So, let the record reflect this is NOT new news. The popularity of podcasts has been accelerating since 2014! It is no longer an ’emerging trend,’ but one that has continued to grow, and shows no sign of stopping in 2017 and beyond.
So let’s dive into the numbers!
Who Listens To Podcasts?
According to Edison Research, more people are listening now than ever before; with 24% of the US population having listened to a podcast in the past month. That’s more than 77 million people!
And the demographics may surprise you. 56% of podcast listeners are male, and 44% female – with the majority of the users between the ages of 18-34. Beyond that, 84% have an educational background that consists of some university all the way up to grad school and beyond. And unsurprisingly, 94% of them are also active on social media, but that’s a topic for another day.
How Long Do They Listen?
On average, they listen to roughly 5 hours and 7 minutes a week; 15% of US podcast listeners even listen 10 hours or more! Crazy right?!
So What’s The Appeal?
Podcasts “switch things up!” Podcasts, expel the use of screens, and grab the listeners’ attention in a new and engaging way. No more ‘screen zombie,’ scrolling through newsfeed after newsfeed, app after app. Once a listener finds a podcast that interests them, the rest is up to their ears and imagination.
According to Paul Zak, the Director of the Center for Neuroeconomics Studies at Claremont Graduate University: ‘A good story is a good story from the brain’s perspective – whether it’s audio, or video, or text. It’s the same kind of activation in the brain.’ The medium makes no difference. In other words, it comes down to the content.
Remember that saying we as social media marketers always come back to: ‘Content is King’? With podcasts, content really IS king. You have to be attuned to your audience, what interests them, what keeps them engaged, etc. Like social media, your audience is crucial from the very start. But what some don’t realise is that podcasts DON’T have to be fictional stories. Some of the best podcasts are non-fictional, and even interviews. Such as Sarah Koenig’s famed Serial and Marc Maron’s WTF with Marc Maron. It’s just all about keeping listeners on their toes and anticipating what’s next.
Shameless plug: Check out WeRSM’s SoundCloud for our weekly 12 Questions podcast with social media professionals across the globe!
And in contrast to video, production quality matters much less. And not because it’s JUST audio. The best way to engage the above listeners is through your voice; human pauses, exaggeration on necessary events, words and more. Think of it as a conversation. The more human the voice, the more real a story or interview can come across. Not to mention it makes for cheaper production costs for creators too. 😉
The final plus is accessibility. Podcasts aren’t like an unpaid Spotify, where you are only able to listen online. With podcasts, you can listen to them anywhere – anytime. All you have to do is download your desired episodes on your phone, before heading out and… no Internet needed! Plug in your headphones and get immersed.
Podcasts can transport you whether you are on the tube, on the street, or in the car! Podcasts have the ability to engage listeners in a way video never will. Through your imagination.
Audio is making waves in the industry, and you can too. Stay tuned for more on the rise of podcasts and digital audio. I’ve got more to share with you.
Have a favourite podcast? Whether your a listener, or a creator, we want to hear your favourites!
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