Podcasting has enormous potential for publishers, given the mobile portability of the format and the possibility of converting text content into a spoken-word format listeners can consume while doing other activities. The IAB estimated the podcasting advertising market in the United States may exceed $1 billion by next year, a tenfold increase since 2015.
That estimate is encouraging, but podcasting needs to catch up to the needs of sponsors to become more viable amid a crowded media marketplace.
A recent survey of marketing and branding professionals indicated a certain disillusionment with the format. They ranked podcasting as the second-most-overhyped emerging technology right behind chatbots, according to digital asset management firm Bynder.
The reasons for that sentiment are somewhat unclear, though discussions I've had with media professionals indicate marketers are trying to determine how they fit into podcasting. They want measurable results that help to compare the format with other media channels.
For example, Spotify recently extended its dynamic ad insertion technology to podcasts, which promises to improve ad targeting based on demographics, interests and location, among other characteristics. Last week, the company reported listening time had tripledin the past year among more than 700,000 podcast titles.
That's a daunting number of podcasts, but traditional publishers still have a chance to stand out, given their expertise with creating original content and ability to cross-promote it in print and digital media.
As a Spotify subscriber, I'm surprised there are that many podcasts, because that app doesn't help much with finding new titles without swiping endlessly through title cards. Their descriptions don't provide much compelling detail or catchy headlines, giving little reason to listen in.
It's akin to looking through dozens of streaming video titles and cable channels before concluding there's nothing on. That's how disillusionment sets in.