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November 09, 2017

Anna Ruth Williams



The podcast industry is now…well, an industry. In 2017, podcast ad revenue ballooned to $220M (from just $69M in 2015), and venture capital started putting skin in the game (ICMYI – How Stuff Works raised a $15M Series A this summer). With 42 million Americans now weekly listeners, the industry even has its own Upfronts now.

If you’re like me, your first foray into podcasting was for entertainment purposes. Admittedly, I got sucked into Serial and the subsequent record-breaker, S-Town. Like most Americans in my demographic, I now subscribe to a diverse array of six podcasts – from tech news to self-improvement to politics.

So, how are podcasts impacting the technology industry, and why should B2B marketers care? I’m so glad you asked!

  1. Target Audiences

B2B technology buyers skew male between 35-60. Of course, target buyers vary by vertical, country, etc. But it is undeniable that this demographic overlaps with that of podcast listeners, who are 56% male, 35+ years old, well-educated and affluent.

2. Consumption

Like any new medium, advertising and consumption metrics for podcasts are still in their infancy and are poised to greatly improve. For example, Apple recently announced it will provide podcast publishers with deeper data. But here’s what we do know today: podcast listeners are loyal and make buying decisions based off of show content.

In fact, 63% of listeners have purchased something that a podcast host promoted. Moreover, the content is being consumed primarily on-demand. Seventy-seven percent of listeners click on a podcast and listen immediately, and 88% of them go on to listen to most or all of the show. Why? Podcasts are intimate and authentic, and many listeners feel a true connection with the host. For B2B tech marketers, if a trusted podcast host talks about your product and/or interviews your executives, you will greatly increase credibility with and interest among listeners.

3. A Plethora of Right-Fit Shows

I recently told the Alloy team that one of our challenges is keeping up with the volume of new podcasts being launched. It’s a good problem to have considering that the rise of podcasts is offsetting the closures, consolidations and downsizing of traditional publishers. B2B tech marketers should look for editorial and advertising opportunities on right-fit podcast shows in the following three buckets:

  • Mainstream/Tier I: Podcasts in this bucket reach a wide audience and bring massive brand awareness. The downside is they’re not as buyer-specific as the next two buckets. Shows in this category include Recode Decode and TechStuff Daily.

  • Trade/Industry-Specific: Trade media outlets are launching new podcasts rapidly. For example, if you’re a healthcare marketer, check out GeekWire’s new HealthTech Podcast which launched in June. Similarly, if you’re a MarTech company, you might want to get your CEO on Social Media Examiner’s new Social Media Marketing Podcast which launched in August.

Subject Matter-Specific: If your buyers are CFO’s, look for shows that would appeal to the personality and interests of that persona, such as NPR’s Planet Money. If your buyers are lawyers, check out podcasts like Preet Bharara’s new breakaway hit, Stay Tuned with Preet. And if your buyers are CIOs, they might be subscribing to shows like Talking Machines.

4. Brand Journalism Opportunities

Finally, many B2B tech companies are launching their own podcasts. These channels are great platforms for thought leadership and relationship building, while providing the same benefits of other content marketing, like SEO and social share of voice. Some great examples of brand journalism podcasts include Slack’s Work in Progress and DELL’s Trailblazers Podcast.

Podcast and audio content changes the media landscape, PR programs must evolve in tandem. This mentality is what drives Alloy’s Panoramic Approach. Learn more about our methodology to making news and driving leads here.