Podcasts Evolving as Marketing Medium

Dec 28, 2005
George Anderson

By George Anderson

A new survey indicates that while podcasts remain a small market, it is growing and the makeup of the audience is becoming more populated with female listeners.

A survey released by Podtrac, which operates a targeted service bringing podcast broadcasters and advertisers together, found that while males make up the largest portion of the audience (78 percent), women are catching up. Of those who were asked if they had listened to a podcast in the most recent week, a slight majority (51 percent) were female.

While women took a number of years to catch up to men, in terms of Internet usage, Podtrac CEO and co-founder Mark McCrery doesn’t think the curve will be as steep with podcasts.

Already, he told InformationWeek, females make up the largest share of some popular podcast audiences such as MuggleCast, a weekly podcast of a Harry Potter-program that gets 300,000 downloads a month. Three-fourths of MuggleCast’s audience is made up of women under the age of 24, he said, adding, “That’s a great advertising environment.”

Podtrac’s McCrery sees a big future for podcasts as an information, entertainment and marketing medium. Although podcasting is only about a year old, he said, already 10 percent of Internet users indicate they are listening to podcasts.

“Podcasting is still in its very early stages, but we’re finding that the listenership and viewership in many podcasts is significant and targeted and worthy of advertiser interest,”
he said.

Moderator’s Comment: What are your thoughts on podcasts as a marketing medium now and looking to the future? Will early podcast marketing adopters have
an advantage as the medium matures?

George Anderson – Moderator

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5 Comments on "Podcasts Evolving as Marketing Medium"

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Karen Kingsley
Karen Kingsley
15 years 1 month ago

Whether early podcasters will have an edge over late adopters depends on who their target audience is. For those trying to reach the cutting edge technogeeks, early adoption is usually remembered favorably. For those podcasters aiming for a more mainstream audience, being first in the market won’t make much difference, and, in fact, will give them more time to evaluate what works well and which approaches are less effective. It will protect those marketers from stumbling out of the gate.

What’s important to me about this article and this question is adoption times. Marketers will falter if they fail to realize how quickly this technology is taking hold. Being a late adopter probably means being in the marketplace by this time next year or mid-year next year. It does not mean waiting a few years to see how the technology works out and then creeping in over a few more years as so many did with the internet, for example.

Don Delzell
Don Delzell
15 years 1 month ago

One of the benefits I see for podcasting is the relatively sticky nature of the media. Once the material is downloaded, and particularly if transferred to a portable device, it becomes probable, I think, that repetition exceeds almost any other type of delivery.

Think about your car CD player. How often do you really change the things? I think content on portable devices is similar in that the rate of change of content is probably low. And by definition, when in use, there is a captive audience, experiencing the content by choice. Conversely, portable devices are consciousness-sharing platforms with less focused involvement than dominant platforms.

I agree with the niche marketing, first entry comments. The hardware is getting mainstream, but content downloading remains relatively confined. This is tremendous for niched product aligned with the download consumer.

Carol Spieckerman
15 years 1 month ago

Podcasting has a low cost of entry for niche marketers and the medium itself is intended to have niche appeal. As such, it offers yet another viable access point for marketers yet, in all likelihood, will not have significant mass appeal. The medium has matured more quickly than many technology trends over the past twelve months and it’s remarkable to see the increased sophistication of podcasters during this time. They are limited only by user technology that will easily search and identify programs of interest to the end user. Our firm will begin a podcast targeted to a niche audience in early January…perhaps my opinion will change in short order!

Mark Lilien
15 years 1 month ago

Whenever a new ad medium arrives, the early advertisers gain, as long as they’re careful about their spending. The novelty improves responsiveness, and that’s what advertisers pay for. As the medium matures, responsiveness declines, and ultimately nosedives when saturation occurs. The first advertiser to hire a skywriting plane got tremendous impact. The 10,000th advertiser to hire the plane got minimal impact.

Kai Clarke
15 years 1 month ago

Although podcasting is very new, its strength as a marketing medium is dubious, at best. Downloading internet media streams, certainly has its benefits, but it still has a small and nascent audience. Instead, the term has been applied to RSS, web feeds and any other way to download content off of the web. Once it has proven itself, through larger numbers of downloads and market users, podcasting might have appeal for product market differentiation through target market segmentation, but the numbers of users is difficult to determine and use. This new concept needs more time to prove itself, as well as quantify its reach and scope before marketers should spend money to promote their message through it.


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