Despite early theories suggesting that audio (as a medium) might dip during COVID-19 due to a lack of commuting, what actually happened was the opposite. In fact, audio listening increased by 8.3% to nearly 90 minutes per day, according to eMarketer. The largest uptick YoY was podcasts. In 2020, 41% of the total U.S. population (116 million Americans) listened to podcasts monthly (+37% YoY according to Edison Research).
Roughly a year ago, Clubhouse, the invite-only audio social networking app akin to a live, free-flowing podcast mashed with a TED-talk, launched, and is now valued at $1 billion. At the moment, there are around 2 million active weekly users on the app, but that number is growing rapidly, with invitations to join the platform reselling on eBay for $150.
Digital’s latest darling sits squarely in the audio space and is a hotbed for some of Silicon Valley’s biggest names, influencers, Gen Z up-and-comers, music moguls and self-help gurus. A launch during a time when isolation was a government mandate clearly contributed to its quick rise in the ranks and epic potential. However, current advertising options on Clubhouse are limited. Clubhouse is ad-free, which limits marketers’ opportunities at this time to working with influencers who have a presence on the app.
Yet media giants, such as Facebook and Twitter, have taken notice and are coming for a piece of the pie with the launch of similar audio products. While Clubhouse is built on exclusivity, a draw for some, Facebook and Twitter could expand this as a mainstream product to piggyback on its growing velocity.
And there’s no cap to the growth of audio consumption in sight.
Businesses should not waste any time capitalizing on this opportune medium. However, they need not be intimidated. Folding audio into your strategy offers buying capabilities akin to online video or digital display. Investments have been made to make audio more accessible to brands by allowing programmatic buying and audience targeting beyond traditional demo/content alignment in order to reach a specific audience through behavioral characteristics and/or data-driven tactics.
Creative can sometimes be seen as a deterrent for brands joining the audio space, but a successful campaign doesn’t need to be overly complicated. Here are key elements to build voiceover content:
-- Keep it simple by choosing a singular message
-- Lead with a value proposition
-- Be conversational in tone
-- Loud background music is distracting
-- Make a specific call-to-action – reference exact steps you want your audience to take
Today’s savvy consumers sniff out inauthentic content quickly, so a fully integrated spot jointly developed with the talent of the podcast will improve the likelihood of avoiding the all-too-common tune-out or 15-second skip by those consumers you have just invested in reaching!
Businesses should focus their strategy, teams and investments to quickly understand customer shifts, while staying agile enough to take advantage of the latest innovations in the marketplace.