust in the sponsors featured in a show they already enjoy. It also increases the odds listeners will share information with their curated social media circles.

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6. 1 in 4 podcast consumers plug MP3 players or smartphones into the car audio system “nearly every day.” Tweet This!

The available market share comprised of commuters and travelers is enormous, and on-demand consumption of content is on the rise. Podcasts offer something fresh for people to passively consume, and they give listeners a reason to keep coming back.

For example, going to the gym? Cue up yesterday’s podcast. Trouble finding anything interesting on the radio while you drive to visit family? Search for interesting podcasts about something you always wanted to learn. There’s a lot of untapped potential here.

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7. During an annual survey, 15% of adults listened to a podcast in the month prior to the survey in 2014, up from 9% in 2008. Tweet This!

Podcasting is becoming more mainstream. More adults are listening to them on a monthly basis (at least) and, as the stats above show, those who do listen are a socially connected and engaged group—a powerful audience to tap. This makes podcasts a strategic part of a social media strategy, and opens up the opportunity for companies to leverage or invest in sponsorship as part of their online marketing.

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8. Apple has surpassed 1 billion subscriptions for podcasts via iTunes. Tweet This!

While I’ve focused on the podcast itself, there’s an improved ease of access for people who want to share great content, too. Centralized podcast repositories like iTunes, Stitcher, and live streaming apps offer a simple way for people to find content of interest, especially when it’s supported by an effective SEO strategy.

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As podcasting transitions from a platform into a niche marketing stream, it’s worth looking at strategic ways it can support your online marketing efforts this year. Even giving podcast sponsorship a try can help your company access to a new crop of interested, active consumers.

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