The Podcast Show 2022: “Spoken word is having a huge renaissance”

Posted on Tuesday 31 May 2022 | IAB UK

Held across two days, The Podcast Show brought together over 350 speakers from the world of podcasting

With speakers including Louis Theroux, Elizabeth Day and Munroe Bergdorf, The Podcast Show spotlighted the wealth of talent and creativity in the podcast industry - as well as delving into the opportunities and challenges for advertisers, how the industry needs to evolve and why podcasting offers both listeners and brands something unique. 

IAB UK hosted the Amplify Theatre stage in partnership with Amazon Music, putting on sessions that explored how audiences are evolving and why podcasts deserve a place on media plans. “Not only is podcasting in the UK in absolutely rude health, so is the advertising that funds it and keeps it free”, explained James Chandler, IAB UK’s CMO, pointing to the fact that investment in podcast ads grew by 61% year on year in 2021. Here’s some of the insight that was shared from a host of IAB members including Acast, Goodstuff, The Guardian, Manning Gottlieb OMD and Fresh Air Production. 


Who’s listening? 

Our first session put podcast experts centre stage to explore the size of the UK’s podcast market and share advice on how advertisers can authentically tap into it. Goodstuff’s Sam Austin said that 20% of the UK population are listening to at least one podcast a week, with a marked shift in the amount of older listeners over the past two years suggesting that the podcast demographic is diversifying. She also noted that podcast listeners are more affluent and more receptive to advertising than non-listeners, in part driven by the fact that they have actively sought out their chosen content. 

The diversification of listeners was echoed by The Guardian’s Rob Abel who said that “podcasts are definitely not just about hipsters anymore”. He cited The Guardian’s research showing that its podcasts are reaching a more even age spread than ever and that 26% of weekly podcast listeners are people of colour. 

Rather than replacing radio or other media in people’s daily lives, Abel explained that podcasts are opening up what was formally dead time and providing people with an intimate ‘lean-in’ experience that you don’t get via broadcast media. The relatable, accessible nature of podcasts was reinforced by This is Distorted’s Andi Durrant, who said that “spoken word is having a huge renaissance… a podcast done right can be that relatable channel”. 


Why put podcasts on your media plan? 

Digging into campaign effectiveness was central to session two, with five IAB members sharing their market insight and successful case studies. Manning Gottlieb OMD’s Flora Williams focused on attention and relevancy, highlighting the range of advertising formats that brands can use to engage podcast listeners. “Within podcasting, you have chosen to listen to it. Live [host] reads and branded episodes tap into this relevancy,” she explained. “Audiences are more likely to listen and consider something from someone they can admire and trust.” 

Great campaign examples of how brands have harnessed the power of podcasts followed. Acast’s Lorna Byrne took delegates through the ‘Money Talks’ partnership with Klarna - facilitating “open and honest conversations that you just wouldn't get in mainstream media”. The average dwell time across each branded podcast episode was 36 minutes and Klarna received 17,000 requests for the ‘Money Talks’ game that underpinned the campaign.

AudioPlus’ Esther Mason and Jack Turley shared how a partnership between the Greater London Authority and NoShade Podcast helped to address vaccine hesitancy across nine London boroughs. By working with the podcast hosts to produce sponsored episodes and spot ads, the campaign reached over a quarter of a million of the target audience. 

Finally, Fresh Air Production’s Richard Blake gave delegates an insight into the creation of Kew Gardens’ podcast ‘Unearthed: Mysteries from an unseen world’ which he described as the perfect example of a brand creating a podcast that only it can create. As he explained: “Podcasts are a sit down meal with your brand… it’s about quality.” 


Head to The Podcast’s Show Twitter page for more from the event. 


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