Consumers’ ears are burning for audio content
The consumption of audible content has been on the steady rise since the world wide web began to get its groove on. But over the past year, audio intake has blossomed to new heights and across many varieties. From streaming music platforms, podcasts, audiobooks, or getting the nod to a new social listening room – consumers are proving they’re all ears.
During the first half of 2020, consumption of streaming audio increased to the tune of +32% in daily hours (Comscore). And when it comes to points of access, they were across the board – with consumers gobbling up content through streaming sticks and boxes, gaming consoles and even smart TVs.
Top audio streaming services all saw big boosts in time spent, and each with big active user numbers – Spotify (87.3 million active users), Pandora (55.1 million) and Apple Music (36.9 million). Over the past few years, some platforms have shifted to subscription-based platforms like Spotify and Apple Music, while Pandora has maintained a reliance on ad funding. And as we incorporate streaming music into channel strategies, the traditional approach still exists, but marketers are finding new and unique ways to connect with listeners.
It’s not just music that consumers are listening to. In 2020, at least 55% of consumers perked up their ears to podcasts, jumping up 51% from 2019. And with over 850,000 active podcasts available, this audio content is knocking on the door of the mainstream. Approximately one-third of marketers said they were advertising on podcasts prior to the pandemic, and at least 36% plan to keep it rolling on that platform moving forward. So, with a significant number of listeners consuming 7+ hours per week, the opportunity to connect with consumers via the old eardrum is great.
As the audio landscape continues to unfold and evolve, the next manifestation is social audio. Clubhouse, the darling of the moment, presents live, unfiltered podcasts and provides listeners the opportunity to engage in live discussions on a variety of topics. It’s an “invite-only” environment but has jumped quickly to 10 million downloads and 2 million active users – triggered by celebrities like Elon Musk, Kanye West, Oprah Winfrey and Joe Rogan. The question will be how marketers employ this new territory – through sponsorships, content-rich “rooms” or connecting with like-minded listeners and nurturing connections in a newfound way.
With over 60% of US mobile users connecting to audio content regularly, it’s clear the time has come to ramp up, amp up your audio content and find new ways to reach your target audience – wherever they’re tuning in on their mobile devices. And whether you need help styling and dialing your brand story or pinpointing your highest-value customers, Unbound’s team of strategic dynamos is ready to rock.