Brands would be wise to invest time into developing audio content

Facebook and Google continue to occupy the minds of the masses seeking to invest their money into ad space that will improve their prominence and ubiquity in an increasingly competitive environment. On a surface level this would appear logical, especially when you consider that in 2016 more than half of UK population logged on to Facebook, where they would have been inadvertently subjected to a cascade of adverts and images; a figure which has since grown. However, as alluded to by Richard Reed in this week’s Sunday Times, paying to advertise on Facebook is a zero-sum game that makes it tough to create an experience which will tell a story about the value of your brand.

Aside from the abundant ethical concerns associated with purchasing advertising space on Facebook, which continue to surface in the press, Reed spoke in detail about its inefficacy in performing the basic service of improving brand recognition. ‘We know of businesses spending £400 on Facebook to sell something that makes them £200. That is minus £200 on every sale. But they can keep doing it because they complete on yet another investment round from a “don’t worry about profit, just concentrate on creating a tribe’. With Facebook reluctant to accept responsibility for monitoring and publishing transparent information on whether ‘views’ are actually coming from humans or automated bots podcasts, audible content can offer a valid alternative for brands seeking to captivate an audience and portray an image of their own identity. Edison Research shows weekly podcast consumption is on a constant year on year growth of around 25%. Podcast have grown exponentially in it’s choice and diversity and serves as an ideal platform for engrossing forms of storytelling and advice.

In an age when traditional forms of communication are being suffocated and stifled by a lack TV views and ad-block, podcasts serve as an alternative method to being heard and talked about. Shoshana Winter, chief strategy officer at Vizeum, recently discussed its potential, affirming that the creative bar for branded podcast ‘is much higher than blogs or other online written and snackable content’. It is therefore no surprise to see some of the leading brands investing time and money into developing their own, notably the likes of eBay Netflix and even Facebook which has  introduced autoplay with sound on videos in the feed. Subscribing and listening to a podcast is a conscious decision, and is thus a significant opportunity for brands to communicate and engage consumers in a more accessible and compatible manner. I myself like to tune into a podcast on my daily commute to university and work or during activities such as exercise or cooking.

Nearly 40 years have now passed since the release Geoffrey Downes and Trevor Horn’s notorious track “video killed the Radio Star” was released, which appeared to signal the death of the golden age of radio and by extension how content would thereafter be consumed. However, the last couple of years have overseen the second coming of the radio, with podcasts serving as a key protagonist of this. The auditory revolution was given major credence during the Cannes festival back in June, when the jury were noted in Campaign as being ‘reduced to tears‘ by Ogilvy and Mather’s radio work for Dove. Radio creativity is being spearheaded by the UK, and podcasts represent an opportunity to bring consumers into your world and convey to them the fabric of your brand.

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