Visual Podcasting Is Now a Thing and Here’s What Advertisers Should Know

It’s a good time to be a podcaster. Along with an ever-increasing number of creators, listenership is rising, and every media platform is looking to get into the distribution game—including visual media. In the past few months alone, YouTube released a podcast homepage and TikTok is rumored to be launching a new podcast app. What do these businesses know that others don’t, and how do advertisers capitalize on this momentum? Let’s discuss.

Younger listeners are attracted to visual media

While podcasting is rooted in audio, hosts are seeing their fanbase grow through video platforms. In fact, in a recent Voices study, 57% of respondents said that YouTube was their preferred podcast listening app. Because of this change in consumption, more and more creators are investing in video content—both long-form and short-form—so they can leverage clips and drive further engagement on social media platforms.

Rather than a change in existing listener habits, this shift is actually due to a new era of consumers—the “podcast pioneers.” This audience only started listening in the past year, and they’re typically younger than historical listeners. So, they choose to listen within apps they already know and love.

Visual programming unlocks native integrations

This net-new listener pool means an untapped audience for advertisers, and the visual element of it all is exciting. Podcasting often means that brands have to rely on what a listener hears and recalls to tell their story. Visual podcasting, however, is a whole new ballgame. It allows advertisers to integrate their logo, promo code or product in unique ways and can create an always-on presence throughout the show. Let’s call it the American Idol effect. Regardless of commercial breaks, viewers return to the show and always see Coca-Cola cups on the judges’ table. It transformed sponsorships for television, and we’ll see the same transformation in podcasting.

Combine the power of podcasts with visuals

In the world of visual integrations, listeners not only hear about a new product or service the host loves, they see them try it and enjoy it—and thus, podcast advertising is the new influencer marketing. This shift from host to influencer is not surprising; sharing personal experiences with advertiser products is very common in the space today. This is because of the strong connection between the listener and host. Not only do the majority of fans trust what hosts are saying, but these ads can successfully turn a fan into a consumer, moving them down the marketing funnel, with over 75% of respondents saying they either bought the product or considered buying it. Imagine how those numbers could increase with the addition of visual solutions.

WWE, reality TV and podcast stars Brie and Nikki Bella have found success by offering a variety of media for fans to consume:

“We look at our podcast as an extension of our reality show. You’re just not seeing it, you’re hearing it,” says Nikki Bella of The Bellas Podcast. “But we also have brought it to where you can see it more on social media. And we’ve realized our impressions have been gaining because people want that podcasting from us, where they can hear and see it all together. We wanted to get into podcasting to continue to grow that amazing connection we have with our fanbase.” 

Audio has its own power

Audio is deeply intimate, following audiences throughout the day, wherever they are. There’s a reason the podcasting space is attracting stars from television and film (Conan O’Brien, Quentin Tarantino and Leslie Jones to name a few) as well as top journalists like Hoda Kotb. According to a joint study from SXM Media, GroupM and Edison Research, 65% of podcast listeners say podcasts are replacing time with television and 40% say it’s replacing time with on-demand video. The medium allows creators to dive deeper into topics and tell untold stories, providing freedom and an opportunity to connect with audiences. It’s a move that has 54% of listeners saying they started listening to podcasts because they offer an extension of other media favorites. Podcasts allow audiences to take their favorite shows and hosts places video can’t go—on a walk, in the car, to the office, store or restaurant.

The best way for marketers to capitalize on this change in consumption is to meet the listener wherever they are—from audio to video and back again. When partnering with hosts, ask about their digital footprint and all the platforms where they interact with their fanbase. Consider how integrations should alter from app to app, based on the content experience. And more than anything, let the hosts have fun with it. They know their audience and what resonates with them, so think of authenticity as their specialty.