Anytime we conduct a research study, our favorite notification email is the one that reads, “The sums for your project have been delivered and can now be found in your brief.”
Like a kid opening presents on Christmas, that email is an invitation from Santa to go to a folder on our server, open a spreadsheet, and dive into mounds and mounds of data.
Research isn’t for everyone, but if that gives you a thrill, the business may be for you.
When analyzing the data for the recent research study we conducted with Amplifi Media, “The New Rules of Podcasting on YouTube,” as we do with all studies, we’re looking for a story. What does the data tell us? What does it mean? And how can we turn it into action to produce strategic results?
In this study, the big story is that the definition of “podcast” and how people consume podcasts is shifting, big time. Consumers now define podcasts as audio or video, not just audio. They like YouTube for podcasts. I mean, really like YouTube. What we learned from those who use YouTube to consume podcasts uncovered actionable findings that can help podcasters formulate their video strategies.
But wait, there’s more!
That spreadsheet with multiple crosstabs, or “data tables” as we refer to it, lists every question asked in the study and the corresponding answer overall. But we’re also analyzing answers by things like age, gender, ethnicity, and geography. We want to see how questions are answered by users of specific podcast platforms or fans of specific categories. How different are the answers by how often they consume podcasts? This is an example of just some of the digging we do.
If we showed every piece of data, the presentation would go on for days. And different pieces of data may be more interesting to different people.
If you work in radio, we’ve got data that shows how listeners of local radio stations feel about podcasting and the role of video. We’ve got data on users of many streaming services, including Netflix, Hulu, Disney+, Paramount +, and Max.
If you work in marketing or advertising, you may find it interesting how podcast consumers say they’re discovering new podcasts.
We’ve got “momentum” data – which platforms are moving up and down in usage vs. last year. We know which podcasts consumers say are their favorites and can look at that data across other measures.
If you’re interested in purchasing additional data from “The New Rules of Podcasting on YouTube,” click here and fill out the form. Multiple levels of access are available at different price points, and we’d love to discuss how the data may help you.
Podcasters: Listen to your customers, even (especially?) when the customer may see things differently.
At the Podcast Movement conference in Denver last week, we may have ruffled a few feathers with the presentation of our findings from a new research study, “The New Rules of Podcasting on YouTube.”
One of the headlines from the study is “The Definition of a Podcast is Changing”, which indicates that 75% of 15- to 64-year-old podcast consumers in the United States believe a podcast should be defined as “audio or video”.
Another headline indicates that YouTube is the #1 podcasting app.
These findings are related in an important way, and there’s a clear reason why these findings caused a buzz in some podcasting circles.
Steve Goldstein from Amplifi Media, who collaborated with us on the study, talked about three eras of podcasting in the presentation and will cover this week in his blog. The “MeUndies Era”, when the medium was filled with baked-in ads, host-read endorsements, and the Apple podcast app went native on iPhones. The second era, the “Throwing Spaghetti Against The Wall Era”, was filled with expansion and experimentation. We are now entering the “What is a Podcast Era”, as we see the lines between audio and video blur and converge.
Dannie J. Gregoire is credited with coining the word “podcasting” back in 2004, and from the beginning, two factors were integral to the very existence of a podcast. First, a podcast was in an audio format. Second, and more specifically, a podcast was a piece of audio referenced by an enclosure tag in an RSS feed. RSS, or “Really Simple Syndication,” allows users to access updates to websites in a standardized format. An RSS feed is crucially important to podcasters because it allows them to upload episodes, artwork, and show notes in one place, and have them populate seamlessly onto whatever platform the consumer chooses to listen to them on, from Spotify to Apple Podcasts to Amazon Music. And that was generally how podcasting operated until a very large platform threw a monkey wrench into the medium: YouTube.
As a video-first platform, YouTube’s content includes shows that most would widely consider a podcast and others that wouldn’t necessarily “qualify” because the content on YouTube isn’t available as a podcast on other platforms. The RSS feed is a major point of contention for many podcasters because currently the platform doesn’t ingest feeds the way other platforms do. There are different analytics and different ways of monetizing, and one can understand how easily it can be seen as a headache.
How you view podcasting today is likely informed by your podcasting origin story. If you started listening to Ricky Gervais’s podcast on Apple Podcasts in 2007, it would be understandable if you define a podcast as audio-only. If you started “listening” to the very popular Smartless podcast with Jason Bateman, Sean Hayes, and Will Arnett while “watching” an animated logo on the screen, you may feel quite a bit differently.
It’s also important to consider how the demographics of the podcasting audience has evolved. 39% of podcast consumers in our study have been using the medium for two years or less, a number that balloons to 58% among 15- to 24-year-olds. Quite simply, there are fewer purists that see podcasting as an audio-only medium and more that see it as comprising audio and video.
So, when we report that YouTube is the #1 podcasting destination, it’s not to say that the highest number of podcasts are being consumed on the platform. When 1,000 15- to 64-year-old podcast consumers were asked, “Which services, apps, or destinations do you currently use for podcasts?” 60% of them said YouTube, ahead of Spotify at 53%.
You can dismiss how some consumers perceive what a podcast is, but that’s their perception.
You can dismiss YouTube as a podcasting platform because it doesn’t ingest RSS feeds, but consumers see it as a podcasting platform. That’s their perception.
You’ve almost certainly heard the term “Perception is Reality,” and this study, as many as any I’ve worked on, is truly a reflection of that.
We often talk about Outside Thinking, which is adopting the mindset of the consumer. Inside Thinkers get caught up in the way they see things, which is often not in sync with their customers.
This research was designed for one thing in mind, and that was to show how podcast consumers view the medium, and how they view podcasting on YouTube. You may see the world differently than they do, but you can’t challenge how they feel.
As a wise therapist once told me, “Those are your feelings. And your feelings are valid.”
By understanding broad global perceptions of the medium, and not just relying on content analytics, it’s our hope that the podcasting industry will have a clearer path towards building strong brands to accompany much of the incredible content being generated.
The “New Rules of Podcasting on YouTube” webinar is coming up Thursday, September 7th at 2PM EDT/11AM PDT. Registration is open now.
A couple of weeks ago in the Tuesdays With Coleman blog “Brand Growth Inspiration from Lofi Girl,” I mentioned 12 Hour Sound Machines, a podcast created by a father who couldn’t get his son to go to sleep. The podcast, which he simply created for himself to play on the smart speaker in his son’s bedroom (“If there was a private toggle, I would have turned it on”) now gets 300,000 listens a day and is approaching 80 million total downloads.
I spoke with Brandon Reed, the creator of 12 Hour Sound Machines, who shared lessons from his launch for current and aspiring podcasters.
12 Hour Sound Machines creator Brandon Reed
The genesis of 12 Hour Sound Machines was a need based on what was currently available. To help his crying child, he first tried an air filter. It wasn’t loud enough. He looked online and found the sounds he was seeking either weren’t long enough, were multiple tracks put together that faded in and out, or he could hear clicks when they looped.
And so, he made his own 12 hours of brown noise. No fades, no loops, no clicks.
The night he posted it online, he needed a name and was exhausted. So he came up with, as he puts it, “the most straightforward thing imaginable,” 12 Hour Sound Machines. He made a thumbnail in three minutes and turned it on.
In the beginning, Reed says people started finding it organically (about 30 downloads a day) and he wondered why people besides him were listening.
Even though he made it available on all podcast platforms, it was Spotify where the magic happened. Here’s his explanation:
“My offering is pure utility value. People don’t care that it’s a podcast. They don’t treat it like a podcast. They just need white noise to help them sleep. People were already using Spotify to get sounds and noise. So they type in “sound machine”. Because I was first in, I had an algorithm advantage. They see 12 hours in the name, and they click.”
And so, 12 Hour Sound Machines grew and grew, mostly on Spotify, almost entirely organically. It wasn’t until it crossed the 50,000 daily downloads mark that Reed started thinking about it as a business. He was a podcast consumer but didn’t know the industry side. So, he started learning and studying.
At 75,000 downloads per day, he started looking into monetizing. His hosting platform at the time, Anchor, released a subscription model. He kept a free level of sounds but added 25 additional sounds for 2.99/month to see if people would pay.
Last Summer, Brandon Reed turned ads on for the first time, recognizing it had to be pre-roll (it wouldn’t be on brand to interrupt a 12-hour sound machine with a commercial). Despite some initial angry responses from a few listeners, it hasn’t stopped the growth.
He hasn’t left his day job working on apps for Disney, but he’s sure got one impressive side hustle. What he’s learned provides a valuable road map for anyone looking to create and monetize a successful podcast. Here are three takeaways:
Find an unoccupied lane and fill it. Blue Ocean Strategy (finding unoccupied market space in the clear “blue ocean” rather than competing in the shark-infested “red ocean”) worked in this case, even if it was by accident. Reed identified a need and served it. Everyone needs a good night’s sleep.
KISS (Keep It Simple, Stupid). He says coming up with the name of the podcast quickly was the result of exhaustion, but “the most straightforward thing imaginable” is usually the right thing. Find out what consumers are searching for (i.e., sound machines) on what platforms (i.e., Spotify) and name it the way they would search for it and describe it.
Don’t try to do it alone. Reed recognized early on that his podcast couldn’t scale and be successful without help. That meant bringing on a support team that included a website developer and audio engineer so he could focus on business development.
I’ll leave you with his perspective on a mistake he often notices people and companies make.
“What so many people do, with any idea or product they’re trying to build, they think, if I build it, they’ll come. If I just build the coolest widget, the most awesome service, the most unique and innovative product. Then they give it to the world, and it doesn’t catch on. So, they say, “nobody wants it.”
It’s not that nobody wants it. It’s that nobody knows about it, or the wrong people know about it.
What this showed me is that if product market fit is right, if you just give people what they need, then they will come. And they will buy.”
YouTube will begin featuring audio and video-first podcasts on its YouTube Music platform.
The level of YouTube’s prowess for podcast consumption and discovery and this move was widely buzzed about in Vegas. For many podcasters, how to utilize YouTube effectively is a conundrum. Unlike audio-only platforms like Spotify and Apple Podcasts, YouTube cannot pull your show in with an RSS feed, which automatically populates artwork and show notes, and results in the user-friendly displays and players you see on audio platforms. Therefore, podcasting on YouTube can be a clunky, manual process. Discovery can be difficult and sorting chaotic. Because there’s no RSS feed, podcast analytics are a challenge, and thus monetizing becomes a pain.
Within this context, YouTube’s move makes sense. By offering podcasts on YouTube Music, it will pull in RSS feeds and should be easier for podcasters to set videos as podcasts on YouTube Studio. But YouTube’s biggest challenge has nothing to do with easing functionality for podcasters and listeners.
But YouTube Music is not a podcasting platform today. It never has been. It has “music” in the name and will attempt to grow using a spoken-word medium. It will take an immense effort to educate consumers of YouTube Music’s new role as a podcasting platform, one with no guarantee of succeeding. It may be challenging to improve the podcast experience on YouTube, but that feels like the more logical branding play. YouTube Music as a podcasting platform will start as a weak brand in the podcasting space, and we won’t know the quality of the content until its planned launch.
Anchor, one of the top podcast hosting platforms, was acquired by Spotify in 2019 and it benefitted from the unique new show boom that was fueled during the pandemic while people were at home. The number of active podcasts inflated. One of the things that supercharged Anchor’s growth was the fact that it was, and remains, a free hosting service and attracted beginners. This is in contrast to the $15 or so monthly fee that most hosting platforms charge to house your podcast, distribute to multiple players like Spotify and Apple Podcasts, and provide a level of analytics.
Then, all of a sudden last Wednesday at Spotify’s Stream On event, the company announced it would change the name of Anchor to Spotify for Podcasters. If you do a Google search for Anchor podcasts, you may see Anchor in the listing but you’re redirected to podcasters.spotify.com with a long explanation of why Spotify for Podcasters will be better. Among those improvements include the ability to upload video podcasts to Spotify and more advanced analytics.
Just as time will tell if YouTube’s launching of podcasts on YouTube Music will work, we’ll have to see how Spotify’s dropping of the Anchor (sorry, too easy) plays out. The company didn’t spend time leading up to the change educating and informing consumers it was coming. Many users will be confused when greeted with the new name. Spotify is a podcasting player, not a hosting platform for podcasters. Its challenge will be to convince current users to stay, as well as educate consumers about Spotify’s new role as a hosting platform.
In time, both initiatives may succeed but each will be undeniably difficult. Changing brand perceptions to influence consumer behavior is one of the most difficult tasks a marketer will face. We look forward to watching both closely.
I’m obsessed with the Business Wars podcast by Wondery. Each week, the show tells the story of a classic business battle. “Netflix vs. Blockbuster” is phenomenal. “Boeing vs. Airbus” is superb. They’re all great. The latest series is “ESPN vs. Fox Sports,” and once again it delivers.
The episodes document the many moments when Fox Sports invaded ESPN’s territory, including taking the World Cup rights in 2011 and poaching ESPN hosts Colin Cowherd in 2015 and “First Take” star Skip Bayless in 2016. But there is nothing more impactful than the story of how Fox grabbed NFL rights for the first time. This story isn’t about ESPN directly – Fox didn’t steal the NFL from ESPN, which started broadcasting Sunday night games in 1987. It stole them from CBS thanks to an earth-shaking move that stunned the industry.
There are two things that are important to remember if you’re old enough to recall 1993.
First, Fox was a fledging network. There was no “Fox Sports” in 1993. The Fox Broadcasting Company launched in 1986 as a fourth network to challenge ABC, CBS, and NBC. By 1993 the network had a few hits like The Simpsons, Beverly Hills 90210, and America’s Most Wanted, but it wasn’t seen as a major competitor to the Big 3. Think The CW now…that’s essentially the space Fox occupied in 1993.
Second, TV networks didn’t show the score consistently throughout while you watched a live game. Sounds like complete lunacy now, but network heads thought viewers would switch channels if the score was on the screen all the time.
Sky Sports boss David Hill (who would become president of Fox Sports) created the score box, which showed score and time remaining on the screen. He debuted it during Premier League soccer in England in 1992 and wanted to bring it to the NFL. Fox said they’d show scores, use more cameras to create more angles, and have exciting graphics. Hill told the NFL, “Sports is entertainment, not religion. We’ll make it fun.”
Fox knew it had to bid more than CBS to get the NFL, but Fox chief Rupert Murdoch felt the bid had to be high enough to force the NFL to say yes. One of Murdoch’s analysts told him how much money the network would lose over the four years of the deal. Murdoch explained that he was looking at it all wrong. “I’m not buying NFL rights, I’m buying a network. Buying NFL rights is cheaper than buying ABC, NBC, or CBS.” Only the NFL can make Fox a real network.”
Fox outbid CBS by over $100 million in 1993 to win the rights to show NFL games
Of course, Murdoch was right. Dozens of CBS affiliates switched to Fox. Prime announcing talent jumped ship from CBS to Fox, including the legendary John Madden. Viewers and advertisers followed, and CBS stock nosedived.
Coleman Insights founder Jon Coleman credits Sonoma Media Group President Michael O’Shea with the story he shares about the number to the left and right of the decimal point in the ratings share of every radio station. In short, the number to the right of the decimal point (as in the 3 in a 4.3 share) represents the majority of things radio stations spend the vast majority of their time on. This can be tweaking the music, moving talk breaks around, or giving away concert tickets. As Jon explained in the Tuesdays With Coleman blog “How to Move the Ratings Needle,” these are the tactical strategies that may take a station from a 4.3 to a 4.5 or maybe a 4.7. But what moves the number to the left of the decimal point are big time moves. This can include a format change, attracting a hugely impactful air talent, or a major memorable marketing campaign.
Big “left number” moves don’t always require the deep pockets of Rupert Murdoch. But they do require big strategic goals, strategic thinking, a competitive streak, and a whole lot of guts.
The potential reward is usually far more exciting than the number to the right.
What a difference a few weeks, days and hours makes.
Before the travel bans, before sports and concerts cancelled and before schools closed, I paid a visit to Syracuse University for my college radio station’s 35th annual reunion. I returned from that trip just nine days ago.
During the session, Brent brought up a principle that guides his show planning, called the POKE scale. As with many others in the industry, his brand stretches across platforms including hosting his own podcast. I wanted to know how Brent is using POKE to build his brand, develop compelling and engaging content and demonstrate differentiation as a reason for listening.
Just last Wednesday, we spent some time on the phone discussing it. Syracuse was set to play the University of North Carolina in the ACC Men’s Basketball Tournament later that night. While we knew sports would soon be played without fans in the venues, the thought of cancelling them altogether hadn’t yet crossed our minds.
That was six days ago.
Brent and I discussed how POKE plays a role in his daily planning, including the way he covered Coronavirus on his sports talk show up to that point.
Perhaps there’s value now, more than ever, in applying the POKE scale to show prep–certainly in a format (Sports) built around something that currently, for all intents and purposes, doesn’t exist. In addition, as Brent explains, it is equally important to recognize when to make adjustments.
Read an edited transcript or listen to the entire interview below.
When I saw you in Syracuse, you mentioned the POKE scale. Talk about the acronym and what each letter means.
Passion, Opinion, Knowledge and Entertainment. I write my show notes on a legal pad. Every day on the top of the legal pad I write the date of the show and POKE. If you’re accomplishing those four things, particularly in the type of show I do, you’re checking the box.
Let’s start with Passion. The number one thing my listeners say to me is they appreciate my passion. They might not agree with what I’m saying, but they enjoy the manner in which I’m delivering it.
Opinion. Listeners are looking for you to have a defined, clear take. As we speak, Syracuse is getting ready to play in the ACC Tournament. They have to win to go to the NCAA Tournament. The discussion on the show is, “If they don’t win, is it a failed season?” If I don’t think it’s a failed season, I have to explain why.
Knowledge is prepping. And when you work in this industry, you’re constantly prepping. When you’re watching sports, you’re debating with yourself. First it’s, “Am I going to talk about this?” If the answer is yes, then it’s “How?” And how do I keep it entertaining for those that aren’t hard core sports fans?
Are you putting each topic through the POKE filter to determine how each break works within that structure?
I try to. The other day I talked about Coronavirus and I broke the Opinion rule. I said, it’s my job to have an opinion here, but this is a case where we don’t know enough to have a firm opinion. You can have an opinion, but you have to clarify it sometimes when it’s beyond the scale. This is real life interfering with sports, so I’ll be honest with my listeners. When I came on, I said, I’m not an expert, I know what I know, here’s the information we have, and let’s go from there. That’s where putting it through the filter doesn’t always work. I heard a call from Bob Costas who was talking about sports talk radio and the “First Take” shows of the world and podcasts, and Bob said you can’t possibly be that opinionated about something for three hours a day, five days a week. And he’s right. When I look at the four things in the POKE scale, (I might say) I can’t entertain you today. Coronavirus is a serious discussion. You’ve got to know when to break the rules and let people know that today’s a little different.
So many shows right now are trying to figure out how to handle approaching the Coronavirus. If you had handled it with updates like a hard news station, it would be out of left field and not consistent with your brand.
And that’s where Knowledge comes into play and applies to guests. If I don’t know, get somebody on that does. It’s growing so many different layers. Schools cancelling classes. Events that are being cancelled. What do I do as a fan? Do I go to games? This is not going anywhere anytime soon, so knowledge becomes important. Trusting sources, getting people on the air with you that can explain it. If you’re not knowledgeable about it – in this case it’s Coronavirus but it could be a 2-3 zone defense – get somebody on who is knowledgeable.
Do you think authenticity goes part and parcel with Passion?
Yes. You can’t control authenticity. Your audience is making that judgement. You’ve got to be authentic and people will appreciate that more.
Many hosts are afraid to give their opinion, whether it be because they fear it will be controversial or taken the wrong way. Do you always say what you believe or do you sometimes take an opinion you feel will be good for the show?
It’s important to me that my opinion–going back to that word we used a minute ago–is authentic. The opinion I give someone in public better be the same as it is on the radio.
On the topic of brand development, listeners will see through it if it doesn’t match the brand perception of who you are.
I’ve been doing radio in Syracuse since 1996. My listeners know certain things about me. I’ve had an opinion for years that Pete Rose should not be in the Hall of Fame and nothing has come along to change my opinion. So every time Hall of Fame voting comes around, I hear from people. “You still feel this way?” It can help build a brand and build awareness when people know what your opinion is.
Does the POKE scale work outside of Sports? Like for a morning show on a CHR or Hot AC station, for example?
Yes. For example, you need to be passionate about the market you work in. That’s essential. Having an opinion and gathering other opinions is important. Knowledge speaks for itself and we’re all entertainers! That’s what I love about the POKE scale. It does apply to just about everything you can do in this business.
We send our thanks to Brent for taking the time to share the principles of the POKE scale, and applaud every radio personality going above and beyond to serve their listeners in important, crucial and memorable ways.
RESEARCH TRIANGLE PARK, NC, August 12, 2019 – New research from Coleman Insights reveals that TED Talks Daily has the highest Aided Awareness of the 20 most-listened-to podcasts as ranked by Podtrac in March 2019. Despite being the most recognized, only 43% of monthly podcast listeners are familiar with the TED Talks Daily podcast.
The study of 1,000 18 to- 64-year-old monthly podcast listeners conducted in May 2019 asked respondents to review a list of the March ranking of the Podtrac Top 20 Podcasts and indicate their familiarity with each. The TED brand occupied two of the top three spots, with The Daily coming in second at 35% and the TED Radio Hour at 32%. There is a significant gap between the most and least familiar of the top 20 Podtrac-ranked shows, as Invisibilia is familiar to only 8% of monthly podcast listeners.
According to Coleman Insights President Warren Kurtzman, “Our findings reaffirm the idea that despite podcasting’s growth, the medium still has a long way to go with brand development. Even with the most-listened-to shows, most active podcast users aren’t familiar with them. The ones they are familiar with are big, cross-platform brands with strong marketing behind them.”
Listeners between the ages and 25 and 44 are more likely to be familiar with the Top 20 shows than are 18- to 24-year-olds or 45- to 64-year-olds. Furthermore, Coleman Insights finds that male podcast listeners are more likely than females to be familiar with the Top 20 Podtrac shows.
These findings are different from those released by Coleman Insights last week, which focused on Unaided Awareness of podcast brands. The top-ranked show in Unaided Awareness, The Joe Rogan Experience, does not participate in the Podtrac rankings and was therefore not included in the Aided Awareness measurement.
Coleman Insights will discuss the implications of its podcast research findings in a presentation at Podcast Movement, to be held at the Rosen Shingle Creek in Orlando. The session, “Outside Thinking for Podcasts”, is set for Wednesday August 14th at 9:00 AM as part of the conference’s Industry Track.
RESEARCH TRIANGLE PARK, NC, August 28, 2018 – Coleman Insights will offer a webinar for the broadcast and podcast industry detailing the results of an actual mediaEKG® Deep Dive study on two popular iHeartRadio podcasts. The insights will cover “The Ben and Ashley I Almost Famous Podcast,” featuring former stars of ABC’s “The Bachelor” franchise, and “Business Unusual with Barbara Corcoran,” hosted by the real estate mogul, bestselling author and “Shark Tank” star.
By the end of the session, attendees will grasp the “Three Ts of Content Execution” and how each can play a role in content development. You’ll gain an understanding of how audiences feel about the content and why they feel that way. This session is designed to help podcasters and broadcasters create better, more focused content that produces more engagement and increases listening.
Coleman Insights Executive Vice President John Boyne says, “We’re thrilled to offer this presentation to those who didn’t get the chance to see it at Podcast Movement. Podcasters and broadcasters should find the insights useful for understanding in-the-moment podcast listener behavior for two shows with very different content.”
iHeartRadio SVP/Podcasting Chris Peterson said of the original presentation, “Let’s learn what listeners really think rather than a download, which tells you nothing.”
Boyne and fellow Executive Vice President Sam Milkman will present “The Three Ts of Content Execution: A Second-By-Second Look at Podcast Listening Behavior” Wednesday, September 5 from 2p-2:45 PM EDT via webinar.
It doesn’t take too much exposure to Coleman Insights to recognize that we talk a lot about the twin goals of building strong brands and developing great content. My colleague Warren Kurtzman revisited these fundamentals last week when he wrote about what it will take for podcasting to pass the tipping point.
This week, I’d like to focus on the content development side of the equation. It doesn’t take a rocket scientist (or even a media researcher!) to tell you that better content comes from doing more of what the audience likes and less of what they don’t. The challenge comes in figuring out what exactly are those positive and negative drivers.
To help demonstrate to the podcasting industry what is doable on this front, on July 25th, iHeartRadio SVP/Podcasting Chris Peterson joined my colleague Sam Milkman and me onstage at Podcast Movement in Philadelphia to share content research we had done for two of their original podcasts. Chris introduced the session by stating, “Let’s learn what listeners really think rather than a download, which tells you nothing.”
(L-R) John Boyne, Sam Milkman and iHeartMedia SVP/Podcasting Chris Peterson
The Podcast Content Deep Dive: A Second-By-Second Look At Listening Behavior was the culmination of two separate mediaEKG Deep Dive® studies that analyzed a pair of iHeartRadio Original podcasts. One is The Ben & Ashley I Almost Famous Podcast, featuring former cast members of ABC-TV’s The Bachelor; while the other is Business Unusual with Barbara Corcoran, hosted by the real estate mogul and Shark Tank celebrity. For each, we recruited a sample of their target audience to listen to the podcast. Then, using the mediaEKG meter, we were able to collect granular in-the-moment feedback on what they were hearing. What caught their attention? What grew their interest? What lost them? We then followed up with qualitative questions to help us understand why they rated content the way they did.
While the details of the research are fascinating, let’s be honest: What works for a podcast specializing in The Bachelor universe may not work for everyone.
But, stepping back, there are broader lessons of the research that are applicable to many and that are evident in much of the content research we do. We refer to these as “The Three Ts” – Topic, Treatment and Tone.
Choosing the right topic means choosing something to talk about that your audience wants to hear about and—importantly—wants to hear you talk about. In the case of Ben and Ashley I, their topic selections have a very clear impact on the second-by-second performance of the show. When talking about the current season of The Bachelor or The Bachelorette, their odds of success are high. But, the further they get from that bullseye topic lane, the better their execution needs to be in order to cut through. In our presentation, there are some fun examples of this, as well as a creative example of how the show cleverly extends its topic lane.
For Barbara Corcoran’s podcast, the lessons of the research primarily relate to her treatment of various topics. There are certain ways that Barbara can espouse business advice that really work well for her. For example, Business Unusual’s target audience reacts really well to Barbara’s highly structured, step-by-step treatment of how to do things like ask for a raise or speak well in public.
Finally, it is important to understand the optimal tone for a segment. Different tones for the same topic can have wildly different outcomes. For example, think about how differently one could cover the latest news out of the White House. Stephen Colbert may take a humorous tone, while Fareed Zakaria may take a more serious, professorial tone. Meanwhile, someone else may take an almost unhinged, ranting tone. Same topic + different tone = totally different outcome.
Want to learn more? On Wednesday, September 5th at 2pm EDT, Sam and I will deliver The Podcast Content Deep Dive: A Second-By-Second Look At Listening Behavior via webinar. We’ll dig into the specifics of how listeners react to these two podcasts, and you’ll learn more about how topic, treatment and tone play out in each. Our goal is to help podcasters and broadcasters think more and learn more about how The Three Ts can help them develop great content.
Click here to register for the webinar, and we’ll talk with you then!
RESEARCH TRIANGLE PARK, NC, June 20, 2018 – Coleman Insights will present the results of a new mediaEKG® Deep Dive study on iHeartRadio’s The Ben and Ashley I Almost Famous Podcast, featuring former stars of ABC’s The Bachelor, and Business Unusual with Barbara Corcoran, featuring the real estate mogul and Shark Tank celebrity, as part of the Industry Track at Podcast Movement July 25 in Philadelphia, PA.
The proprietary mediaEKG Deep Dive platform provides second-by-second insight into which elements of the podcast appeal to listeners and which do not. The platform also uses a mix of quantitative and qualitative methods to reveal how listeners feel about the podcast’s hosts and guests and how engaged listeners are with the podcast’s content benchmarks.
Coleman Insights Executive Vice President/Senior Consultant Sam Milkman explains, “We will go well beyond the simple measures of listener and download counts that podcasters are used to seeing and examine content engagement. By looking at how the audience responds to specific content, podcasters can more effectively develop engaging content.”
Podcast Movement Co-Founder Dan Franks adds, “We are thrilled to partner with Coleman Insights to help us present the Industry Track at this year’s Podcast Movement. One of the biggest challenges for a podcaster is to figure out who their listener is, and what their listener wants. Coleman’s solutions for this very problem are very exciting for us as organizers, as we get to help spread the word this July throughout the entire podcast community!”
Coleman Insights’ Executive Vice Presidents/Senior Consultants Sam Milkman and John Boyne will deliver “The Podcast Content Deep Dive: A Second-By-Second Look At Listening Behavior” Wednesday, July 25 at 10am at Podcast Movement at the Philadelphia Marriott Downtown. They will be joined by Chris Peterson, Senior Vice President, Podcasting for iHeartMedia. The session will be part of the conference’s Industry Track, featuring subjects such as metrics and advertising standards to future trends.
BRANDING, CONTENT & RESEARCH STRATEGY
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