The Rapid Rise and Fall of Podcasts

Spotify has invested $400 million dollars into acquiring podcasts. That’s a lot, and the marketing world has definitely taken notice. Whether it’s a TV show like Love Island immediately creating a podcast to coexist with the show, or Mailchimp making them to inspire their users; everyone is trying to get a piece of the pie.

Of course, just because the podcast industry is booming, doesn’t necessarily mean you should jump in. Sure, you can set up a podcast with a shitty microphone and your laptop, but that doesn’t mean you should.

A common trend I’ve noticed this year is marketing departments throwing money at creating podcasts or investing in podcast ad spots. Of course, without any direction or a good knowledge of the podcast space, these are expensive mistakes.

Firstly, let’s talk about making a podcast for your brand.

Realistically, unless you’re interviewing celebrities, why is anyone going to listen to your podcast? Even if you do interview a celebrity, what relevance does this have with your brand?

Take Mailchimp’s podcasts, for example. Mailchimp have landed some huge names, including Hillary Clinton and Big Boy. Great, well done Mailchimp, but what relevance does Hillary Clinton have with marketing? Absolutely nothing. Listeners might enjoy these interviews, but there’s very little content within them that connects to Mailchimp’s services.

I applaud Mailchimp’s charitableness funding these podcasts, but there’s 0% chance that they’re seeing a return on investment.

Now let’s talk about paying for ad spots on podcasts.

Yes, it can be worthwhile, but it’s not a universally effective advertising method. For example, if you’re selling a product within the fashion industry (clothes, furniture, jewellery) why would you choose to advertise on a podcast (which is usually consumed as audio only)?

Additionally, because brands are so keen to advertise on these podcasts, the price of these ad spots are skyrocketing for no good reason.

In conclusion, the podcast industry is quickly becoming an over saturated market. With every website, brand and business jumping on the opportunity of starting their own; it’s only so long until they all realise that the gold they were chasing was never really there in the first place.

Podcasts are a great way to consume content. But as is with every creative industry, only great podcasts will actually engage audiences and survive the podcast bubble. I don’t think that podcasts’ popularity will drop, but I definitely think we should see a decline of how many are produced within the next few years.

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