What is podcast advertising?

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Podcast advertising is a type of marketing that is linked to digital audio files on current affairs made available for download on the Internet. This type of advertising has no traditional format. It is often compared to blog or internet advertising as it is a new way to reach customers based on the social media phenomenon.

Traditional advertising consists of television commercials, print ads and radio spots made by professional agencies and sold to major production companies. Technological advances and the expansion of Internet access and use since the latter part of the 20th century have opened up new opportunities to reach consumers. Marketers developed advertising approaches that capitalized on the popularity of social media, the ability of ordinary citizens to contribute to the public wellspring of news, information and ideas.

Podcasts are a type of social media similar to radio shows produced by amateurs or citizens. The program producer chooses a theme and records a digital audio file, expressing experience or opinion. He uploads it to the Internet so it can be listened to by anyone interested, or makes it available through podcast archiving websites for download on an MP3 digital audio player. Professional content providers can also make their audio available as podcasts, radio shows and university lectures.

These days, anyone with a computer and some audio content can turn it into a podcast. Podcast advertising, however, only becomes available for podcasts that are published regularly with a sufficiently significant audience. The advertising format is either a full audio spot, as would be used on radio, or a sponsorship announced by the show’s producers.

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What marketers have discovered from watching podcasting develop is that as the listener takes charge of looking up a podcast on a certain topic, downloads and often subscribes to the show over time, they pay more attention to any attached advertisement that relates to the show’s theme. The on-demand nature of the experience appears to make podcast advertising more effective at grabbing attention than traditional advertising.

Media research consistently demonstrates that podcast audiences take some sort of action when presented with an advertisement attached to the show. If the ad requires a purchase, a significant percentage does. As a result, podcast advertising generates hundreds of millions of US dollars (USD) in revenue, although the infrastructure to get that revenue from marketers to show producers is far less reliable than in the traditional advertising market. Much of the ad revenue is directed towards professionally produced podcasts, such as public radio broadcasts or recorded lectures from major universities, rather than an ordinary amateur program produced in one’s bedroom.

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