Promoting Will Bring Radio Deeper Into Podcast Game.

Good news for the burgeoning podcast medium—more shows are being listened to, awareness is increasing and advertisers are paying attention. These are some of the key findings from the latest study from Bridge Ratings—”Podcasting Best Practices.”

Some may consider it an obvious negative that time spent listening has decreased over the last two years. But one silver lining is it’s actually a sign that the audience has pinpointed what they want to listen to and have worked favorites into their busy schedules, a claim the study appears to bear out. Additionally, the number of podcasts they are listening to has increased.

In Aug. 2015, users spent an average of 45 minutes per podcast listening session. In the most recent study, time spent listening is at 22 minutes. That points to something podcast producers have been more and more taking into consideration—longer episodes are not necessarily a positive. However, data presented Wednesday at the NAB Show in Las Vegas by podcast hosting service Libsyn showed just the opposite. Libsyn found that 84% of podcasts with more than 100,000 downloads were more than 51 minutes long while just 9.9% were less than 30 minutes.

Meanwhile, the amount of podcasts being listened to has increased from 4.5 in Aug. 2015 to 7 in Apr. 2017, according to the Bridge study.

“Time spent listening to podcasts has been decreasing as the number of podcasts listened to in a typical month increases,” Bridge Ratings president Dave Van Dyke said. “This is a key finding according to ad agency buyers interviewed by Bridge Ratings.”

The No. 1 way people are finding podcasts is through social media, with Facebook being the preferred platform for podcast awareness and discovery. After social networks those who seek out podcasts use search tools, followed by word of mouth, promotion on other podcasts, streaming channels (both music and spoken word) and then traditional radio.

Low awareness of podcasts produced by radio talent was the top reason those who spend time with both traditional radio and podcasts listed radio as a soft choice for podcast discovery. And that can lead to opportunity.

“For broadcasters seeking to increase listenership to podcasts by their talent, a significant increase in promotion—both on-air and through social media—would be the primary strategy,” Van Dyke said.

Knowing your audience or target market and staying on topic is key when creating and producing a podcast, according to the study. Once that is decided upon, keep yourself organized and be aware of your audience’s time-limit preference. Avoid rambling and unfocused chatter. Once your episode is recorded, avoid the temptation to leave it as is and hit publish. Sit down and listen to the episode in real time, take notes where the content may have gone off track and edit before making the show available for distribution.

A podcasting schedule should be created and followed. The study found that weekly podcasts are the most popular followed by twice a week releases and then daily. Don’t feel like you “have” to produce an episode every day. The best day to publish your podcast is Tuesday followed by Friday, according to respondents.

With search being the second most popular way to find podcasts, make sure you are incorporating the correct metadata and be aware of SEO best practices. The more focused the tagging data, the higher the chance that your podcast will land on the first page of search results.

Meanwhile, podcast awareness continues its upswing. In 2015 those that said they “have no interest in podcasting” was at 64%. Today that number is at 41%. The number of those who have listened to a podcast in the last week has doubled from 10% in 2015 to 20% now. Those who have listened to a podcast in the past 30 days is also up—15% up to 28%—and those who “have ever listened to a podcast” rose from 26% to 43%.

Finally, advertiser interest in podcasting is strong. “Media agencies are showing a greater understanding of audio streaming and podcasts, with the aim of increasing awareness of their clients’ brands as the main objective,” Mumbrella reporter Abigail Dawson said.

Monetization and advertising should expand in 2017, according to the study. However, universal measurement metrics are still needed. Nearly half of media agencies are planning to use targeted ad platforms, with 46% of agencies considering streaming digital audio as a regular part of their strategy. Two-thirds of the agencies participating in the study plan to use broadcasting and streaming audio together.

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