We may have mentioned a time or two that podcasts are a great way for B2B marketers to release content. But since my first B2B podcasting post (way back in the before times of 2018, how naive we were), the landscape has changed significantly.
Part of the shift is due to the pandemic and the remote/hybrid work boom that followed. People who used to spend hours listening to podcasts on their commute suddenly found that the bedroom to home office commute required less entertainment.
But the other part is simply natural maturation and evolution over time. Podcasts are becoming even more plentiful, their creators more diverse, and the advertising more relevant.
Here are the major trends that B2B podcasters should be aware of for 2022 and beyond.
Listener Demographics and Habits Are Changing
First, the good news: The popularity of podcasts still shows no signs of waning. In fact, there’s a large block of new listeners that have been at it for less than a year! People are still discovering and falling in love with the medium.
According to SCM Media’s 2022 Podcast Report, these listeners have some important distinguishing factors, compared to the old guard. First, they’re younger: Over 66% are under 35 years old. Second, they’re split 50/50 gender-wise (the survey assumed a binary), versus the old guard’s 70/30 male split.
Podcasts are also diversifying, and audiences are as well. Black and Latine listener pools are growing fast. These groups are drawn by topical interests, but also by creators who share their life experiences. For example, over half of Black listeners say it’s important their content be presented by a Black creator.
These listeners are putting in fewer hours a week — 4.4 versus 7.1 — but they’re also listening to more episodes of different podcasts. While the old guard used to listen to every episode of their favorite podcasts, the new folks are more likely to podcast hop based on topical interest. This is likely because…
Podcasts Are Getting Easier to Find & Search by Topic
For anyone who has ever hosted a podcast, let’s hear a great big, “FINALLY!” As major players like Apple, Spotify, Google and YouTube lean into podcasting, we’re starting to see better search engines and smarter recommendations. Like all machine learning implementations, these algorithms will continue to improve over time.
In his podcast predictions for 2022, iHeartMedia’s CEO Conal Byrne explores the implications:
Podcasting will benefit from the engineers of these platforms [Google, Youtube and Facebook] aiming their best-in-class search and discovery tools on the podcasting medium. Long-tail shows will be discovered. Evergreen episodes will be highlighted whenever relevant. Perhaps more than anything, newsworthy podcast content will begin to surface more regularly in search results and recommendations on the platforms we all use all the time to stay up to speed.
This development has two major implications for B2B podcasters: First, podcast SEO will be critical to capture “podcast hopper” attention. That means every episode should have relevant keywords in the title and description for maximum findability.
Second, your podcast archive may be more valuable than you think. If podcast platforms will be recommending your older episodes, it’s worth making sure each episode is optimized for search and sounds its best.
There Are Exciting New Ways to Monetize & Repurpose Podcasts
Who says podcasts have to be a cost center for your brand? It’s getting more simple to serve relevant advertising to your podcast audience—adding revenue while your brand still gets the boost from the podcast content.
New podcast listeners are 19% more open to advertising than the old guard. As long as ads are relevant, they say, it’s okay to interrupt the content with advertising. This is partly due to the emergence of DAI (dynamic ad insertion) technology, which makes it easy to custom-fit relevant, timely ads into existing content.
Livestreaming is another way to monetize an already popular podcast. Think of it as hosting a webinar, but with more audience participation and fewer slideshows. Some live podcast events (albeit for the most popular entertainment podcasts) can sell tickets for upwards of $50 a session. Currently, only 10% of podcasters take advantage of livestreams, so it’s a good way for your brand to make a splash.
Research shows that listeners are hungry for podcast content outside of the podcast platform, too. Tools like Wavve, which helps create video from snippets of audio, have seen an explosion in popularity, with Wavve itself seeing 7000% growth since 2019.
Short clips of your podcast on social media are a great way to expose your podcast to a new audience, and to give your existing subscribers something to snack on between episodes.
Creating and Editing Is Easier than Ever
The last few years has seen the rise of all-in-one podcasting platforms. Unlike services that simply host your content and syndicate it, these new tools feature audio and video calling capabilities, recording options, and even editing tools right in your browser.
Tools like Riverside.fm and Zencastr make it easy to capture high-quality audio and get it ready for publication.
One new player that’s already getting a ton of attention is Descript, an all-in-one that generates transcripts automatically and lets you edit audio by editing the text.
There’s Still Plenty of Room for Growth
There are currently over 2 million podcasts in the world right now. But there’s always room for more. Even with the current surge in new listeners, there’s still 50% of the adult U.S. population that have never listened to a podcast. They’re just waiting for the right sound or video clip to speak directly to their wants and needs.
If you’ve been thinking about launching a podcast for your brand, now is a great time to start. And we can help! To get started, read how we helped SAP launch a podcast that smashed benchmarks with every episode.