Latest Take on Podcasting, Radio and Audio

CRN’s Collisions division officially jumped into podcasting about a year ago, and what a year!

During this period, we learned three major things:

  1. Podcasting is everything it’s cracked up to be: fun, exciting, profitable, engaging, growing, creative, experimental and filled with promise. Producers are creating, people are listening, and companies are advertising.
  2. Audio—reaching people by sound—remains a powerfully engaging motivator. People are spending more time than ever listening on more devices and apps, and savvy advertisers are taking advantage.
  3. Radio is stubbornly far from dead. Its audience continues to grow, and advertisers continue to get results. In the face of many new audio platforms, radio still offers the ability to reach a massive audience in every age group.

Here’s the skinny on podcasting from a marketer’s perspective. In 2016, advertisers such as Burger King, GEICO and Vonage jumped in. Many others, such as State Farm, Starbucks and eBay, are having custom podcasts produced.
At Collisions, we developed innovative podcast campaigns for Pepsi and Toyota, among others, which went beyond advertising within the podcasts themselves.
For Pepsi, which sponsored our “Sasquatch Music Festival Podcast,” we not only provided the full Monty of podcast exposure (pre-roll, endorsements, social media, etc.), but also produced episodes onsite at the festival from Pepsi’s Kola House, interviewing major acts in front of a live audience.
Our “Car and Driver Podcast” featured Jay Leno this month. We also created podcasts on the Car and Driver feed exclusively for Toyota featuring Syd Mead, the design futurist. The Toyota podcast was a key component of a major integration, including magazine and online content, events, Facebook Live, Twitter chats, and more.  
Why the fuss? Why the $100+ CPMs, which would make the most thick-skinned media buyer blush?
An engagement study by the Interactive Advertising Bureau and Edison Research found that more than 65 percent of people who listened to podcasts responded to an ad with either a purchase or query for more information—making it more effective than any other digital platform.
Podcasting offers audiences the content they’re looking for when they want it. People listen on their mobile devices in isolation when commuting, working out, or, I dare say, when they are supposed to be working.
The most recent study revealed a 45 percent year-over-year bump in ad revenue. The rate of growth is expected to outpace all digital through 2020.
But most importantly, it’s fun. Podcasts are fun to listen to, produce, and market. It’s the most creative platform in sound today, and early advertising successes show we’ll enjoy podcasting for years to come.

By the way, we also recently enjoyed producing Dick Stockton’s revealing interview with Alex Rodriguez—A-Rod’s first interview since leaving the Yankees—on the STOCKTON! Podcast.
So what about radio?

Radio keeps astounding me, in spite of itself. Group ownership continues to anesthetize the industry, limiting music choices, sticking 12 ads together in deadly long blocks, and squeezing out news and local programming wherever possible.
But like Jeff Goldblum said in the movie Jurassic Park, “Life finds a way.” Some 250 million people are listening to AM/FM radio every month. Radio is everywhere, and smartphones make the medium more ubiquitous, not only through streaming but with some services activating chips that receive FM signals.
Marketers should look at radio as a blank canvas, not a spot advertising platform. They can reach 90 percent of everyone—where they live, work, and play. They should think about what would grab their attention as a listener and how sound could impact their own purchase decisions.
Audio overall

81% of America owns a smartphone, making audio available 24/7. More than 170 million people are listening online and 85% of us still listen to regular radio in cars. And while the audience becomes more fragmented the more audio platforms arise, listening is up to 28 hours a week.

What impresses me is the one-two punch of content that captivates the on-demand podcast audience, extended through the wide reach of targeted radio. Now that’s a story.

Stay tuned.




Barry Berman