It seems crazy that both marketing and talent have taken this long to fall in love with audio, again. Radio still reaches nearly 90% of the UK population every week (Rajar Q1, 2020) but there is so much more to this space. Whilst I am keen to avoid any clichés, video not killing the radio stars, (or am I?) I am keen to stress that the audio space might need a little re-framing for those currently not getting the most from digital radio, podcasts and audio more broadly.
Last month both Apple and Facebook reframed their involvement with audio, and the latest social network to catch fire is Clubhouse. I am keen to outline some pointers and discussions points which should remain front of mind when embarking on an audio journey.
The reason that audio is still innovating is because it works – social networks dominate share of eye, but there is still a battle to be had over ‘share-of-ear’.
Nothing reaches the heights of radio advertising when it comes to frequency, medium and/or have other channels to amplify. From the ‘always-on’ approach we deliver for Motorway.co.uk , to tactical campaigns for our book publishing clients, both deliver impressive results. Brands as diverse as premium automobile, food and drink and a plethora of digital platform-style businesses use radio to amplify messaging from other channels, and offer direct ROI campaigns.
Think Beyond The Ad Break
Where radio really over-reaches is when you employ the trusted friend of a radio presenter, or station-voice to deliver your brands messages. Placing your brand at the centre of an audience and station/program is a powerful position to be in.
From long term sponsorships with shows such as Chris Evans’ (ad-free!) breakfast show on Virgin Radio, or a tactical two week breakfast show promotion on Capital Breakfast with Roman Kemp – in the right hands, they can be incredibly well executed.
The next stages of digital audio: what have Facebook and Apple done recently to change things?
Apple, since popularising podcasts, have done little to effect the space of podcasts. Last week they announced a change in the audio ecosystem. Creators will be able to charge for podcasts with micro-payments. Also users will ‘follow’ not ‘subscribe’ to podcasts. This may sound like a cosmetic change BUT it allows anyone creating podcasts to think about who they are making the audio for. Are they looking for an audience that advertisers will value, or a passionate audience that will enable their users to pay to receive the content? Apple will receive 30% of podcasters subscription payments, and that lowers to 15% after a year. With Apple making the tools and making revenue from this medium means they will focus on promoting it.
Facebook are due to launch a clone of Clubhouse and incorporate spoken messages into a timeline – so they clearly see the use case for audio across social. Other social networks such as Twitter have also announced launches such as ‘Twitter Spaces’ – a new way of having live conversations on the social platform. This is very much in development stage but exciting no less.
My predictions for the future:
1) Traditional radio will move to a brand integration model more than a straight ad revenue. Radio does this well and it should play to its strengths.
2) Short form audio content will broaden and become more popular. Clubhouse got some of it right, the clones (of which there are many) will benefit organisations and brands. Imagine virtual audio events allowing talent to answer questions from audiences.
3) Podcasts will be invested in – but brands will be cautious . Content creation is NOT always the answer depending on a brand or organisation. Brands should have a clear view of metrics and KPIs before releasing the podcast content.
4) Exclusivity – We already see audio content that you can only find on Spotify and episodes are released early on BBC Sounds. Expect this to continue as businesses like Apple and Spotify keep talent within their own ecosystem.
5) Audio will continue to deliver for brands – (and we haven’t even started on Smart Speakers!) Whether audiences are hearing it in the car, at home or listening on the tube – audio is progressing and will adapt for audiences listening patterns.
At Rocket we look forward to navigating these exciting developments whilst understanding how to deliver against business objectives with the many brands and organisations we work with. To get in touch, send us an email: email@example.com.