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Podcasters Should Embrace “Social Audio”

Latest research may require a rethink of the social dynamics of podcasting

During last week’s Facebook Live webcast, Edison Research Senior VP Tom Webster shared some insights about podcasting from the latest Infinite Dial survey. He concluded the presentation with three take-aways to help podcasters get a bigger share of the voice audience. First, explain the content of podcasts, not the technology. Second, promote podcasts through “push” campaigns, rather than “pull” techniques such as discovery. Third, embrace social audio.

[Promote Podcasts Through Push, Not Discovery]

[Explain the Content of Podcasts, Not the Technology]

Webster described a smart audio study that Edison completed in partnership with NPR. One of the surprising results is that smart speakers are beginning to make listening to audio a social event. “We’ve always defined podcasting as an intimate medium, something that happens between your ears,”’ said Webster. “But now, it’s becoming a fun thing for groups, families and couples to do.” He added that this is really coming full circle, because families used to listen to radio in their living rooms during the 1930s and ’40s. It is also the first time that millennials and younger groups are listening to podcasts without earbuds.

“Podcasters need to deliver ‘water cooler moments’ in the way that talk radio and great morning shows can do,” said Webster, adding that a rethink may be in order regarding both the content of podcasts and how they’re promoted to make them appeal more to groups.

Reflecting on the impact of smart speakers, Webster immediately thinks of the car environment. “When you can simply ask for the podcast that you want to hear while driving, it becomes easier to listen without crashing your car,” noted Webster. “Our research shows that as it becomes easier to listen to audio, people listen more, and smart speakers are increasing all of that.”