Audio trends report preview

October 22nd, 2018

Do you listen to podcasts? Chances are that you do. Recent figures highlight that as many as 48 million Americans listen to podcasts on a weekly basis. The numbers in the UK are lower as a percentage, but are still high and growing with 23% of Brits surveyed in early 2018 claiming to have listened to a podcast in the last month.

What you might not know is that podcasts have been around now for over a decade. Yet it is only really in the last three years that they have hit the mainstream. Some of the reasons for their success are cultural – they dovetail nicely with our current obsession for episodic long form content – think Netflix and boxed sets. While some reasons are technological, that they are easy to create and distribute now.

Podcasts seem to fit in well with the way that many people live their lives. As Simon Baker, MD, TCO points out “one of their key strengths is that they enable listeners to multitask, making them perfect for commutes, work outs in the gym or driving.”

Podcasts aren’t the only element of voice technology that is seriously starting to impact on the way we live our lives. Since 2012 voice search has gone from being something of a gimmick to the way that many people discover information when using their mobile.

Jane Hunt, co-founder of JBH Content Agency says “fast forward six years and voice search is now a more accepted way of accessing information online. In fact, voice search comprised 20% of queries on Google’s mobile app in mid-2016, according to Google CEO Sundar Pichai.” The predictions for 2020 is that that figure could go as high as 50%.

The last five years have also witnessed the rise of the smart speakers which was ignited by the launch of the Amazon Echo speaker system in November 2014. The device initially sold in small quantities, but then became a sleeper hit, eventually crossing the Atlantic and establishing itself in many different territories. The marketing power and distribution reach of Amazon ensured that it became a significant success, and the Alexa system is now not just available on a wealth of Amazon products, but many other devices from a number of other manufacturers too.

The three phenomenon has meant that whereas once voice technology was an area that marketers rarely considered, it is now becoming increasingly central to their thoughts and plans.

The changes have also yielded all kinds of tricky questions which marketers are only now starting to address. These include how should brands approach podcasts – how do they ensure they get significant reach and which formats most engage the listeners? There are also issues surrounding search namely how does voice impact brands’ SEO and content strategies? How can brands best ensure a presence on smart speakers like the Amazon Echo?

We thought the best people to answer these questions were representatives of our CMA members. People at the content coalface who are having to address these issues on a daily basis.

So we have produced a report on audio trends looking at the rise of podcasts and whether they will prove to be just a passing fad, as well assessing how voice is impacting content creation and distribution.

You can access the report, which is mainly composed of the views of our key members here.

We will also be unpicking the report’s findings and analysing case studies from individual companies at a voice tech Digital Breakfast in November – you can find the details here.

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