Listeners are tuning into news podcasts for more than just information, says Global exec

“News is losing its seriousness”, says Global commercial group strategist Rich Smith

The growing popularity of news podcasts has more to do with the entertainment factor than information, according to Global commercial group strategist Rich Smith.

Speaking as part of a panel discussion during the Campaign & PodPod Radio & Audio Advertising Summit, Smith noted that “news is losing its seriousness” as more people seek a lighthearted approach to current affairs reporting.

“When you listen to a podcast like The News Agents, you do get the seriousness but people are listening while doing something else,” said Smith. “There’s still that serious edge but more entertainment... when we’re living in a world of crisis, news in podcasting gives a lighter edge.” 

The panel - which also included Lloyds Banking Group brand communications and media lead Vicky Handley and Mars UK media & content director Richard Mashiter - further highlighted how integrating podcasts into brands not only provides a source of entertainment, but can also build trusting and personable relationships between the presenter and listener. This was one of the key reasons people were more drawn to news podcasting in 2022 according to Global’s recently released whitepaper on the impact of news podcasting

“Podcasting is a whole new world of how people are listening,” Smith added. “...If you can integrate your brand really well into the podcast space, you can generate trust.” 

According to Mashiter, the addition of host-read and spot-ads in podcasts is another way to build trust, as podcast hosts can act as influencers on behalf of advertisers, but Handley also emphasised the importance of carefully selecting who that person is to represent the brand in a credible and authentic way. 

“When it comes to podcasts, the level of depth you can get to in terms of conversations and openness is different,” said Mashiter. “…individuals can become influencers and people you can have conversations with outside audio.”

According to Nielsen’s Podcast Ad Effectiveness 2020 survey, host-read ads in podcasts were 9% higher in strong brand recall than non-host-read ads and provided a 50% increase in purchase and recommendation intent. Audioboom vice president Mike Newman also previously said - at a session on podcast monetisation for Audiotrain - that he expects spot ads are likely to grow in the podcast advertising market for advertisers that want more brand awareness, especially with podcasters that have a lower threshold of 5-10,000 listeners, based on a CPM of between £5-15. 

“Podcasts use the presenters to add their personality into it.. They can say a very important message in a branded way,” said Handley when talking about spot-ads. “They can add a bit more depth, credibility, and authenticity to the brand.”

Smith also spotlighted that in addition to podcasts being a trusting medium, they can guarantee to run an effective ad campaign that caters to a cheaper budget - which is especially important during the cost of living crisis. 

“Committing to a budget can be very difficult… [podcasting] as a lead medium, has its place… the reassurance is there,” said Smith. “...In a time where you’re making short-term decisions where the budget is allocated, radio and audio [is the way].”