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The growing popularity of podcasts in marketing communications

Podcasts have been around for over a decade now, providing a means for individuals and businesses – and public relations teams – to connect with audiences in an audio format. For many firms, regular podcasts form a core part of their marketing communications strategy, but there are still many businesses not using the medium.

Despite how long podcasts have been around, they’re still a long way from the point of market saturation; demand for podcasts is ever growing, and that’s backed up by the 2017 Infinite Dial Study, published by Edison Research and Triton Digital earlier this year. Edison Research has been gathering their survey-based data on podcast listenership since 2006, and their latest report shows that podcasts are a still-growing arena, with plenty of room for businesses and public relations teams that don’t currently use the medium to move into.

According to the Infinite Dial Study, 40 percent of Americans over the age of 12 say that they have listened to at least one podcast, while 24 percent say they have listened to a podcast within the past month – the number of monthly podcast listeners is up from 21 percent in the previous year. The study also showed that 60 percent of Americans are now familiar with the term “podcasting” – that’s a 22 percent rise over the past two years. Clearly, the podcast is a medium with a great deal of potential when it comes to public relations and marketing.

While the growth in podcasting represents an opportunity for those businesses willing to find ways of utilizing it, it also represents a potential threat for businesses that are slow to adapt their marketing communications strategies. Commenting on the Infinite Dial Study’s findings, Tom Webster, Edison’s vice president of strategy, noted that the growth in podcasts goes hand-in-hand with increasing consumption of music streaming services such as Pandora and Spotify, and that these increases are in part driven by the proliferation of “smart speaker” products such as Amazon Echo and Google Home.

What that means in terms of marketing communications is that more and more people, and especially younger people, are moving away from broadcast media that allow interruptive forms of advertising – such as traditional television and radio – and towards advertising-free and advertising-light media where they can curate the content. Public relations professionals would do well to heed this shift and plan their future strategies accordingly. At Beyond Fifteen, we strongly encourage clients to pay close attention to this expanding segment of the market.

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