Apple Adds In-Episode Analytics To Podcast For Better Audience Measurement

What Happened
As Apple announced at the WWDC event last week, the dedicated Podcast app will receive a makeover in the upcoming iOS 11. Now more details have emerged about this impending update, which will bring a new interface as well as some changes to how podcasts can be structured for better presentation. Users will also be able to download a full season of podcasts at once to get their fill.

More importantly, Apple is finally opening up the in-episode analytics of podcasts for content creators beyond simple episode downloads, which will allow podcasters to get detailed information such as how many people have listened to a particular episode and where listeners stop or skip.

The iOS podcast app, although only one of the many, many channels for podcast distribution, is arguably the most popular app for listening to podcasts. In fact, a 2016 survey found that Apple-device podcast downloads outpace Android downloads at a rate of 5.4 to 1. Overcast, another p0pular podcast app, launched its own in-app display ads earlier this year to help podcasters monetize their content.

What Brands Need To Do
According to a recent report by Edison Research, over 35 million people listened to podcasts weekly in 2016. The same report also found that U.S. podcast listeners on average earn $10,000 more than the average American, making them a highly valuable customer base for brands to target.

Yet, despite the sizable high-value audience base, many brands have been hesitant to explore podcast advertising due to its lack of accountable ROI measurement. This important update to the podcast app should spark some new interests to podcast advertising, as the in-episode analytics will allow podcasters to provide more accurate audience measurement, such as how many listeners actually listened to the episodes they downloaded and whether or not they skipped the sponsors’ messages. In a sense, it partially solves the “viewability issue” for podcast ads, giving brands more reassurance to try out podcast advertising.

These newly added metrics, which brands will need to work with podcast creators to access, should provide more transparency and clarity to podcast advertisers regarding their campaigns. In addition, brands with their own branded podcasts should leverage it to access better measurement to gauge user interests and engagements.


Source: Re/code

InterContinental Hotels Launches Branded Podcast To Intrigue Travelers

What Happened
InterContinental Hotels is joining a growing list of brands developing branded audio content to reach potential customers. The British multinational hospitality giant launched a three-part podcast series titled “Stories of the InterContinental Life,” with each episode diving into the stories behind an InterContinental property and exploring travel themes of fascination, worldliness, and empathy. According to InterContinental’s internal research, its guests are twice as likely to listen to podcasts than the general population.

What Brands Should Do
Branded podcasts are relatively cheap to produce and provide a good way for brands to connect with targeted, niche audiences and capture their attention. An estimated 57 million Americans are listening to podcasts regularly according to Edison Research. At a time when ad blockers and ad-free streaming services are helping millions of viewers avoid ads, brands should consider working with content creators to experiment with formats beyond traditional ads, such as branded content and native ads, to win back consumer attention.

For more information on how brands should leverage interesting branded content to earn consumer attention, check out the Ad Avoidance section of our Outlook 2016.


Source: Digiday

Apple To Add “Spoken Editions” Of Publishers’ Content To iTunes

What Happened
Apple is testing a “Spoken Edition” category under the podcast section of iTunes, which will feature short-form audio content from major publishers such as Time, Wired, and Forbes, offering listeners a new way to consume news and editorial content. Like podcasts, the audio content will contain ads. iTunes is open to most podcasting networks and publishers, and some publishers are working with SpokenLayer to convert their written content into audio clips.

What Brands Need To Do
With the recent podcast renaissance and the rise of conversational interfaces, audio content has been attracting a lot of media attention. Brands such as GE, State Farm, and eBay are already seeing success in consumer engagement via branded audio content. This upcoming iTunes category offers brands a new channel to reach consumers with sponsored audio content or ads.



Sources: TechCrunch

eBay Receives Positive Results From Branded Podcast

What Happened
Brands have been jumping in on the podcast bandwagon since Serial blew up in 2014, and now they are getting some positive results from their branded audio content. Brands including eBay, GE, and State Farm all created their own podcasts as a way to reach potential customers and drum up customer engagement. eBay, for example, partnered with Brooklyn-based Gimlet Creative to develop a branded podcast series called Open for Business, a “curriculum-style” guide to starting a business. It landed on the No. 1 spot for business podcasts in iTunes when it launched in June, reaching more than 200% of its initial download goal.

What Brands Need To Do
Branded podcasts may be costly to produce, but it is a good way for brands to connect with targeted niche audiences and capture their attentions. At a time when ad blockers and ad-free streaming services are helping millions of viewers avoid ads, brands should consider working with content creators to experiment with new ways, such as sponsored content and native ads, to win back the consumer attention.

For more information on how brands should leverage interesting branded content to earn consumer attention, check out the Ad Avoidance section of our Outlook 2016.


Source: AdWeek

Amazon’s Alexa Now Supports Long-Form Audio Streaming

What Happened
Amazon has updated Alexa Skill Kit to add support for long-form audio streaming as well as playback controls, making it possible for developers to create Alexa skills that incorporate audio content like podcasts, news stories, and live streams. Previously, Alexa only supported short audio content up to 90 seconds long.

What Brands Need To Do
Thanks to the Serial-led podcast renaissance in recent years, many brands have tried their hands at sponsoring podcasts to reach listeners. Some brands, including Prudential, Umpqua Bank, and GE, even created their own podcasts as part of their content marketing. This new Alexa feature allows brands to incorporate their existing audio content into Alexa skills for a richer user experience. It also opens the door for brands to work with developers to experiment with other long-form audio content to further engage Alexa users.

The Lab has extensive experience with building Alexa skills and helping brands navigate the new realities that conversational interfaces are set to bring. If you’re interested in learning more, please reach out and schedule a visit to the Lab. For additional information on how brands can effectively reach consumers on conversational interfaces, please check out the first section of our Outlook 2016.


Source: Amazon Developer


Forbes Launches New Podcast Network Targeting Millennial Women

What Happened
On Tuesday, Forbes launched a new podcast network with ten new podcasts focusing on entrepreneurial millennial women. Simply named “Forbes Podcasts,” the network will feature primarily female hosts and business-first content by or for millennial women. All Forbes Podcasts series are available on iTunes.

What Brands Need To Do
Podcasts provide a growing opportunity for brands to reach a niche audience with a  specific interest with sponsorships and native ads. An estimated 57 million Americans are listening to podcasts regularly according to Edison Research. Another recent study also found podcast listeners are more likely to follow brands. For brands looking to target millennial women, this new podcast network from Forbes should provide a great new channel to effectively reach this valuable demographic.


Source: AdWeek

Google Brings Podcasts To Google Play

What Happened
Google is ready to challenge Apple’s close ties to podcasts, whose name derived from Apple’s iPod. The Alphabet company is readying the launch of a dedicated page for podcasts in Google Play, allowing podcast creators to upload content directly to Google Play Music. Podcasts will also be included in the Google Play Music app, making it the first first-party app for podcast listening on Android devices.   

What Brands Need To Do
Thanks to last year’s surprise hit “Serial” from This American Life, podcasting has been enjoying a surge in audience interest and resultingly, marketing opportunities, where brands aim to reach a targeted audience of specified interests with sponsorships and native ads. Earlier this month, Coca Cola struck a content deal with iHeartMedia to produce a coke-branded music podcast to target teens. Google’s added support for podcasts on Android devices will no doubt help further expand the reach of podcasting and solidify its status as a burgeoning marketing channel.


Source: Re/Code

Coke Partners With iHeartMedia to Target Teens With Podcast

What Happened
Coca-Cola is teaming up with iHeartMedia, parent company of popular internet radio network iHeartRadio, to target teens with a branded podcast. Named “iHeartRadio First Taste Fridays With Coca-Cola,” the podcast is billed as a source for “first tastes of the hottest new music and behind the scenes artist interviews.” This partnership marks iHeartMedia’s first foray into podcasting, a medium that has sparked renewed interest from marketers following the runaway success of Serial last year.

What Brands Need To Do
Podcasts provide a growing opportunity for brands to reach a targeted niche audience of specified interests with sponsorships and native ads. A recent study also found podcast listeners are usually active users of social media and are more likely to follow brands. This branded content deal cements podcasting’s place in mainstream media landscape as a burgeoning marketing channel, which brands of all types should heed to.


Source: AdAge

Event Recap: NPR’s First-Ever Podcast Upfront

Thanks largely to the Serial craze, podcast have enjoyed a meteoric rise in both reputation and audience size over the last year. Consequently, podcast sponsorship has become an uncharted platform for brands to reach the desirable Millennial audience. On Wednesday, NPR, WBEZ, and WNYC jointly hosted the first-ever podcast upfront in New York City to demonstrate the reach and influence of podcasting media.

Serial Represents The Tipping Point
In the normally low-profile world of podcasting, Serial, a WBEZ spinoff of This American Life, was a certified global sensation. Since its debut last October, it quickly became the most popular podcast in the world, and has achieved an impressive 82 million in total downloads for its season one episodes. The attention its breakout success brought to podcasting is undeniable, as by now one-third of Americans have listened to a podcast.

Standalone Podcast App Drew In New Attention
In June 2005, Apple released iTunes 4.9 with native support for podcasts, bringing them into public awareness. With the update of iOS 7, Apple extrapolated the podcast features from its music app and created a free-to-download, standalone app for easier podcast listening and discovery. And most recently with iOS 8, Apple has made the podcast app a mandatory app, which is pre-installed on every phone and cannot be deleted. Undoubtedly, this should intrigue and encourage legions of new users to discover podcasts.

Podcast Sponsorships Work Well As Native Ads
Tom Webster from Edison Research also attended the event to share some highlights from their new research on the preferences and behaviors of the podcast audience. “Public radio is in a unique position to deliver podcast audiences to sponsors,” he remarked, “Our new research shows that amongst all 25-44 year-old listeners, 46% consider public radio podcasts to be essential listening.” More importantly, the research also revealed that the majority of the listeners felt better about the sponsoring brands, such as Serial sponsor Mailchimp (or rather, Mailkimp), and are more likely to make a purchase after hearing the brand messages indigenously presented in podcasts.



Radio Killed The Podcast Star

Read original story on: AdWeek

At its first ever “Soundfront”, iHeartMedia pitched a dozen original podcast programs to radio ad buyers, citing the recent breakout hit podcast “Serial” as evidence of the format’s rising prominence. The 12 podcasts will run on iHeartRadio’s app, iHeartMedia websites and possibly some of the media giant’s radio stations, and some will be hosted by celebrities, such as Jared Leto and Jaime Pressly.

The radio behemoth is also teaming up with Snapchat to push a social marketing campaign on the latter’s platform as an effort to reach the younger audiences, who typically choose music streaming over radio, but also make up the mainstay of podcast audiences.